The Wall Street Journal reports that the reduction of covers to one-inch thumbnails in displays on online retail sites has driven publishers to something akin to desperation to make their books stand out from everyone else’s. Increasingly, the answer to how to do this involves the color yellow.
Any bright color will catch the eye, of course, but yellow has a number of advantages. It’s a gender-neutral color with a variety of potential interpretations—it could signify warmth and happiness, or caution and hazard. It works with both bright and dark colored text and images, so it’s easy to swap in for a white background without having to change much else.
Added up, these factors make yellow book covers even more of a “sudden craze” than Donovan’s “electrical banana”. The only problem is, how do you stand out in a crowd of books all trying to stand out in exactly the same way? Who knows; maybe drab and boring colors will be the “very next phase.”