The success of any book depends to a large degree on its cover. The saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t be more true but the fact is, especially in today’s world of spin and imagery, most of us do.

So coming up with a cover for my soon-to-be-published encyclopedia has been no easy task. I’ve come up with two possible covers.

This cover relies on simplicity which children will like. There’s a lot of white space and is easy on the eyes. The one below is more complex. The is a lot more happening in the illustration. There’s less white space and so is harder on the eyes.

The encyclopedia is about 150 pages long and will be in hardback. The price will be around RM75. I would have liked the price to be lower but publishing is an expensive business, particularly the cost or printing and the margin taken by the distributor.

I reckon the encyclopedia really is worth the money though as I’ve seen many higher priced text-only imported books in the book shops. My encyclopedia is not only in full colour but its pages are filled with illustrations, maps, diagrams and old photographs. There’s also a glossary and chronology.

There’s also a Time Chart to History which illustrates Malaysia’s entire history in a single chart. I think this is the first time it has been done. I certainly spent many a long hour working how to achieve it!

As for the cover, I’ll have to decide soon as the printer is waiting.

Which cover do you like?

Update 22/10/08: Thanks everyone for your comments so far. At present, there seems to be a preference for the 2nd one. Both covers depict war because, unfortunately, much of early history, whether Malaysian or global, does have this common thread. It is what brought about change and created much history. This may be less so after 1945.

The 1st illustration represents the challenges the British colonial powers brought to our shores. This takeover was not always peaceful. The 2nd illustration depicts the Sultan of Melaka fighting on his elephant against the invading Portuguese. I commissioned both illustrations (I’m not artistic enough unfortunately!)