Judging a Book by Its Author Photo

Next time you buy a book, ask yourself: do you want it because the book promises something interesting, or because the author on the back cover is really, really good looking? To answer that, all you need to know is that these days, almost every book review runs with an author photo. On NPR’s Morning Edition, renowned photographer Marion Ettlinger recalls photographing David Foster Wallace in an oversized tweed coat in 2001, and Alfred A. Knopf’s publicity director Nicholas Latimer shares a rumor in the industry: “If you have an attractive looking author, there’s a better chance that your book will get reviewed. It’s shocking to think that you have to have an attractive author first, and then if they’ve written something interesting, they might review it.”