We all know what a blurb is, right?

All right, for those of you who aren’t certain, a blurb is the short summary of a book appearing either on the back (of paperbacks) or the inside flap (of hardbacks). Easy, right? Generally, when you’re browsing through your favorite on-line book seller’s site, the blurb accompanies a picture of the cover. The blurb grabs our interest (or sends us running if it’s really bad!). But what happens to that handy-dandy blurb once our savvy and trendy customers get the book to their e-reader?

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… Do I hear crickets?

All right, my experience is limited to my Kindle Fire and my laptop, and maybe other devices are more accommodating, but those blurbs apparently disappear. The more books I load onto my device, the sketchier my memory gets. However can I choose a book to match my mood or prompt my memory? Wouldn’t it be handy to have a blurb pop up when you hover over the lovely, tiny little covers? That would be perfection, and hopefully someone will tend to that delightful little detail soon. In the meantime, how about putting the blurbs inside the first few pages of the e-book?

A random sampling from the 300+ titles on my Kindle revealed nary an author forward-thinking enough to have done that (yet!), but while I was musing on the idea, I actually (accidentally) came across one author on Amazon who had. It was like… kismet.

So smart!

Go, Trish McCallan!

So here is my challenge to all you fabulous e-book writers and publishers in the world: Include your blurb in the intro pages. Or take over the world and change the coding in the machines. Either one is peachy fine with me! Personally, I’m going to go with the former, and update my stories to include that elusive electrical detail.

And, just for the fun of it, here’s an interesting tidbit for you:

The word ‘blurb’ was coined in 1907 by American humorist Gelett Burgess. However, the concept of a “brief statement praising a literary product” dates back to medieval literature of Egypt from the 14th century and was known as taqriz in medieval Arabic literature. 

The blurb was developed simultaneously in Germany where it is regarded to have been invented by Karl Robert Langewiesche around 1902. In German bibliographic usage, it is usually located on the second page of the book underneath the Half title, or on the dust cover. 


And now a question for you, Gentle Readers: How do you deal with the problem of blurbless media on our beautiful, practical go-everywhere devices?

2 thoughts on “e-Blurbing

  1. hey Robin, that's true and that's one of the reasons why hardcopy books still beat ebooks, am glad I stumbled upon your blog now with the ebooks I write I will be sure to include a blurb – so readers know a bit of what they're dealing with.

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