I’ve noticed a few books and magazines lately doing something truly useful with their cover and jacket blurbs. They tell you which page to turn to.
Made to Stick lists some topics, then invites you to open the book to a page where you’ll find an example of the topic. Where I might read the jacket of most books and then put them down, this one dares me to investigate. It gives me a path of least resistance.
This Kiplinger’s cover does the same thing. Rather than just plaster the front with headlines, which requires searching for the table of contents, they give you the page number.
It’s such an obvious method, I’m not sure why other publishers don’t do it. When I see an article that interests me and I know I can turn directly to it, I am engaging with the book or magazine. Who wouldn’t want that? An engaged reader is more likely to buy and is a better sell for the ads (in the case of a magazine).
Why make them remain lost? Why not point them in a few directions and take a chance at engaging them? And all you have to do it put a little number next to a blurb or headline you’re already writing.
To convert this lesson to something usable on the web, see The Page Paradigm.