Richard Lea 

Don’t judge a book by the ad on its cover

With publishers in China set to plaster book covers with advertisements, which commercial match-ups would you like to see on your shelves?
  
  

Chalk it up as another brilliant innovation – or a sign of the impending apocalypse – as China Daily reports that publishers are making space on the front covers of books for advertising. Apparently the "first book to carry an advertisement" is an account of the famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, written by his mother, which was published in March adorned with "the logo of a well-known Chinese textile manufacturer".

Howls of rage and despair on the books desk at the triumph of Commerce over Art were cut short by the excellent John Dugdale, who points out that dustjackets have always been about advertising – though most of these seem to feature other titles from the same list.

As dead-tree publishers struggle with seemingly irreversible decline, perhaps this is just the fillip they need. Maybe we can look forward to Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies – brought to you in association with Scottish Widows – or a dayglo-orange Easyjet-sponsored edition of Michael Frayn's Skios. And what would the Canadian tourist board pay to wrap a maple leaf around Richard Ford's forthcoming Canada?