A dummy is an informal preliminary layout of a book, magazine, or newspaper created by its editor, designer, or publisher to indicate how its final product will look. Similarly, this term may refer to a mock-up product, such as a toy or furniture used for display or design purposes.
The book publishing industry uses dummies to give authors and illustrators an idea of what their final book will look like, while layout details for text and illustrations have yet to be completed. They may be revised several times before being made final for publishing.
Dummies can also be used to test different book cover designs or marketing strategies. For instance, publishers might create two mock covers and try them on potential readers to determine which one is more successful.
Mock-ups or prototypes of products, more commonly known as dummies, can serve multiple functions. For example, testing out manufacturing processes or measuring consumer reactions to new designs are two examples.
A dummy is an invaluable tool for both writers and publishers. It enables writers to experience their work in its final form and ensure it flows well and is appropriately paced. At the same time, it provides publishers with an opportunity to test a book before committing time and resources to publish it – saving both time and money by only posting those they believe will succeed.
Publishing has been deeply affected by digital reading devices and the surge in e-book consumption. Still, some publishers have begun experimenting with “dummy” books – printed versions of electronic texts that can be read on dedicated readers or tablets – in response.
Dummy books offer an alternative to electronic reading for readers who prefer physical books; this should, in theory, help increase sales of print books while attenuating the decline of the traditional publishing industry.
But it remains to be seen if dummy books will catch on among readers or whether their creators’ concerns about cost and impracticality outweigh potential gains; some have pointed out that it doesn’t address the root of declining print book demand; only time will tell whether these innovations succeed or fail as experiments.