This promotional video from the US office of Random House provides a behind the scenes look at the workings of a major publishing house. It features interviews with the company’s editors, designers, marketing staff and publicists, highlighting the huge amount of work, money and effort that goes into producing and promoting a commercially published book.
Random House is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world and is poised to become even larger as it moves to merge with Penguin. Its authors include Maya Angelou, John Grisham, Gillian Flynn, E.L. James, George R.R. Martin and Paulo Coelho.
Despite the saying, the look of a book cover is incredibly important. This video mentions the Random House design team working with their authors to come up with the overall look. Depending on the publishing house, an authors involvement in the book cover design process often quite limited, though there are exceptional circumstances,
One recent jacket cover from Random House that has received a lot of attention is the design for The Flame Alphabet written by Ben Marcus. Published by under Knopf imprint, the cover was named one of The New York Times’ Favorite Book Covers of 2012. It was designed by Peter Mendelsund, an associate art director at Knopf, as well as an art director at Pantheon. This interview from 2011 (audio) with Mendulsund gives further insight into what goes into making a great book cover and how book design works at Random House.