Since a good sum of Wonderella's readers aren't "comic book fans" in the Green Lantern sense, I have dedicated the back of the book to Vino Vidi Vici: The On-the-go Guide to Wines. Flip it over when guests, dates or in-laws stop by and they'll be none the wiser (Don't worry, nobody actually reads coffee table books).—Justin Pierce
You know that there are some books that people think you should not read, books where the simple act of reading them constitutes a hazard to life or liberty? But we're not talking about censorship.
No, this is a case of the book's very author deciding that reading his book in public is dangerous. The very people who put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) have decided that it is irresponsible to send you into the world with a copy of their works without some way to keep you safe. They like to give you the idea that you will need some kind of disguise for your book and so provide one in a sort of factory-installed Book and Switch.
You can pull this off with either a hardback or a paperback book, but the method varies. Hardback books are published with a reversible dust cover with an alternative title and cover image on the inside. A paperback has an alternate cover on the back of the book. In both cases, the alternate cover is usually something along an opposite line to the real cover.
- Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorised Autobigraphy has the alternative dust-jacket cover titled: The Luckiest Kids in the World! #1 The Pony Party by Loney M. Setnick.
- Scott Adams' The Joy of Work has the alternative cover "Company Loyalty: Your Key to Success."
- The first print edition of The Non-Adventures of Wonderella has a back cover designed to look like a coffee table book about wines.
- Despair.com (the makers of the original Demotivators) used to sell a book instructing managers on how to use despair to motivate their employees. Due to the allegedly provocative contents, the cheapest edition came with the alternate cover Productivity and Ethics in the Workplace to scare away anyone from reading it. (More expensive editions came with a lock and key for the book.)
- Not Played for Laughs: When the "Harry Potter" book series proved popular with adults, they were re-released with plain covers lacking the cartoonish drawings on the original editions, so that adults would not feel embarrassed about reading them in public. It doesn't seem to have been necessary, since the books became so popular that most people were not embarrassed to be seen with them.
- "Book safes" are novelty items that hide a hollowed out space in which to hide money or other items behind an incredibly boring cover.