How much does a book’s title matter?

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I was sitting outside the grand ballroom at the Learning & the Brain Conference in Boston. The wall on the north side of the Westin Hotel was filled with education books. There must have been 50 titles.

Perched neatly between a few handsome books was my own Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom.

Ten to 15 minutes passed, as I watched dozens of educators peruse the titles. I observed curiously as a steady stream of would-be purchasers picked up book after book, thumbing through pages, ultimately selecting something to buy.

Although many people bought Role Reversal and my other book, The 5-Minute Teacher, at the conference, I was puzzled during those few minutes why so many people passed Role Reversal without so much as a second look.

Someone in the book publishing business recently suggested to me that the main title, Role Reversal, may not hook educators, because what, after all, is Role Reversal? The Flipped Classroom, one of the most popular education books in the world right now may have the flash and stickiness that sells.

I’m not sure about any of this, but it makes me wonder, just how much does a book’s title matter?

If you walked by Role Reversal in a bookstore, would you pick it up? Why?

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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