Monday, 2 November 2009

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover...?

I was thinking about this as I was at work and my friends were chatting about Twilight. One of them had just seen the film for the first time (and they, like most women who have seen the film, have had their hearts melted by Robert Patterson) and I decided to send them photos of what the covers of the books look like, so that they might go and discover the books. I mean, without the books, there would be no films, right?

So, as I sent the email, I began to wonder about cover art and how most in the UK is different from the USA, if not the whole world.

With the Twilight Saga, there isn’t any different. The font and the colour used on the “Breaking Dawn” cover is different, but that’s it. No different. The UK publishers, Atom, use the international covers. But, when they first published Twilight in Hardback, the cover was different.

Now, I would upload pic into this, but I have no time (NANoWriMo!) So will link you to LiveJournal Article that has a ton of pictures. Here's the link -

But it’s very rare that covers of books published in the UK are the same or similar to covers to books international or just State wise. On publication of the third book in the “Mortal Instruments” series by Cassandra Clare, UK Publisher Walker Books decided to change the UK covers so they matched the US covers.

But (yes, there is a but), this isn’t always the case. It does depend on the publisher in each country. Sometimes the publisher might want the same cover, some publishers might want the same cover but want to change something about the cover and some publishers want a completely different cover. This is due to how the market of each country.

Now, how do I feel about this? With every country having its own cover design for a book is fine. I can understand the idea of something working well to sell a book whereas in another country, the same idea not selling the book the way it should.

But how do I feel about publishers changing the cover design half way through a series? Well… am in two minds over it. On the one hand, I can see why publishers do it. It’s to make a profit and, sometimes, to refresh and reboot the series. For example, Random House UK decided to change the cover design of their Kathy Reichs books, starting with “Bare Bones”. Because of this, Random House saw an increase of people becoming aware of the book and, because of this, more people bought the book compared to the previous book which didn’t have the “facelift”.

But, as a reader, I can see how the book’s “facelift” can put your nose out of joint. There have been a few series in the past that I have been reading in the past, but when the publisher has redesigned the cover, it has annoyed me (“It no longer matches the rest of them!”) and, sadly, in one or two cases, has put me off the book series entirely.

And, if we think about it, the cover really is nothing compared to the story, is it? The cover’s there to grab your attention in the bookshop or in the library. After that, it really doesn’t do much. It doesn’t effect how we read the story inside the covers. I mean, with Twilight, there is never really a scene in the book where Bella holds a red apple like it does on the cover. It’s there to represent temptation, as the author of the Twilight Saga, Stephenie Meyer, explains.

But maybe, just maybe, we do judge. Maybe the saying “Never Judge A Book By Its Cover” has a point. Of course, the saying was meant to be used in real life with how we see people and how we see the world in general, but maybe we should use this saying literally…

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