Cover Reboot Win

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Awhile ago now, I wrote about Cover Reboot Fail, & lamented those that, upon their paperback release, were treated rather badly. I’m happy to report, though, that this isn’t always the case! Sometimes they take advantage & really nail it the second time.

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Do you know, I hadn’t even realized this was a modern story until I saw the new cover on an ad somewhere – oops? I like the original art, but something about it screams 1940s & definitely that it belongs in the children’s section. But this new edition is simply stunning. I think plenty of teens will grab this off the shelf now!

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How clever to put the title on the butt-cheek pocket! LOVE IT. I like the original cover too, but the paperback definitely catches your eye.

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I can’t decide which edition I like better, but I think they’re both pretty great.

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To be perfectly honest, I really like the original cover. But something about the paperback is really engaging, & I think it does a better job of capturing the essence of the story.

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This is exactly what this series needed for those Hunger Games fans to pick it up. The original definitely screams mid-00s, but the new one definitely catches your eye.

You can see all my favorite book covers in the Well-Designed Books Make Better Lovers (& find more readers) set on Flicker!

Cover Reboot Fail

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With even the author having to step in to defend herself surrounding the hoopla of Justine Larbalestier’s latest, Liar (go read that if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about – in a nutshell, the publisher put a white girl on the cover of a book about a black girl – yeah, it’s bad, but authors get no say in this), I’d thought I’d point out some other instances where the publishers have jumped ship in favor of the fail whale.

See, publishers have these strange ideas about what will sell – & although I do agree that a well-designed book finds more readers, sometimes the designs will truly speak for themselves. If a book doesn’t sell well in hardcover, often they’ll give the paperback edition a new cover. Sometimes they really do nail it the second time (I’ll do a post of these later). Many times, they fail.

The original is on the left, followed by the new paperback edition. Ironically, many of the originals are some of my very favorite covers, & I’ve put them in the Well Designed Books Make Better Lovers set.

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Here, we lost those beautiful bright hues, & traded them in for… random Georgian costumed girls? I get that perhaps using typical Austen graphics speaks to what the book is about – but focusing on that aspect won’t make the average teen pick it up (although I will admit that the blurb from Stephenie Meyer does help).

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I’ve often felt that the hardcover edition of Gingerbread is one of the absolute best-designed teen covers of all time. This book never sits on a display – it barely makes it an hour before it’s once more plucked from the shelf. To turn such a quintessential teen image into a boring white & blue cover – don’t get me wrong, it’s not a terrible design, but it’s so not the main character.

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Another gorgeous, interesting cover (which also rarely sits on the shelf) gets turned into generic monotone. This story now looks to be about clones, rather than a fun story about a guy who dates a bunch of girls named Katherine.

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Again, turning a fabulous design into something incredibly generic. Nothing about this cover says PICK ME UP I’M INTERESTING!!! If a book design is perfect, I shouldn’t need to booktalk it.

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This one breaks my heart. Here, a book that looks like it’s about a guy who’s into comics gets turned into… a book that looks like its aimed at second graders. Why would they do this?

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Again, an engaging cover gets turned into generic ghost story. & again, the hardcover never stays on a display. Doesn’t it just scream pick me up & check me out? I get that the reboot was done to cash in on the Supernatural fandom, but still. Was this really necessary?

This is truly just a sampling of good intentions gone bad. What are some the most glaring examples that I’ve missed? Am I completely out of my mind?

The importance of book design…

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This week’s Newsweek arrived in my mailbox yesterday (& I LOVE the new design & layout to pieces!), & in addition to coverage of the death of Michael Jackson, this edition is all about BOOKS. One feature talks about book covers & Chip Kidd’s (an editor at Alfred Knopp) favorites through the years. Although he nailed some of the best designs of the times (books such as Everything is Illuminated, Twilight, & A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), I also felt like a lot of his choices were, well, really obvious! Dig deeper to find some chestnuts, like Sima’s Undergarments for Women!

One of the nice things about teen lit is that selling the book relies on the story & design alone – unless it’s a name like Stephenie Meyer or JK Rowling, teens usually don’t know & frankly don’t care. Some will recognize a name like Meg Cabot or Darren Shan, simply because their books take up so much of the shelf, but teens in general are rather more interested in whether the story is interesting than which best-selling author’s name is plastered across the cover.

Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites…

You can view the entire “Well Designed Books Make Better Lovers (and find more readers!)” set on my Flickr!