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Don’t judge a book…

September 6, 2007

A NovelAhh, the old saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” – certainly a great piece of advice when meeting new people, but I don’t think it really applies to actual book covers.

I am a visual person. I am also a graphic design student. I have this annoying habit of dissecting logos, package design and book covers wherever I go (I also count up all the purchases in my head while waiting for my receipt to print out at the cashiers, but that’s another post). 

A Novel (P.S.)

Recently while shopping in my favorite store, I came upon their new fall book club selection Summer People by Brian Groh. The premise of the book sounds quite interesting, but truly the one and only reason I even picked up the book was the book cover (ah yes, I am a sucker for pretty covers). Now take a peak at these two covers. The first one (with the boat and the woman’s legs) was on the hardcover version. The second cover (with the oars) is on the trade paperback, being sold currently at Target. Which one do you prefer? I love the trade paperback version, but would hardly take a second glance at the cover with the boat. Now, did the publisher decide to change the book cover because it become a Target book club pick, or maybe the first cover wasn’t selling quite as well. I know very little about the book publishing industry, but wonder what the reasoning is.

What initially got me thinking about book covers was a post Lesley wrote recently. Even though she could have purchased the American version of Water for Elephants (with an employee discount no less), she opted instead to pick it up while traveling in Canada. I prefer the Canadian cover and probably would have done the same thing. Are there any book covers that you absolutely love? Any that you wondered “what were the publishers thinking?” 

For a more in-depth look at book cover design, check out Covers or The Book Design Review


10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2007 8:10 am

    I agree with you. The book cover with the oars is far superb. 🙂 I wouldn’t give the other a second glance; however, I’m not a chick-lit connoisseur. Those that are may quickly snatch it up. ???

    The Canadian version of Water for Elephants appeals more to me, also.

    If you find out more about the publishing of book covers, please post. I’m interested to know their method.

  2. September 8, 2007 12:01 am

    Yup, I totally agree with you. I find a lot of times that the trade paperback cover is better than the hardcover (not always, but usually).

    One of the reasons I didn’t buy The Book Thief is because I dislike the US cover, but love some of the international versions. Much more evocative.

  3. September 8, 2007 6:21 am

    I agree, the tradepb cover with the oars is much better! Although books are rather more expensive here in Japan, I do like that fact that both the US and UK versions are often available. I’m always comparing covers, and have been known to pay a little more for the one I like better.

  4. September 9, 2007 12:51 pm

    Definitely the cover with the oars! It’s much more nautical than the silly one with the woman’s legs. But what I want to know is did you read the book and how was it???? 🙂

  5. September 9, 2007 6:18 pm

    I would have passed on the legs, figuring the book was pure chick-lit. The one with the oars entices me without even knowing what the book is about. Is the book worth reading?

  6. September 11, 2007 10:59 pm

    I definitely like the oars better than the legs. And, it’s interesting – everyone seems to think the same thing I did. Oars against the wall . . . looks more serious and literary. Legs indicate chick lit. I’m not a chick-lit hater, but I read more literature than fluff and was strongly drawn to the oars.

  7. October 10, 2007 2:44 am

    I hadn’t seen the American cover for Water for Elephants – I added it to my TBR list because a good friend with good reading taste recommended it, but if I’d only seen the American cover, I think I’d have been a bit skeptical.

    A funny thing about Canadian covers – 95% of the time the covers for Canadian children’s and YA fiction are TERRIBLE! Horrible, horrible drawings, dull colours – seriously, a nobody-will-ever-read-this-book level of terrible. It’s often not until they’ve caught on down south that they usually come back out in paperback with attractive covers.

    I’d have probably gone for either Summer People cover, since I like Chick Lit. But it doesn’t actually sound like Chick Lit from the description, so I’d say the oars are a better choice.

    FINALLY – Target is my fave store, too, even though we don’t have them up here.

  8. December 4, 2007 11:23 pm

    haha. i was about to make a post about this cover. but you’ve already done it.


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