As tastes change, so do book covers. Put an old Nancy Drew book in front of a kid who loves to read mysteries, and we can almost guarantee the young reader will choose something else, simply because the cover design is so dated. Kids really DO judge books by their covers, and if they’re not appealing, they’ll pass, regardless of the quality of the story.
Recently, I came across a fantastic blog that posts the worst fantasy/sci-fi book covers you could imagine. And while they may not entice you to pick the book up to read, you’ll most certainly get a chuckle from the covers. Take a few minutes to drop by Good Show Sir. You won’t regret it.
“I read this book already, but I didn’t recognize it.”
We’ve heard this on a number of occasions, when someone has taken out a book and then brought it back, only to have already read it. It’s not that they forgot; the cover is different! This happens quite often when books are released in other countries…the covers will often change. And while we don’t usually purchase books in other languages, sometimes we will get copies that have been released in England. Sometimes, even the title changes!
You can see a fun list of identical books (inside the covers, at least) right here at The Millions. Have you read any of these? Have you read any a second time by mistake?
Once upon a time, large print books were scarce. And the ones that were available had drab covers with extra large fonts. For people who had vision problems, or just wanted something a little easier to read as they aged, large print books were an okay option–not great, but okay.
Times have changed! Not only are we able to get many of the latest best-sellers and new releases in large print format, but the covers are exciting and often exactly the same as the regular print versions.
This is a welcome change to the library shelves. Contemporary books with contemporary covers means more people will be reading these, even as large print.
Recently, I came across this fun blog post about a woman who found these cute pins on Etsy. Yes, we’d all love to wear something like that, to tell people when we’re deep into a book. But how about a book cover itself?
So, YA writer Erin Bowman decided she’d give creative bookcovers a try. She designed them and paired with two of her blogging friends and they each shared the links to nine different creative (and fun!) bookcovers you can print at home. She even provides information on how to go about putting them on a standard YA book. Drop by this site, or this one, or this one to download any of the covers. They come in fantastic colors and you can have them printed on nice paper at Staples, let’s say, and laminated so they’re more durable. I did a quick example (in plain black and white…although the picture looks zigziggy, it’s not), but they’re fun, nonetheless.
What a fantastic idea! In Bogota, Columbia, libraries have hired a wonderful design firm Lowe/SSP3 to come up with a way to promote a book exchange. The fantastic ads are aimed at getting people to bring back a book they’ve read and leave with another great story. (The ad above is Snow White and Sherlock Holmes. Can you see it?)Creative idea and it is bound to get people talking!
Are publishers so desperate to market old books to new readers that they have to change the covers so that they will appeal to new readers? On most fronts, I would say this is a great idea. I’ve seen countless examples in the library of older books being released with a new cover, one which might appeal to more people in the current day. Book covers are generally artistic now, bright and appealing with fresh artwork or photography. People will pass on a dingy cover for a new one everytime. But what do you think about this:
The success of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series and the stylistic artwork on those covers makes them instantly recognizable. So, it’s not surprising that HarperCollins decided to release Pride and Prejudice in paperback with a “brand new” cover. It will draw the young adult readers, especially if it is placed near the Twilight books on displays. Notice the new tagline at the top “The love that started it all”. This will also certainly catch any readers that might not be aware that this is a classic work of fiction.
But is this really the right way to do marketing? Will it sell more books? Probably, but it’s cheating, in a way. Maybe we should think about changing the outside of the library building to make it look like a famous landmark or a hot nightclub (might get in the young adult readers?).
I guess it’s the old adage, “Never judge a book by its cover”, but it certainly is an interesting new tactic from publishing companies to try to revive interest in older books. What do you think?
Here is a great post on a blog from “Pop Culture Junkie” about look-a-like books covers (and CD’s and movies). We often comment on the covers of books that appear so similar, so this was a fun post to look at. These are just two examples of books that share similar photography on their covers. You can read the article here: