On Covers and Consistency

Regular visitors to this blog may remember me complaining about the change of cover style of Andrey Kurkov’s books recently when I reviewed The President’s Last Love. Now I’m not one of those people who really judge a book buy its cover, I will buy the ugliest book ever if I think it sounds interesting. That’s not to say I won’t get attracted to books because of the covers, an unusual cover in particular will make me intrigued about a book,and sometimes you can tell what type of book a book is by looking at the cover, and that’s good for finding books I may enjoy. However I really like consistency in my books. Popular authors do tend to have the same style of cover on their books and I like seeing they all lined up on my shelf.

I suppose I understand why covers change, it’s about attracting a new readership. Certainly this was the idea between ‘Chick-lit-iffying’ Jane Austen’s books. Bloomsbury even said that their new Signature Editions of Harry Potter are redesigned for a new generation of readers.

It does give a certain annoyance to people like me though when book cover styles change as they acquire them, especially when the new cover is not as nice, as I believe is the case with Andrey Kurkov’s novels.


'normal' cover style

So recently it has happened again. 1Q84 is a very much anticipated book, but why the change from the usual Murakami cover style? Is it simply to keep the series bound together? But then isn’t that also true of A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance Dance? Both of which are in the usual style.




Then there is the change of covers by Louis de Bernieres. I have 3 in the ‘old’ style, all of which I like. The new style is

pretty enough but it doesn’t stand out as well as the old style and doesn’t shout de Bernieres to me.

Luckily my ‘new’ copy of War Of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts came from bookmooch and is in the oldstyle so it still fits in line with my shelves. I also own A Partisan’s Daughter which is in a completely other style of cover again!




Old style

New style

You know what really annoys me though? When covers change because there has been a film or TV series of a book. I must admit I prefer the Trueblood cover art of Sookie Stackhouse series to the original artwork but those who knew of the books before the show must be annoyed that it’s now rather difficult to get hold of the original cover versions.

Ok rant over!


Filed under Musings

14 responses to “On Covers and Consistency

  1. I hate having film tie in editions. It’s like people will think I’m only reading it because a film was made out of it! I agree with the Murakami covers, they were what originally attracted me to the books. Maybe the paperback editions will go back to the old style? The hardbacks look too huge for me so I’ll be waiting, I have plenty of unread Murakami as it is.


  2. Lucybird

    Hi Ellie.

    Part of what annoys me about film tie-ins is they tend to be cheaper, if you have to make it cheaper to sell more why make it in the first place?
    I have a hardback edition of 1Q84, it is big and seeing as I do most of my reading on the bus I don’t generally buy hardbacks but it was on offer and I couldn’t resist!


  3. I sooo agree about tv/film tie-ins! Almost worse is when they bring out covers that look like tie-ins but aren’t, like the re-design of Patrick O’Brian that came out when there was a film of MASTER AND COMMANDER. See http://www.amazon.co.uk/Patrick-OBrian-Aubrey-Maturin-Adventures/dp/B005N8O3M0/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321952561&sr=1-11

    I loved the original witty & stylish artwork on the Sookie Stackhouse books and I hate the TV tie-in covers (which actually make me feel nauseous – the combination of all that lipstick and blood. Yuk!)

    Publishers do it because New = Sales in their book and I think they don’t really have much idea about how to market books other than to latch on to TV & films and proclaim something is “new”.


  4. Lucybird

    Yes I can understand why, I just don’t like it.

    You know I forgot to mention I really hate when the titles of books change, so you think you’re getting something new but it’s just something you already read with a new cover. They seem to do that with Jodi Picoult quite frequently which annoys me because I’m always looking out for new books by her.


  5. They also did it with a lovely Sally Beaumann novel which was called LANDSCAPE OF LOVE and was also published as THE SISTERS MORTLAND. There are some very angry comments on Amazon from readers who bought both.


  6. I have to agree. If I’m working my way through a series and suddenly I have one with a style change on the cover, it disturbs me. I’m a bit OCD and damn it, I want the series to match. I’m going to have these books forever.

    I think movie and TV tie-in are a crime. The book was first and it should take precedence over that which followed it. People that read are smart enough to find the book without a movie or TV promotional cover.

    Just saying.


  7. Lucybird

    Exactly, you don’t want your shelves to look wonky forever!

    Maybe films should copy book covers instead?


  8. Lucybird

    I’m not surprised!


  9. I’m not too bothered by this, since I tend to go for covers I like even if they don’t “match” other covers by the same author, though I definitely try to avoid movie/TV tie-in covers.

    There’ve been a few cover styles for Murakami’s books. I have one in the style you like above (Dance Dance Dance) but most in this style, which is also Vintage. I think it might be an older style, only they still use it? Bit confusing but oh well.

    I remember with the Obernewtyn Chronicles, almost every new book in the series would launch a reprint of the previous books with a whole new cover style, so my copies are all completely different! Even different sizes. I don’t mind too much only each time, I think I want to buy them all over again because the covers are so nice – then they outdo themselves with even nicer covers!


  10. Lucybird

    lol maybe the publishers of the Obernewtyn Chronicles were hoping that everyone would buy a new copy of the previous book with each new book.
    I must admit I’m rather taken with the Signature editions of Harry Potter and a little tempted to re-buy all of them. I did with Goblet of Fire because my old copy is falling apart, and a paperback is easier to carry around but I haven’t quite convinced myself with the rest!

    I’ve seen that version of the Murakami before, but only in pictures, I had always presumed it was the American edition as I have never seen it in person, but I guess not.


  11. I’m always tempted to rebuy books when new covers come out, it’s terrible! I’d love to get the Obernewtyn books in the newest covers, but it would be a completely unnecessary splurge! I bought a new copy of a HP book recently because my copy of book 4 had mould on it (long story), and I had the choice of getting a new version but I went with the classic – hardback too! It was expensive, but I guess I wanted an exact same copy of the one I lost.

    I’m not sure what country those Murakami covers are from – they had both in Japan, where they usually import English-language books from the UK. Yeah I really don’t know! That’s going to bug me now… 😉


  12. Lucybird

    Well all that has happened to my original Goblet of Fire is that the spine has fallen off,so it’s still technically readable, I just don’t want to destroy it any more.


  13. Definitely agree with this. 1Q84 just doesn’t fit! All my Harry Potters are the same edition (so what if it’s the ‘kids’ cover?)
    I don’t mind film tie in covers, but the comments of ‘are you only reading this because you saw the movie?’ get old on public transport (especially as I usually haven’t even seen the movie!)


  14. Lucybird

    I have all kid’s covers for the Harry Potters too, I like the adult covers but I prefer the kid’s ones and that’s what I started on because I read Harry before he was cool. I don’t really like to connect the books and the films if I can help it, except if I want to compare them, it makes it easier to appreciate each one for what it is.


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