The mid-series cover switch

It’s not really a surprise anymore how much I think about book covers and about the trends relating to them. However, there is a trend that’s becoming more and more popular, and it’s one that doesn’t bother me much on a personal level so much as it bothers me as a librarian: the mid-series cover change. I’m not talking about when a series changes appearance when it goes from its hard cover iteration to a completely new paperback look; I’m talking about when the paperback change in appearance is forced on the hard cover before the entire series has released. Before I explain why it’s frustrating, let’s look at a handful of examples.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan — on the left is the original hardcover book, followed by the paperback cover look. Here’s the second book in the series, and how it appears in hardcover:

Rather than continue with the dark, simplistic look of the original hardcover, Spark‘s first appearance will follow the look of Glow‘s paperback. For what it’s worth, I think the original look of the series was fantastic and gender neutral. It was stark, clean, and simple. The new designs are a little too gendered for my liking (because this series has great appeal to both males and females) and they’re way overcomplicated. There’s too much running/floating/weird expression making going on. They don’t scream scifi in the way the first look does.

Then there was the change-up in how Elizabeth Miles’s series about the three furies looks. On the left is the original hardcover look of book one, Fury. The paperback look is on the right. I’m not sure I understand the difference since the first certainly looks much more like it fits the content than the incredibly generic cover on the right. Here’s what book two in the series looks like, in hardcover form:

Envy at least has the same red flower petals donning the cover. It still tells me absolutely nothing about the book. Is it just me or does this model look like she’s in her 20s and in no way a teenager? The longer I look at this redesigned series, the more it reminds me of another series that got a similar redesign treatment. And looks just as generic, too.

Lauren Oliver’s Delirium came out in hardcover form with the design on the left. I remember thinking it looked sort of like the girl was mid-sneeze in the image. I think it was meant to be a dreamy look, but it doesn’t really look that way. The cover on the right is the paperback issue. Isn’t it strikingly similar to the Miles series in terms of having a big face surrounded by plants? They chose to stick with this look for the hardcover release of the second book and will continue it with the hardcover look of book three, too (at least at this point):

There is nothing spectacular about these at all. But at least they keep the same model on all of them. It’s a big departure from the original hardcover look, though, and looks so similar to Miles’s books.

There’s also Andrea Cremer’s series which got a makeover mid-series. On the left is the original hardcover look for book one, Nightshade. The cover on the right is the redesigned series look and is the paperback issue of the title. But that look is what carried over into the second book’s hardcover design and into the third book’s hardcover, too:

Wolfsbane is book two and Bloodrose is book three in the series. They don’t look anything like the first hardcover look, having a little more edge and urban fantasy appeal to them (the first hardcover look to me is a softer look). If you’re curious, the advanced review copy of Wolfsbane did carry the first look prior to publication but changed. I think I prefer the original look, but I haven’t read this series. I suspect the second look — the harder appearance — might be a better “fit” for it, though.

Ilsa J Bick’s zombie series “Ashes” is getting a way different look, too. On the left is the original hardcover design (which is creepy, especially in person) and on the right is the way it’ll look in paperback form. I like the look a lot, actually: it’s different and still manages to give off a nice creep factor — though in no way like the original look. The hardcover version of the second book in the series, Shadows will carry the new look on the cover:

Redesigns are into this running thing, aren’t they? I really dig this cover. I think what’s working for me in this redesign is the title treatment. It’s striking because it runs a little differently and allows the reader to sort of construct their own image of the story. Shadows doesn’t hint at the creep factor in the same way the original cover of Ashes does, but I think that might be okay. I have a feeling book two is less about the start of the apocalypse and a lot more about survival.

Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me is getting a new look, too. On the left is the original cover, which features all of the same elements that every other book does: a girl in a pretty dress. It doesn’t really tell anything about the book. It is striking in person, though, since the silver has a nice sheen to it. The right is the redesign of the series, featuring an eye floating in the air. It doesn’t really do anything for me. I guess it’s different from the trope covered in the original look. But here’s the redesigned look on the hardcover release of the sequel:

Unravel Me‘s hardcover looks so similar to the paperback release of Shatter Me that I am pretty sure they’ll be easily confused (I can imagine without doubt being asked if they’re the same book because they do look that similar to one another). I guess this cover is brighter and perhaps more hopeful as a result. Either way, it’s not a girl in a dress, though it’s not necessarily standing out anymore.

I loved the original hardcover look of Daisy Whitney’s The Mockingbirds. It’s so simple and clean and just fits the story. The paperback iterate is on the right. It’s not bad, and it, too, is pretty striking. I love the look of the girl on the cover and how it feels somewhat noir. That said, I am sad that the hardcover of the companion book, The Rivals, didn’t get the original treatment at all and went straight to the paperback look:

I wish they’d gone with the look of the ARC on this one for the hardcover release, rather than jump straight to this look. This carries that same sort of noir look as the paperback of The Mockingbirds, but it features some random guy on the cover (with weird face stubble if you zoom in enough).

Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star started out with the look on the left. I think it effectively captures the historical/mysterious nature of the book, though I was never a fan of the girl/shadow effect going on. On the right is the look of the paperback, which I really dig. It’s simple, but it captures the haunting feeling very well. The title treatment works for me. Here’s what the hardcover of the second book will look like:

I’m a big fan. BIG fan. Again, the simplicity does everything for it. You know where and when it’s set, and you know there’s something suspicious going on. And really, that is all you need to know. But this hardcover look and the paperback of The Name of the Star are certainly a departure from the very dark, shadowy look of the original hardcover.

Holly Black’s “Curse Workers” series almost made it through the entire hardcover trilogy of the series before getting a cover change, but not entirely. Above are the hardcover looks for White Cat and Red Glove. These covers were knockouts, in my mind, particularly White Cat. There is huge appeal for both males and females in it, and the fact the guy is so mysterious looking sells the story. Do I need to start on the creepy red glove on the girl’s shoulder in the second? Alas. Both of these books got the paperback redesign and now look like this:

These are so unremarkable to me. They look like advertisements out of the 1970s, with the look of the image and the font choices. The hardcover of the final book of the series, Black Heart, got this look, rather than the original one:

Books aren’t gendered, and I truly believe a good story can work for anyone, but these covers are definitely working toward appealing to females much more than males. I am not a fan of this new look, as I think it’s a little sleepy and won’t stand out on the shelves the same way the originals did.

And finally, let’s look at one last series which has had not just one redesign mid-way through the series, but two:

Beth Revis’s Across the Universe began its life with the look on the left. It’s standout, but I read a number of criticisms that it wasn’t authentic to the characters in the story (I don’t know since I haven’t read it). When it came out in paperback, it took on the look on the right. Still pretty standout, in my mind, though both versions of this cover have appeal to a more female readership. Here’s what the hardcover of the second book in the series looked like when it came out:

A Million Suns took the best parts of the first look for the series and mashed it with the good parts of the second book. Again: it’s striking. It looks like a space-set scifi novel. But with the paperback release of A Million Suns and the release of the third and final book in the series, Shades of Earth, all three books are getting a new look:

The hardcover of Shades of Earth will take on the look to the far right here, while the other two books will be issued in paperback with the new style. I think of the three iterations of the cover, this is the one that nails it. You know these books are scifi, and they are so neutral that readers who love genre fiction will know this is something they need to pick up. It’s completely ungendered. What’s so remarkable, I think, is that there isn’t a person or an image on the covers; it’s simplistic and clean.

Series looks change as a result of sales and marketing and for a number of different reasons. A new look can spark new interest, especially if the original look for a series didn’t necessarily hit the mark. In a crowded YA landscape, getting the look right is important to the bottom line. Working the right look for a series is tricky, too: whereas standalone titles can have their paperback look remarkably different from the hardcover and have little impact on future titles, a new look in a series can impact the sales for future and past titles in that series. 

Many readers comment that these sort of series look changes bother them because then their shelves look strange. The covers don’t match, the complete set may be in differing sizes and shapes. It’s not harmonic. But that doesn’t matter a whole lot to me, the reader. What matters to me is that this sort of mid-series change, where the hardcover book takes on the new look before the series has finished its run, is difficult to work with in the library.

First, when the covers change their appearance, there isn’t instant recognition of continuity on the shelves. A casual browser wouldn’t know, for example, that The Rivals, as it appears in its new hardcover look, is the companion to The Mockingbirds in its original look. A casual browser wouldn’t know that Unravel Me‘s hardcover is in anyway related to the hardcover of Shatter Me. Part of why so much time and thought and money is invested in cover designs is because that is how readers’ attention is grabbed: a good looking cover grabs them before they dive into the flap copy or description. This is the same case in the library, in that browsers are more apt to grab a book that appeals to them visually. So when the covers are so disparate, it’s tough to know whether or not they’re companions or part of the same series unless the time and energy is invested in reading the copy (browsers have to get to that point first, though).

More than that, though, many librarians are not up on their YA. This is for many reasons, including specialties, library size, time of day a patron visits the library and who they talk with, and so forth. So when a patron approaches a librarian and asks for the next book in a series or asks if two books in a series with varied looks are related, it’s possible that the librarian would have no clue. Even if they were to go into their library’s catalog, there wouldn’t necessarily be a lot of aid, either:

You’d have to do a little more digging to figure the connection out (a good librarian would do that, don’t get me wrong, but the truth is, there is nothing here to suggest a connection so the chances of it being investigated further are somewhat slim). It’s easier when the books put their series name on them somehow — as in the case of the Johnson and Ryan titles. But, as you can see above, not all of them do. 

Where as big book stores can more easily swap out their unmatched series, libraries don’t often have that sort of luxury. Which then brings me to wondering about whether or not libraries are doing themselves a disservice in someway by purchasing the hardcover editions of hot series books. By the time they purchase the books, a new design for the paperback might be in the works, and the new design might take effect starting with the second book of the series, which then gives them a mismatched set. Given how tight library budgets are, there are rarely times when both a full hardcover set and a whole paperback set can be purchased, so arguably, it almost makes sense to hold off on purchasing series books until they’re out in paperback form. Of course, that then is a disservice to patrons, who expect (rightly so) their libraries to be purchasing new items when they’re released — particularly if they’re buzzed, popular titles like most of these are and have been.

Even though libraries are only part of the purchasing power when it comes to publishing, it seems like these sorts of changes have a great impact on library collections. Not just because they don’t match, but because their lack of matching does make browsing, readers advisory (think about the things pointed out above, particularly when it comes to appeal of a new look to different readerships), and display marketing (think about how a display with the three different hardcover iterations of Revis’s title would look) more challenging. It makes keeping up with purchasing challenging too, since the books look different. The chances of the next book in the series to be overlooked because visually it appears so different from the first are good. This also further drives a wedge in the knowledge gaps that exist among staff who may know little or nothing about YA books and still find themselves needing to know about them.

What are your thoughts on series books that get changed half-way through? Do any of the ones above look better in their original or redesigned covers? Do you see appeal factors changed on any?

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  1. says

    I hate covers changed halfway through, specifically because of the "harmonic" factor. It annoys the heck out of me that my Delirium and Pandemonium don't match.

    BUT, what bothers me way more? The insane overabundance of "generic white girls" on all the people-having covers. Every. Single. One. (Well, okay, The Rivals has a white /boy/). It feels like every single YA book has a pretty white girl on the cover these days, regardless of the actual physical descriptions of the characters.

    I mean, I get that the girl in Across the Universe actually DOES look like the girl on the cover (and frankly, the overabundance of white protagonists is a worthy issue but a whole other conversation). But I'm looking at these and am just overwhelmed how much privilege I have by being able to, as a white person, see book after book about girls "like me". But what about young adults of color? What message are we sending them when even if the protagonist of the story isn't white, they're not deserving of an accurate cover? By putting white girls on every cover in sight, we're putting forward a deliberate picture of what the book is about- the adage aside, everyone DOES judge a book by it's cover- that I worry is incredibly alienating to large swaths of the population. The Mockingbirds isn't just "about" that white girl, but now they've made that the dominant message.

    Stories are (or should be) able to tap into something that everyone, regardless of race, can enjoy or identify with in a deeper way. These covers are an affront to that.

    …Sorry, I got a bit carried away! But it's been weighing on me for a while and the problem only seems to be increasing.

    • says

      You didn't get carried away and I think you raise good and legitimate points. I can't talk too long on them because I think other bloggers have addressed this issue far better than I have.

      That said, your points then make me think about the cover change of the Ruby Oliver series — those books went from being "cute" and broadly appealing (to females at least) to then featuring a white girl on the covers.

    • says

      Oh, speaking of the Ruby books. That cover change was infuriating. I feel like the original covers more often reflect the content better, it's with the re-designing is when the drive to come up with something commercially attractive becomes more obvious. I remember E. Lockhart talking about this cover change, and the reason behind that change was that her publisher and booksellers think "books with girl faces on them sell better." Again, not sure if this change materialized in any real sales figures increases.

    • says

      I thought the original covers were great because they were so unique. The new ones…look like every other girl face on a cover out there.

    • says

      I agree wholeheartedly with what you say here, Kate. First, I also like my books to have a more harmonious look when they're on my bookshelves. I'm pretty anal about it, and I'd even consider not buying the book (but just borrowing it from the library) than have a mismatched series.

      But, where I agree with you even more is the pretty white girls thing. It's a trend that is so off-putting to me (and I'm white too), that again, if I could, I'd rather not read the book, than to buy into the marketing strategies of publicists and the whole machine behind a author and his/her book. Unfortunately, sometimes I just can't resist and I do read the book… I don't really know up to what point an author has control over the cover design (I'm sure your level of control is a lot bigger if you are called John Green or M.T. Anderson, or Sherman Alexie, than when you're a debut author ), but I think they too should make a stand here. I mean, surely you don't want to be generic? You want to stand out rather than to blend in. If I were an author (and I'm purposely using the word author, rather than writer), I'd value my integrity more than my need to sell (out). I think the whole cover debate here (and elsewhere) is actually symptomatic of "the YA market" and the need to find the next Stephenie Meyer or Suzanne Collins or whatever sells, and apparently it's pretty white girls. If I see what covers they're using for the translation of Hunger Games Trilogy into my native language, I also see the pretty white girl turning up, face only half on the cover, looking with that particular look, ugh…and this is a book that has sold millions with a completely different cover too, go figure.

      These publishing houses are in the business of making money, so I'm sure they do extensive market research here, but I'd rather read a gem of a novel with a butt-ugly cover (but what is ugly anyway, right??) that stands out yet doesn't insult my intelligence as a reader, a woman and a human being.

    • says

      I've talked pretty extensively about the female-marketing issue on covers before:

      To that end, again, I don't disagree with any of the points being made because they are valid. But to the question of what control an author has on their cover, it all depends on the author, what their contracts call for, etc. There's not a one-size-fits-all way about it.

      That said, I don't think I'd ever not read a book based on the cover, even if it fell into the troubling trends. The art selling the book and the content inside are two different beasts. It'd take a lot more to stop me. But I'm not the typical reader, either.

    • says

      Oh, but I do read the books, despite their covers, if need be, it's just that in an ideal world 'the artwork' would be an integral part of 'the book'. I think the eye definitely wants something too. I love books that also look good and where I get the impression that the art ties in with what's on the inside pages. I don't know if you know the original cover and artwork for Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere? Or I also much prefer the UK hardcovers of the Gone series over the US covers with the 'pretty faces', or for instance the way the UK artwork for Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy is done. I'd rather the artwork be original, inspiring, and preferably stemming from the author's vision, rather than from a marketing machine.

    • says

      I get it and I agree: I love original artwork and the simpler the better. That's part of why I loved the original cover of The Mockingbirds. So simple and striking and a real brand of the book.

    • says

      I don't think you got carried away at all. I am not a person of color but I understand the frustration and also have major issues with all the whitewashing of covers. In addition, I'm also of the same feeling as Kelly, that putting girls in pretty dresses on covers does absolutely NOTHING to get guys to want to read a book. There is way too much pandering to females in YA and not enough thinking about how to engage the fellas.

  2. says

    Almost all covers featured in the post I prefer in the original version. Publishers try to tweak them later on when they feel a book is under-performing and they are not capturing the right audience. It is understandable, but does it really work? Like in the case with "Across the Universe." Obviously, the intent is to attract male readers, but aren't they turning off female readers, who are guaranteed readers of this romance-infused SF? Don't they think more girls will be uninterested in books with such covers than boys attracted by it? It would be interesting to know when/if such drastic cover changes make any difference in sales numbers.

    • says

      I haven't read Across the Universe, but I like the new change quite a bit because I think it does open up the readership. I'd be curious what those who read it with the new covers think, if it works at that genre or if it's a way of repackaging something that's already packaged as romance elsewhere.

      Teen readers do pay attention to this stuff and they do have opinions. I'm eager to solicit some feedback on some of these series changes when I get the chance. My teens in the past have been very anti-kiss cover.

      What's interesting to me is how all of the cover changes above — save the AtU one — went from non-people covers to covers that feature people more prominently. Same goes for the Ruby Oliver series, which is one I didn't include on this list.

    • says

      I would be curious to know if this new AtU cover now attracts more boys or girls or both. While I understand why publishers try to reach out to boy audiences, at the same time, do they do it with the books that actually have a potential to be interesting to them? I am wildly speculating here, because I haven't read AtU and, based on the reviews, probably never will.

    • says

      I wonder if they'd appeal to female scifi readers who are interested more in the scifi aspect than the romance? Again, wild speculation because I haven't read them either. I know Kimberly really liked the cover redesign (so do I) and she read the book. Maybe she can weigh in?

    • says

      The discussions of these covers I've seen mostly led to the conclusion that people didn't like the latest version, but those were by people who were existing fans. Naturally, in their view, there was nothing wrong with them in a first place.

    • says

      One kind of unrelated note I loved about the first cover of ATU was that it was reversible. You could have the faces above OR the awesome blue diagram of the ship. I chose the ship, because it was so much more interesting. I think the changes were an improvement, despite me missing the gorgeous space elements from the first two.

    • says

      Melissa I think I have to look at it in person to see that. I didn't mind the first cover (or really the second, either) but that final look really nails it for me.

  3. says

    Ugh, this bothers me SO much. I can't stand having mismatched covers for a series, so I always end up re-buying the books to have a matched set. Brilliant on the publishers' part – they're now making twice as much money from people like me.

    Some others to add to your list are Blood Magic/The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton, Darkness Becomes Her/A Beautiful Evil by Kelly Keaton, Sisters Red/Sweetly/Fathomless by Jackson Pearce, Blood Red Road/Rebel Heart by Moira Young, All These Things I've Done/Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin, and Shade/Shift/Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready.

    Occasionally I like the redesigned covers better than the originals, but not often.

    • says

      That's funny because I usually don't get too worked up about it personally (though I GET why people do and then why they end up buying the whole series in old/new covers).

      Thanks for the list. I've been trying to keep tabs but there have been SO MANY that have done this.

  4. says

    The Jackson Pearce change makes me so sad! The originals are perhaps my favorite covers of all time, and they swapped them out for boring, vaguely cheesy covers. WHY? I don't actually care if my shelves match at all. I buy them as I find them and usually by cost. I just hate when the world, the book, the author, is deprived of something beautiful.

    I really don't like the new Across the Universe look. They were obviously going for gender neutral, so why the hell would they choose to put the series info in HOT PINK? That's just so unbelievably ridiculous I hardly know what to say to it. They're also just really boring I feel, and very reminiscent of the covers for Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series, particularly books 1 and 2, which look like Colfer's in reverse order.

    Would it really be so awful to keep the original design in the hardback? Would it?

    • says

      Yeah, I was a fan of the original Pearce covers. The new one is a bit of a let down.

      As far as the hot pink, I didn't even notice it until you pointed it out, actually. I'd venture to guess it was the only color that stood out against the rest of the cover. However, huge kudos that they even NAME the series on the cover. They do look a lot like the Colfer covers. Perhaps they're going for that purposefully?

      I agree — I wish they'd keep the entire look consistent across format. Changing it up when it goes to paperback is fine. I don't get the mid-series hardcover change. It's frustrating for all of the reasons I listed above.

  5. says

    I wonder how financially lucrative (or not) these cover changes have proven. I really liked the original Glow and Delirium covers and the new ones don't seem an improvement to me. Though I appreciate the new gender neutral covers for the Across the Universe series precisely for their neutrality at the same time I find them visually uninteresting. Both those Ashes covers rock!

    • says

      I'm curious what the payoff has been (or will be in some cases) on the swapping and what the decision making process is behind doing the switch half-way through the hard cover editions. I could see the change between hard cover and paperback but the mid-way change gets me.

      I know I was able to sell GLOW to my male readers when it was in the original incarnation but that new cover? I'm not so sure. And I agree: both of the Ashes treatments are good.

    • says

      I've spoken to people in publishing about it before, and the only reason why the covers are redesigned is when the books under-perform. They think change will bring in more readers, and yet I haven't seen an example of it in real life. I've seen books grow more popular because of the positive word of mouth, but not because of a cover change (except maybe in the realm of romance, but that's a completely different story). Books that do very well – HG, Twilight, 50 Shades, Divergent – do not even get an additional PB redesign.

  6. says

    I strongly dislike the cover redesign for the Curse Workers series — the originals referenced the content so well, and had, I think, a lot more cross-gender appeal than the new ones.

    On the other hand, they did a redesign of the Percy Jackson series, way back when the paperback of the first book came out, and I very much prefer the new covers to the original one (it was silver/gray, with a lightning bolt). I keep meaning to re-purchase the first book in the hardcover that matches the rest of my series, since it does bother me somewhat when the series titles on my own shelves do not match.

    Your comments about the difficulty of hand-selling, displaying, or even identifying series in the library are spot-on.

    • says

      I'm a big fan of the original Curse Workers covers, too. They're much less…70's disco-inspired. They have a nice edge to them that's gender neutral.

      I have to go back and look at the Percy Jackson changes. I know there was one, but it's been a long time since I've looked at middle grade covers.

      I really feel for librarians who aren't up on their YA stuff. These sorts of changes must drive them insane.

    • says

      Even for those of us who are moderately up on teen books, there are just so. many. series. out there right now, it can be hard to keep track!

  7. says

    I'd never thought about the difficulties in cover changes for librarians before. I've always hated cover changes because I do like my series to match and it feels like they're punishing the early fans. "Hello early people, you get wonky shelves!" But I much prefer cover redesigns to mid-series format redesigns. (Such as switching from mass-market paperbacks to venti or trade paperbacks. Not only do the books not look the same, they no longer fit neatly on the same shelves. Or series that were paperback originals switching to hardcover releases.)

    I know it's done to sell more books, but it's just annoying to people who already own them.

    • says

      I wonder how many people who bought originals go back and re-purchase with the new look (someone earlier up in the comments mentioned that). My guess is it's a really small number.

    • says

      Ooh, the format switch! I hear you. I almost always prefer hardcover, but if the first book of a series was only ever released as a trade paperback, then I have to decide whether to stick with paperbacks, or have a series that doesn't match on my shelves. Not that I always *have* to have matching series, but if I had an infinite book-buying budget, I probably would.

  8. says

    It does make our job as librarians harder, for sure. I don't think what we say will matter to publishers, though. I do consider myself fairly well-versed in YA literature, but I still use ALL the time to look up books in series. I make sure all my assistants use it, and tell a lot of my teens about it so they can use it themselves.

    Another problem that my teens have is that we shelve the books alphabetically by title, and not in series order. Just keep on confusing them…..

    We do our best to guide them to the first in the series, if they try to check out one that they don't realize is in the middle of a series.

    Interesting post. Thanks.

    • says

      Do you label your series at all? At my last library, we'd label them (#1, #2, #3…) on the spine to make it clear, since we shelved alphabetically, too.

  9. says

    Some of these I really like, like the ATU re-dos have an appealing gender-neutral look. And they don't look like every other cover out there. I also like the Name of the Star re-do because while I was okay with the original cover, it didn't really make sense until after you read the book, so from a marketing perspective, it's not doing a lot to move the book. While I like the type treatment of the re-do for the Ashes series (I love strong typography, especially since it translates will to ebooks), the original is definitely creepier. I do wonder if the Fury cover change was because it looked very similar to another book called Fury (by Shirley Marr).

    The thing that bums me out about cover changes is when the covers are changed to be more generic. I really appreciate gutsier covers, even when they're not wins for me, just because I'm so sick of seeing the same cover on every single book.

    This isn't really relavent to the conversation, but I read mostly ebooks, and I do find myself switching out the digital cover files when there are multiple editions for whatever design I like the best. In fact, I even switched out a cover file for a German edition with one book (I am a bit compulsive about this stuff) because all of the other covers were horrendous.

    • says

      On your second point: YES. The risky covers tend to work for me, especially those which are more minimalist. They're refreshing and different and eye-catching to me. Also: I think your coment about the look on ebooks is interesting. I never think about it — either how a cover would look digitally nor the option of potentially switching which you get — since I avoid ebooks unless necessary. I wonder how much that will impact future covers if at all.

    • says

      Theoretically, it would seem that the ebook growth would positively impact cover design, because the covers will need to stand out in a variety of sizes and in black and white. In practice, though, it doesn't seem like the powers that be have considered that covers are seen on so many different types of devices and in different mediums. I've seen so many covers that look almost interchangeable when they're in the small icons in ebook stores, and I invariable shake my head at that lost opportunity. (Obviously, this is my communications instructor brain creeping in here.)

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