Four cover changes to consider

Ready for another round of book covers that have or will be changing their appearance when they move from hardcover to paperback? As usual, some of the changes are for the better and some leave quite a bit to be desired.

Meg Rosoff’s There is No Dog came out in hardcover — the one on the left — early this year. I’m pretty into this cover. It’s bright, and I like how the dog is made from the clouds themselves (which is pretty fitting given the book’s topic). The font for both the author’s name and the title are simple, and I think that the slight touches of color with red and white in them make them stand out just enough. The blurb on the front from Anthony Horowitz is simple and to the point. Rosoff doesn’t really need a huge blurb, given her acclaim as a YA author.

In March 2013, there will be a new paperback edition of Roseoff’s title. I think the cover change is interesting. It’s still simplistic, and it’s still bright — even brighter than the hardcover edition. Like the hardcover, the only colors on the cover are red, white, yellow, blue, and black. Primaries with the black and white to contrast. What’s different though is that the last word in the title is in a different font and lives inside the image of the dog. I like the effect quite a bit, actually. But what is maybe most interesting to me in terms of the cover change is that the blurb is different now. Rather than Horowitz’s single word, the blurb is now from People Magazine and a whole two words. I’m not sure whether it’s the case or not, but this cover may be aimed more toward an adult audience than a teen audience. At least that’s the impression I get, given the blurb and the very simplistic look (and interesting to note, at least to me, is the Horowitz blurb almost reads down from YA for me — his books are middle grade in my library).

I think both of these covers are pretty good. If I were to pick one, I’d probably go paperback just because I like the yellow and blue contrast.

On the left is the hardcover rendition of William Richter’s thriller Dark Eyes, which came out earlier this year as well. It’s gotten a number of comparisons to Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo though I haven’t read it and can’t confirm that (and I’m suspicious since I think that’s an easy label to toss on any thriller featuring a female character). The cover is pretty vanilla, and it reminds me of another similar book, though I can’t put my finger on which one because it’s so generic. I am not saying it’s problematic that it’s generic because I think that’s one of the appeal factors for the cover of a thriller like this one, but it doesn’t have much that makes it stand apart, either. One kind of weird thing to me is that the girl’s hands look really big for her body. She has a toughness about her in the way she’s situated, though it looks to me like she’s got something in her eye…other than her hair, that is.

The paperback, due out in February 2013, takes on an entirely different look, despite being just as generic as the hardcover is. It’s a bunch of tall buildings in a city! They’re all tinted in various shades of purple. There is a girl reflecting off the side of one of those buildings, and I think it’s the same girl from the hardcover (or pretty darn close to it). And then, there is that blurb. Can you read it? Do you see who it is from? Pittacus Lore blurbs this book! Pittacus Lore who is a product of the James Frey fiction factor (maybe, maybe not) thought pretty highly of Richter’s work to blurb it. Except this gets me wondering: what does it mean if an author who doesn’t really exist blurbs your book? Could you not get a real blurb? Is it a message about the value of blurbs (that there is none)? Or was this some sort of marketing point for the Pittacus Lore machine? And then I start wondering when I see that blurb if this book isn’t really what it claims to be. Is it a real author who wrote this? So really, the paperback cover here has lost my interest entirely because I’m way more fascinated by this blurb and what the implications of it are.

Neither of those covers quite do it for me, but hardcover might be a little stronger, despite lacking the crucial Pittacus Lore blurb.

It seems like a lot of times when covers go from hardcover to paperback, the change includes the addition of a person. But in the case of Jessica Brody’s My Life Undecided, the switchover goes from using a model to using an object. As far as the hardcover is concerned, it’s nothing mind-boggling. Actually, I’d say it fits the book pretty well. This is mostly lighthearted and the girl on the cover reminds me of the main character pretty well. The way the title and author’s name appear on the cover fits the look of Brody’s first book, The Karma Club.

The paperback is quite different from the hardcover, and I kind of dig it. I love how it’s a mouse, which is extremely fitting for the book itself (which is about a girl who gets all of her life advice via her blog). It’s cute and plays into the lightheartedness of the story itself. What I don’t care for is the curly style of the title font around some of the letters — it’s a small thing, but actually, I really dislike it and can’t stop looking at it.

There’s not really a better cover in this case since I think both play into the content of the book pretty well. It’s curious there was a change, though, especially since the new paperback takes away from the branded-look for Brody’s books that started with her first title. The paperback edition of My Life Undecided will be available November 13.

When this book first came out, the cover image killed me. In fact, it still kills me. Here’s the thing: the cover for The Second Base Club has immense boy appeal, doesn’t it? I mean, that’s a bra made to look like baseballs. However, no boy I know would ever check out a book with a bra on the cover, made to look like baseballs or not. I can pretty safely say the same thing about girls. I mean — putting a bra on the cover of a book just seems like a bad idea, unless it’s romance and aimed at adults, and even then, I can’t say it’s necessarily going to be what draws people to pick up the book. Think about what it looks like to read a book with that cover in public. Especially if you’re a boy. Also, that tag line is pretty terrible. Although it seems to get to the heart of it all.

The paperback edition of The Second Base Club — due out in February 2013 — eliminates the bra issue, but now it brings in a creeper guy. Seriously, the guy is reaching over the girl and she’s definitely not into it. But what scares me a little more is the expression on his face. Is it me or is his head over sized? It looks almost Photoshopped onto the body. As weird as the positioning and the modeling are with the male in this image, the cover itself is much more appealing than the original, and I think it maintains a lot of guy appeal. It sort of reminds me of the covers of the “Carter” series, actually, and I don’t think that is a bad thing. Of interest is the change in tag lines, too. What originally only read “we’re not talking about baseball here” becomes a little more clarified and a little less sexual by adding that the character’s goals aren’t only about baseball.

I think the paperback cover wins this one hands down, though I really dislike the male model and the way he’s definitely taking advantage of the girl who is so not into him. But oh it’s better than that bra cover.

Any opinions about which books have a better hardcover or paperback edition? Anything you love or dislike in any of these? What do you make of the Pittacus Lore blurb? I hope it’s clear I’m not getting over that one for a little while. 

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  1. says

    I like the Meg Rosoff hardcover better, but that could be because I'm used to the HC and like it a lot.

    I much prefer the HC Dark Eyes, but must admit I thought it was a guy on the cover. Both are generic, but I love the movement in the first title treatment.

    I'd like the PB of My Life Undecided much more if the buttons on the heart mouse had depth. It looks like they just slapped two lines on the picture and called it done. So I like the concept, but prefer the HC for execution.

    But for The Second Base Club, the PB wins hands down. I mean, it's not just having to carry around a bra on the cover, it's an ugly bra and a bright orange title.

    • says

      Just marketing tools, really. But I can't shake off this Pittacus Lore one. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? I want to know what it means SO MUCH. I'm probably reading way more into it than necessary but…

  2. says

    Even though the name has an "alien" ring, Pittacus Lore reminds me of the kerfluffle over "David Manning," the imaginary film critic who had nothing but good things to say about movies from Columbia Pictures, where the Sony marketing executive who created him worked ( Running a blurb from Pittacus Lore is cute, but eventually we might need the equivalent of a "real dairy logo" to separate the genuine endorsements from the fictitious.

  3. says

    I CANNOT believe that baseball bra cover. I don't even.

    Wow, I hate both of those Dark Eyes covers, and whatever the statement behind the Pittacus Lore blurb, I definitely will never read that book, because, to my mind, that's not a commendation.

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