How about another round of books getting new looks in their paperback editions? I’ve been letting these pile up in a draft post and I’m ready to talk about a handful of them now; I’ll talk about some more soon since I’ve got a ton.
Let’s take a look at five of them this time — some of which are great makeovers and some which aren’t maybe as solid as their initial look in hardcover. Which do you think does it better? Have you seen other recent changes you’d love to talk about?
Ally Condie’s Atlantia is getting a pretty dramatic makeover in paperback. Where it looks like an adult science fiction title in its hardcover edition on the left, the change in paperback looks a lot more like a generic YA novel geared toward teen readers on the right. The paperback tells the readers almost nothing — it could be a book in any genre, since it’s nothing more than a big face. The tag line, which is repeated from the hardcover, doesn’t give much insight, either.
While I think there’s maybe more teen appeal on the paperback, I think that’s at the expense of being distinct and memorable. Also sort of interesting is that the author name seems to have shrunk in the new edition. Where it took up two lines and was more prominent than the title on the hardback, it’s gotten smaller on the paperback and the title has sized up.
The hardcover is a stronger image on this one and wins for me. The paperback edition will be available October 20.
I saved the biggest change to talk about last because there’s so much to talk about with this one. The book on the left is Fat Boy vs. The Cheerleaders, a standalone novel that came out from Geoff Herbach last year. I love this cover for so many reasons; it’s bright, it’s different, and the can is representative of the story and actually plays a role in it. This cover is memorable and stands out on a shelf.
The title, though. While it’s accurate — this is a story about Gabe, a fat boy, and it’s about the things that happen to him in a turf war at school — it’s also sort of a turn-off. It generalizes the characters and creates a strange stereotyping of characters in high school. Since there’s not a lot to go off in terms of the story’s feel from the cover, even though it’s a good one, that title becomes the anchor for readers in terms of what the book will be about. And the title isn’t telling them a whole lot (or maybe it’s telling them everything and that’s not great, either).
The paperback makeover for this book means not only a facelift, but it received a title change, too. Rather than being Fat Boy vs. The Cheerleaders in paperback, it became Gabe Johnson Takes Over, which is a title that is so much better, more engaging, and less reliant upon stereotypes, which really are not at the heart of the story itself. The cover itself is fun, looking like a defaced school notebook, along with ephemera that is relevant to the story. The pop can hasn’t disappeared, though it’s taken a backseat. In many ways, this is a much more generic cover, but it’s not generic in the way you’d forget about it, like a large image of a girl’s face is. Where I usually don’t love when a review or blurb from a review is used on a cover, it works here. Part of why it works is that this book really got lost in the shuffle and because the title changed, this signals to readers that it’s a book that’s earned recognition before. It’s clearly not brand new or fighting for a spot. It’s instead working toward reaching its audience better.
What I like about this makeover, too, is that the cover doesn’t hide that it had a different original title. This is a useful tool for not just readers who may have picked up the book before, but it’s extremely useful for those who will wonder whether it’s a book they’ve purchased for a collection before.
While I’m sad that the cover isn’t the pop can anymore, I think the makeover, both the title and the image itself, does a huge service for this book. The paperback of Gabe Johnson Takes Over is available now.