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  1. Don't judge a book by it's cover

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    I am sure that many of you have noticed the trend as of late to publish or republish books with covers that echo that of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I am going to be completely honest and say that I do not like the Twilight books. I won't go in to detail here seeing as if I were going to do so, I would post a proper review analysing the books.

    Anyway, here are just a couple of examples of what I am talking about:

    Yup, both these covers mimic the red, black, and white colour scheme of the Twilight books but also a flower to be likened to the New Moon cover. There is also no missing that both editions have the words "Bella and Edward's favourite book" stamped on them along with the phrase "Love never dies..."

    Then there is the Vampire Beach series. I haven't read this series but I didn't mind the old covers. They looked like they would make a nice colourful patch on a bookshelf and contributed to the novel nature of the concept of vampires on a beach. At the moment I think that many a YA reader's bookshelf must be threatening to turn into a wall of black. Such is the case with the new rereleases of Vampire Beach:

    Then there is my current love, the Study Series by Maria V. Snyder:

    At least these editions are not all red, black, and white but the allusion to Twilight is there with the glossy image over a black background and the novel title in lower case, raised white lettering. The Study Series has some really nice cover sets. I only ended up purchasing this set (which is the Australian set of covers) as I was able to get them cheap, otherwise I had planned to buy a different set online, such as this one:

    The same goes for the Australian covers of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth and it's upcoming sequel The Dead-Tossed Waves.

    Again, I prefer the other covers available. I think that they carry the tone of the series better.

    There is also a new cover for Valiant out. Poor Holly Black.

    More books that I think have covers that are part of this trend:

    There are a stack more out there but I am not going to spend the time and space listing them all when I am sure that everyone has probably spotted them about. If I think of any later that I haven't included that I think of are significance then I will come back and put them up. I'll put up the rest of the Australian Study Series covers for anyone interested as soon as I can find an image of them.

    So, why do I even care about this? Oh, I know that we have all been told "don't judge a book by it's cover" but in truth it is really easy to find yourself doing. In this case, these book covers are telling me what audience they want to attract. As someone who really doesn't like Twilight I look at these covers and receive the message that these books are for Twilight fans. It can be very off putting. However, by fortunately putting aside the first impressions that they give, I have been able to find some really good books wrapped up in some of these "Twilightish" covers. Furthermore, I feel that some of these books being wrapped up to look like Twilight are nothing even like Twilight to be marketing it to that exact same audience. If you want the series to get good reviews and for the sequels to sell then isn't it better to target the kind of audience who usually read and like that type of book? Is merely being a Young Adult novel these days enough for it to be likened to Twilight? Is this is why I do not work in marketing?

    Also, some interesting cases of the publishers not looking around to see if anyone was already using the stock image that they had selected:

    If I am correct, De Beproeving by Tess Franke was published a few months before the Host.

    Also this:

    I could be wrong but I think that Twilight existed before this edition.

    Who knows, that little tid bit of information might come in useful to someone ever doing trivia or something of the like and have to name two books with the exact same covers. Or maybe not...

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  2. 11 comments:

    1. I find this quite interesting as we do indeed judge a book by its cover. Especially with the fad to label styles of music or dress styles with 'sub-culture' leanings, putting out this kind of cover similar to the Twilight novels IS a clever marketing ploy in some way, but would more than likely turn away TRUE fantasy genre fans when they spy the covers.

      I truly think that bookstores should order in multiple covers of the same book so we have a choice about what we want to have in our bookcase.

      Other good examples are Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and Harry Potter. The original books had hand-drawn art of charcters from Ankh-Morpork and Hogwarts:

      The Colour Of Magic (both original and Twilightish)

      Harry Potter: Philosopher's Stone (Original)

      Harry Potter: The Twilightish Stone :p (Twilightish)

      It makes me sick. I read the Twilight Novels, and we won't get into that either. They are part of my reason for jumping ship back to the Fantasy Genre, which as you know I am enjoying immensely ;)

    2. It's unfortunate that any black cover with a bright focal object will now be compared to Twilight. It's an effective sort of cover to begin with. The problem is not really the cover style itself... it's that it's become associated with all things Twilight.

      I do tend to judge books by their covers, but I've learned not to put much faith in anything that compares itself to Twilight. YA does not equal Twilight (no matter how much some people would like us to believe it does). And if I see a comparison on the cover or in a blurb, I'm probably going to be less likely to read that book!

    3. I personally like the black, white and red thing. But that is just me, and its not because of Twilight, in fact, the cover, and the colors. was the main reason I picked Twilight up.

      Oh and the whole Wuthering Heights cover thing is appalling.

    4. Check out the cover of North of Beautiful and Evermore, and Tantalize and Ivy. Whoops!

      Those Wuthering Heights covers really bloody annoy me.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.
    6. It's a weird trend for these layouts and they still don't work for me, especially when you look at the alternate covers once more, which are WAY better:


      That cover there actually inspires me to read the book; it gives a more faerytale quality of the story than the 'black' cover.

      I looked up BONES OF FAERIE and that doesn't have an alternate cover, though I am now interest in reading those too. Don't think I could stomach BEASTLY that, haha.

    7. Terra said...

      I have made an edit to include the new cover of Holly Black's Valiant. It is so appalling in it's design it just had to be put up here.

    8. Yes, these publishers are getting desperate in marketing their products.

      The only Holly Black I have read was Tithe ages ago. The Spiderwick Chronicles aren't my thing and the movie was blah.

      So Valiant is a 'kinda' sequel to Tithe. Hmmm...Might check it out but will try to find an alternate cover first haha. Have you read it?

      Also my review of Magic Study is up :)
      Started to read Sasha by Joel Shepherd...

    9. Irantfordays said...

      This depresses me so badly. Can we go back to covers that were actually illustrated please? Or at east if we're going to just use stock photos stop finding the stock on the net and actually get something original.

    10. rubybondi said...

      I like the black covers with the colour in the centre. i think that it is associated with twilight because it is the first but someone was bound to do it eventually. i am not a twilight fan but I like the covers. They are simple and grab your attention. of corse that is a personal opinion. I really think that it just depend on your taste.

    11. Patrick D. said...

      I generally stay away from the clear twilight 'rip-off' covers, regardless of their similarity to the former (which I actually did very much enjoy), only because it puts me off that publishers are that pathetic/desperate. How about coming up with something original. That is what usually attracts me to a cover.
      As for the Harry Potter adult edition being Twilight-like: I may be wrong but I believe those covers existed quite a bit before Twilight. Or at least if they came about around the same time - I highly doubt an adult edition would be based on Twilight, which is definitely not an adult book.
      This is just my two cents.

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