The Compulsive Reader: Cover Talk: What's With the Constant Makeovers?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cover Talk: What's With the Constant Makeovers?

Hello all,

As you may have deduced from my reviews, I am a bit of a cover fanatic. I mention covers in every review, and my anticipation and excitement for a book tends to be directly proportional to the beauty or ingenuity of a cover (not always, but often). So, I get excited over cover makeovers as mcuh as the next person, and I even tend to want to own multiple copies of the same book with the different covers so that they match (I will not disclose exactly how many copies of Meg Cabot's 1-800-WHERE-ARE-U series I own).

But, I must ask: what is up with the constant series makeovers BEFORE the second book even comes out?

I'm sure a lot of it is complicated marketing and sales tactics and issues that I do not understand, but basically, I am a little sick of it. I'd love it for a series to just stick with a cover scheme from the very beginning. I like continuity, and I suppose I must be getting old because I don't necessarily like this change.

Here are some examples of what I am talking about:

Example One, Carrie Ryan's books:

Compare the above images (the WAVES cover was tossed out) with...

To be honest, I don't like the paperback of FOREST. The perfect hair and perfect eye make-up just make no sense to me. It doesn't seem real, but more Hollywood. The font, to me, looks a little cheesy. However, for the WAVES cover, I do like it. It really sends a message across. Granted, I still think the original design was better. It seemed to belong better to Carrie Ryan's world, whereas these new covers belong in our world.

Example Two, Maureen Johnson's Scarlet series:

Once again, the second one was thrown out to make room for...

I think these new covers are cute, but they just aren't as original as the previous ones. Granted, the one thing I didn't like about the original Suite Scarlet cover was the fact that the girl's eyebrows were quite dark, but that aside, I prefer the older ones.

Example 3, Michelle Zink's books:

I adore the above cover for its Gothic and unique feel. Absolutely beautiful. However, it appears that when the sequel Guardian of the Gate comes out, a new paperback cover will also be re-issued, and the design is a bit more pedestrian.

I feel like that with these covers, while they are certainly beautiful, they lose the edge and the mystery and the historical feel. I suppose it will be an attempt at appealing to a wider audience, but I am not a huge fan of these covers.

Example 4, Sarah Rees Brennan's books:


Now, I have the misfortune of not really caring for either of these covers, but here is yet another example...

Now, to prove to you all I'm not a total stickler for change, here are a few example of changes I DO like...

Example 1, Jennifer Sturman's books:

This is the original hardcover cover, which I like a lot. Below is the new paperback, and the sequel's cover.

I don't know what brought on the revision of the cover for And Then Everything Unraveled, but I like it. It is a little different (the girl looks more Asian, which fits the book's main character), but it is still essentially the same design scheme, which flows well into the cover of the next book. It will be easy to associate all of these books together, which I like, and the change, though not necessary from my view, is minimal and nice.

Example 2, Terra Elan McVoy's books:

Above is the hardcover cover for Pure, which I believe I've stated upon many occasions that I loathe. The book is about faith and beliefs and purity rings, and the cherry on the cover so does not fit. So, I was very, very happy to discover the new paperback cover...

Muuuuuch better! It still looks a lot like the hardcover, but is definitely more suited to the content of the book. And even though After the Kiss isn't a sequel, but an entirely different novel, I like that the same design scheme was used.

So...what do you think? It seems to me that the majority of these changes are made to make the covers look more modern and streamlined, like something you would see on TV or in magazines, which I suppose is an attempt at selling more books. Are you liking the new covers of all of these books more or less? Do you agree that publishers should try and stick with one design throughout the course of a series? Let me know in the comments.


Anonymous said...

The hardcover for PURE squicks me greatly. I agree that the paperback is better. But I was SO disappointed when they tossed the original DEAD TOSSED WAVES! It was beautiful! *sad face*

Khy said...


1) Carrie Ryan's- I think the original Dead Tossed Waves one is SO PRETTY! The girl on the new one is like really skinny and her arms looks weird. I agree about the new FHT eye makeup, but I think I like that one better than the original which seemed so plain to me.

2) I'm mostly upset that my Scarlett hardcovers don't match. The new ones are cute, but I think they're a little too cute almost.

3) The original Prophecy one fits the book so much better, I think. The new ones are so much less moody and makes me think some sort of like, samurai books. O_o

4) I mainly don't like the new Demon's Lexicon covers because I think the color scheme is weird. Like, blue and gray and a red font don't go together for me. And the dude on the first one totally looks like Stefan from VD.

5) I don't really like the colors on the sequel to Unraveled, but I like the new one from the first book!

6)The new Pure cover is so much better!

Rebecca Herman said...

I hate all the changes because I like my books to match! I really liked the original Carrie Ryan and Prophecy of the Sisters covers. I don't like the new ones as much. I'm tired of photo covers and the new Prophecy books look too modern.

vonze said...

Wow...thanks for sharing. I had no idea that covers change so much!

As Rebecca said, I like my covers to match!

Sara said...

Great post with lots of beautiful covers! I like when covers change to a more beautiful cover, but if I already have book 1 I hate cause I want my books to match!

Kelly Jensen said...

When Michelle showed the new covers of her prophecy books, I told her I was sad. These books had the potential to appeal to boys, especially with such a unique gothic cover of the first. They'd overlook the idea of it being sisters.
But now? Two girls on the covers will make boys run and run fast :(

I do agree with you 100% on the "Pure" covers.

Beth S. said...

Have you seen the paperback change to If I Stay. Gayle Forman is happy with it, but I have to say that I much prefer the simplicity of the hardcover:


The Compulsive Reader said...

Khy: Totally agree about the Stefan comment!

Beth: Interesting! I had not seen that yet, thanks for sharing. Now the question is, will the sequel's cover match the hardcover, or the paperback?

Daisy Whitney said...

I totally agree on the Pure redesign. I always thought the original was very eye catching -- but you're right -- it doesn't match the content. Wasn't there another Forest cover at some point? A black cover with a red flower?

Michelle Zink said...

That's the UK cover of Forest, Daisy.


Melissa Walker said...

Ooh, love this post, as you know I'm insane for covers.

So... I have a few "Cover Story" interviews coming up here, with Michelle Zink and Carrie Ryan (I hope) and definitely Sarah Rees Brennan. I'll try to get the others to do an interview too.

I will say, though, that I like the Maureen Johnson changes because I always thought Scarlett looked a little old or something on the originals.

And yes, of course, it's all in an effort to sell more books. Which isn't a bad thing, considering the awesome authors named here and what's inside these covers! :)

The Compulsive Reader said...

Oh yes, despite the cover preferences and drama, we are definitely NOT opposed to selling more books!

Anonymous said...

I was very irked at the change in the Scarlett covers, because I had really liked the hard back of Suite and was looking forward to the one of Fever. The new ones are cute but they simply DON'T match and I'm too poor to buy a book I already own because of the cover.

What really irks me is when we are talking about LONG series, like Princess diaries, I have three different version of covers through out the books and it irks me sometimes

Em said...

I've always heard that a cover change is directly proportional to sales, that if a book undersells in hardcover then the series gets a makeover before next book or paperback version is released. Not sure if that's true or not.

Sarah Woodard said...

The only thing that annoys me, when they change the cover concept midway through the series, because them my hardcovers don't match and it makes me angry...
Anyways great post, Tirzah.

Rebecca Herman said...

AnimeGirl - I agree about The Princess Diaries!

There are a couple of not very popular/well-known series I have where they changed the covers midway and it annoys me so much they don't match...

Alicia said...

I get so annoyed when I start collecting a series, and they change the covers! I want all my books to match, and I'm not made of money!

Terra Elan McVoy said...

What a GREAT post and a TERRIFIC conversation!! I'm glad you like the PURE change--I think it is much friendlier and accessible, too. Thanks for the thoughtful post!

Miriam said...

A really good post! I also dislike most of the covers you disliked, because I just didn't feel they were nesecary. I like the original Carrie Ryan books, and I like the newer book for 'PURE'. The pastel shades are nice. But in the Morganville Vampire Series, they had really cool covers with glow in the dark and almost full body shots. Now they're face and waist-up shots on a black background and look nothing like the characters in my opinion. It also happened in the Private series, where the UK covers are all of faces!

Anonymous said...

I love this post! Anything to do with covers always catches my attention. I have to say that I'm okay with all of the changes except for The Demon's Lexicon. The new ones are kind of hideous. D:

And the changes suck for those that purchased the originals and now won't have the books matching.

BookChic said...

I can't see all the images for some odd reason so I'll comment again later when I'm at home, but I think it's funny that you mentioned the 1800 series since that's getting a makeover yet again as well as a new name, lol. You should do a post showing all those covers, haha.

As for the images I know about, I LOVED the original Dead Tossed Waves cover and thought it was infinitely better than the new one. I had been hoping the ARC would have the old cover but alas. Both original covers were way better than these new ones, which are just ok.

The Scarlett ones make me sad because they were such bright colorful covers and were interesting. Now they're just bland and boring and feature the EXACT SAME DESIGN. It's like they got lazy. If this is going to be a long series, they need to do more than just change colors. I loved the original ones so much better and was surprised to see them change.

With Michelle's, while I did love the original cover and it did fit the story more, I actually really like these new covers. I might buy them with those covers.

OK that's all for now, will be back later, lol.