An avid reader calls it as she sees it on books, publishing and the written word in general.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Book Covers

Book covers are not something that I pay much attention to any more. On my ereader they tend to render in boring black and white, something to be skipped along with the acknowledgements and the content pages. Perhaps I would pay more attention if they popped up whenever I closed the book (like they do with a Kindle) but on the other hand, once the ereader goes into its case there is nothing to see anyway.

Then recently I saw this cover for Gold by Chris Cleave and I went – WOW. It stopped me in my tracks.

What a killer cover. I’m not entirely sure why I find it so arresting, but it must have something to do with the bright colours and simple design. I like it because it’s not too literal – the obvious thing for a book called Gold would be to have a gold cover (der) or because it’s about two Olympic cyclists, a picture of a gold medal, bike, or at least something vaguely sporty. Hell, for all that the cover tells you, it could be a non-fiction history of precious metals. Instead, the cover makes you curious, and you pick up the book to find out what it’s about. 

The really funny thing is that this seems to be the Australian cover only – the UK cover is a rather strange-looking picture of two girls in silhouette.

There’s no way I’d be picking up that book. I’d think it was some kind of regency romance (been there, don’t want to go back). So they have this dynamite Australian cover, and someone apparently decided, no, the annoying literal one which is gold and has a picture of the two main characters is a much better option. That’s publishers for you.
So apart for my obsession with Gold (which I haven’t yet read), what’s to take out of this? Perhaps the book cover is not dead. Perhaps we’ve just got bored with them because, frankly, lots of them are just not very interesting. Perhaps in the future we’ll see a renaissance in book covers, especially as colour ereaders become the norm. What do you think?

And for the pleasure of your eyes, I’ll leave you with this link from Readings showcasing the best covers of 2012. Enjoy!

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