Friday, 20 April 2012

My Abhorrence of: New Book Covers

I really really hate this. Particularly where a series is reissued with new covers and the series hasn't even finished. Okay, I understand that they're doing it to market the books and boost sales; I even accept that sometimes (rarely, I've found) the new covers are nicer than the old ones, but in principle, I just hate it.

Firstly, for a purely selfish reason. Where I own the series, then it'll just mess up my entire shelf if the series is still ongoing and I'd been planning on buying the next books. Yes, I know, I shouldn't judge books by their cover, but I do and I can't help it and new covers are just a pet hate of mine.

Secondly: when they just get it completely, absolutely WRONG. At the moment, a lot of covers of YA novels targeted at teenage girls will feature a girl posing in a pretty dress. Mainly paranormal books, but other genres too. At first it was cool and I came across some awesome covers, but now it's gotten old and lots are not particularly attractive. I admit that if a book has a pretty cover, then I probably won't care too much that it's not 100% related to the content of the book itself, but when the cover is just totally wrong for the timeline in which the book is set - then I get annoyed. [There's a word for when stuff is in the wrong chronological order, but I can't remember what it is. Anyone?]

I had actually planned a post based around this, but it wasn't going to be until quite a while ahead. But I was doing stuff on Shelfari and I saw the new covers for a trilogy of books that I like, and I saw red.

The books are set in a Victorian boarding school in the late nineteenth century and centre around three teenage girls. I wouldn't quite describe them as paranormal, nor fantasy, but they do magic and there's mystery and fantasy-like elements. These are the original covers:

Aren't they awesome? Yes, the models are in what I assume was underwear at the time, but there's a sense of demureness and elegance about the covers because you never see the model's whole profile. It insinuates (to me) that she has a deeply intimate (hence the underwear) secret to hide and the hanging of the head indicates possible shame/embarrassment/a need for secrecy. Clearly, they're fitting with the timeframe in which they're set.

And here's the new covers:

I know my description of the books is rather lacking, but I only really wanted to convey the timeframe in which the books are set. If you haven't read the books, then it might be a little harder to see why these covers are out-of-sync with the books themselves, but I think it's pretty obvious that the models (on the first two covers, at least) do not in any way look like they belong in 1895. The model on the Rebel Angels cover is brazenly holding her head up high as compared to the image of Gemma I have in my head, which is of a perfect, proper lady, at least on the outside. The fact that three different models have been used just annoys the hell out of me. One of the things that I love about the original covers is the consistency in the model, even if it may not be the same girl. Gemma is a redhead, and all three original covers feature redheads. I concede that I don't mind the new cover for The Sweet Far Thing too much because there's a sense of mysteriousness from the way the model is posed and the haziness of the picture, but I just can't get over the fact of how contemporary the books look. There's no way that I would think the books are set in anything but the twenty-first century if I saw the books in a store. I don't own the trilogy, but I would definitely not buy them with the new covers.

Does the reissue of new covers get you particularly riled? Or do the covers of books not really bother you at all?

Original covers courtesy of fantasticfiction
New covers courtesy of bookdepository

1 comment:

  1. Woop, woop.

    Totally agree. Hate it when book covers change, especially when I'm buying them.

    I'm sure I've vented to you about this before. Mercy Thompson series. *shakes head*