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Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated

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I’m a cover critic! I DO judge a book by its cover. That doesn’t mean a bad cover stops me from reading a book. No way! And, except for #2, all of these CAN be done well. Here are some not-so-good examples.

1. Removing a lovely, evocative, cover for bad black and white photos.

 

When I think of a British public school in the era of World War I and beyond think of I think of be-gowned masters and suited boys and cricket and rugby and rowing and Latin and silly hats and saying “Sir” every third word. I can hear Jerusalem just looking at it (even though it was just being birthed as a song at this time)! But slum boys playing dice (or whatever) ?? An urchin squatting on the ground in an old sweater? Pass the smelling salts, fast!

 

Horrible, what’s been done to this author’s lovely books and their beautiful covers. A car chopped off at the top over soldiers of a by-gone era. Was the artist joking?? The woman posed in front of American law books, with lips like a common tart?? Wt?? Dreadful. Another favorite author of mine, Herman Wouk, has had his books debased by this trend as well.

2. Author branding covers done blandly or badly

 

While this example is a trilogy, others are different stand-alone books done this way, to tie all of the works of one author together. These suck the life right out of the work! No clue what this could be about or why anyone would pick one up. Just awful.

 

Q must create a gadget to fix these dreadful Bond covers! The originals were hideous too, but these are their own circle of hell.

 

These just scream book rack at Wal-mart. What a disservice to such a talented author!

3. Movie or TV tie-in covers

 

Is there a more cringe-inducing way to ruin a book than to slap on a movie or tv-tie in cover? UGH.

4. Vintage-y, throw-back covers

 

These are also pretty much a type of branding given that the biggest Steinbeck titles have been reissued in these covers. There are much worse examples out there, believe me. It’s a hot trend in covers today.

5. Nothing at all like the story

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This cover is an even better example of a terrible title added to a terrible cover. At first glance, you could easily mistake this for an Amish or prairie romance series. Unless you read it,  you’d not know it’s excellence historical fiction based on the life of John Bunyan and the reign of Oliver Cromwell!!  The Preacher’s Bride.

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Who would guess, looking at this mess, that one of the all-time great American novels (yes, it is very racists, yes it is very demeaning –it is a product of it’s time. No I do not endorse the racism or of EVER writing anyone in a dialect that demeaning)??? He gown almost seems Elizabethan from that weird neckline. And it takes a while to realize it IS a woman’s gown.

6. Why bother with design, just throw colors at the canvas

 

 

7. Copycat covers

 

 

 

I dislike the whole trend of copying the cover of a best-seller for another book. This presumes the public is so dumb they’ll buy the “wrong” book.

I’ve done a few posts on  Copy Cat Covers: 

Green Dress Covers

After The Party (book) Copycat Covers

Tigers in Red Weather (book) Copycat Covers

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19 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated

  1. Great examples – I see so many similar book covers and wonder, did I read that? I remember going on Herman Wouk’s website and trying to get a decent image of The Caine Mutiny – there are a few modernized covers of other titles by Wouk that I didn’t like. I like your every color in the rainbow example too!

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  2. Yeah, I’m not always a fan of movie tie in covers either. I have seen a couple that were good, but not many. I am also not a fan of Jojo Moyes’ covers, but at least they’re easy to know they are her books.

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  3. I am not a fan of movie tie-in covers at all. they usually aggravate me lol. And same with taking a nice cover and putting a black and white photo on it- not super fond of that either.

    I do sometimes like a vintage style cover, but it depends on the book, and I like it more if the book is actually set in a vintage feeling era or whatever.

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  4. I just got in a book at work that I think you will dislike the cover of as much as I do – Outspoken by Veronica Rueckert. It’s neon on neon!

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  5. I have had a good laughter with the post. Totally agree with your criticism. I am now interested in The Preacher’s Wife. I did thought it was Amish.

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  6. What a great post! I agree with so many of your posts — I really do dislike the bland branding of authors, such as your example of Pearl Buck and especially the Jojo Moyes books. I have some of the older versions of her novels, with actual design/photo elements, and they’re just so much more evocative. I cannot stand movie/TV tie-ins. No matter how much I love a book, I just will not buy a copy with the actors on the cover. (OK, confession, I do own the TV tie-in for Outlander, but that’s in addition to all my other copies!) I don’t mind the look of the Steinbeck books, but I definitely agree with the color-splash covers!

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  7. I like it when covers are consistent between an author, using your examples of Moyes and Steinbeck. It does seem that creators of covers will go with a theme for a while and then switch to something new when that goes out of vogue. Remember all the Twilight lookalikes? Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  8. Interesting topic change! I actually rather like the vintage paperback feeling of the Jojo Moyes books and I dig most of the colour equivalent of ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ picks but for the mot part I definitely agree with a lot of the other points you made re: designs! It’s so funny how easily we all judge books by their covers–I’m the same way about it not stopping me from reading a book if it has a cover I’m not keen on and I’m glad to see someone else feels the same!

    I’m FOREVER cringing at most movie or television tie-in editions. They’re almost always consistently bad and make no sense. You know what’s the worst? When they have the cast on the cover–and they look nothing like what’s written or don’t even exist in the books. You know what I mean? YIKES.

    (Sorry for babbling!!!)

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