I get that publishers want a new look for a book that has just come out in paperback. I get it. I get all the marketing data that might tell them to re-focus on a different market segment and so on. I get it, I really do.
Yet, I often feel the need to cry foul on the cover switch-ups that take place between the first hardcover editions and the paperbacks. I nearly always note these with sadness - how much the new cover misrepresents, in my view, the contents of the novel. How off the mark it is. Once in awhile, there are vast improvements in the paperback cover, but those moments of delight are rare. On the whole, this re-jiggering gets blundered a lot. Instead of keeping my worries to myself, I thought I'd share them with all of you. Maybe I worry about this more than I should (I am in marketing after all, I should get behind all this change) and maybe I'm nuts. But what do the authors think? The readers?
As my first case study, I offer up Alice Munro's The View from Castle Rock. While searching Powell's this weekend for new titles, I was shocked by the new paperback cover. The original cover and the new paperback cover seem to suggest two entirely different books. One seems serious, the other seems to be chick-lit at the beach. What does this mean? How is an uninitiated reader to choose? Or is that the point? Are the stories contained within serious until the book is in paperback, where they become more frothy affairs? Color me confused. How can one judge a book by its cover if it's ever-changing?
Do you have any book-cover switch-ups that made you mad? Glad? Next up: the fascinating cover switcheroo of This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes.