Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Importance of Covers

A while ago I read a post somewhere, about how important covers are. How important are they really? Do you choose a book due to the cover, or do you go for title/author? Personally, I think a good cover attracts your attention to a book, but I would not buy it unless it was a book that interested me.

The Twilight series and their covers, which I think fits perfectly for these kind of books, has also changed the covers in other books. It seems, like in other areas, to be a trend. One popular book will be followed by covers similar to this book. The other interesting thing with the Twilight series is the interest it has given Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, being the favourite book of Bella. She is identifying herself with Cathy and sees Edward as her Heathcliff. There are several references in the series to Emily's book.

“Hand me that book, will you?” I asked, pointing over his shoulder.
His eyebrows pulled together in confusion, but he gave it to me quickly.
“This again?” he asked.
“I just wanted to find this one part I remembered . . . to see how she said it . . .” I flipped through the book, finding the page I wanted easily. The corner was dog-eared from the many times I’d stopped here. “Cathy’s a monster, but there were a few things she got right,” I muttered. I read the lines quietly, mostly to myself. “’If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.’” I nodded, again to myself. “I know exactly what she means. And I know who I can’t live without.”
Edward took the book from my hands and flipped it across the room – it landed with a light thud on my desk. He wrapped his arms around my waist.
A small smile lit his perfect face, though worry still lined his forehead. “Heathcliff had his moments, too,” he said. He didn’t need the book to get it word perfect. He pulled me closer and whispered in my ear, “’I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!’”
“Yes, I said quietly. “That’s my point.”

What might be surprising - or not? - is that the sale of Wuthering Heights increased due to the Twilight books. In 2005 when the first Twilight books came out Wuthering Heights sold 8.551 copies a year in Britain. Some years later Harper Collins reissued the book with a cover inspired by the Twilight covers and included the tag-line: "Bella and Edward's favourite book". Believe it or not, once it was out it sold 2.634 copies in a week and 34,023 copies that year.
Of course there have been 'wild' discussions on treating a classic like this. Some say Emily Brontë would turn in her grave to see such a cover on her book. Others say, what does it matter if it makes young people read the classics? Maybe in this way not only find their way to this book but to other. Although I must say I don't really like these new covers for this book, but love them for the Twilight books, I can agree that it can be useful if it makes people read the book in the first place. 
The following is from a The Guardian article :
"Controversy over the marketing of books is nothing new, of course. Last year Margaret Drabble complained, "I have had a weird feeling that I'm being dumbed down by my publishers and it's interesting there's an agenda of how it should be in the marketplace." Around the same time, Fay Weldon – author of such books as The Life and Loves of a She Devil, featuring a distinctly un-slender protagonist – expressed her displeasure that her back catalogue was being reissued with misleading chick-lit style covers featuring "little drawings of rather absurd people on pink and blue covers".
There might be an argument that it is the writer's job purely to write, and that it is the marketing department of a publishing house which is responsible for ensuring that the end result sells to the widest possible audience. That doesn't mean the choices for book covers is always right, though, as Australian author Justine Larbalestier found when she successfully tackled her American publishers over the US cover of her novel Liar. The children's book has "a short-haired black girl called Micah" as its central character; Bloomsbury's first go at a cover featured a long-haired white girl. Bloomsbury backed down." 

What do you think about this question? Do you like covers with pictures and paintings on them, real people/photographs, designed covers? Do you have a favourite cover? Please share your views and favourites with us. 
I am looking in my own book case and find that most books by Joanne Harris and Carlos Ruiz Zafon have covers that I love. I just chose three books which I think have wonderful covers and they are:

I think they all say something about the book. I get disappointed sometimes when I realise that the cover does not say anything about the book. The two are one! A cover is very important.


  1. I LOVE covers and agree that they are VERY important. I definitely get pulled in by covers.

    The Girl With The Pearl Earring has an absolutely GORGEOUS cover. Loved the book too.

    I also like Carlos Ruiz Zafon...Shadow of the Wind is fantastic.

    The Thirteenth Tale has a great cover, and the book is a favorite.

    GREAT post, and thanks for stopping by my Book Blogger Hop post earlier, Lisbeth.

    I can't choose a favorite cover, but they do make a big difference between whether I will even consider reading the book. Cover Snob here I guess. :)

    Silver's Reviews
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    1. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is great and so is his covers! I loved the question for the book hop. Of course you can imagine to have dinner with a lot of people. In Sweden there is an early evening program. On certain days they invite a famous person and he/she can choose which to have dinner with (living or dead), how to lay the table and what to treat the guests with. Often there are very interesting choices.