Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yes, we're back to looking at cover art again

What can I say, the topic fascinates me. I was at the B&N in Champaign last weekend, scanning the new book displays up front, and noticed that some historical novels published in hardcover last year were recently released in trade paperback (or mass market in the case of House of Lanyon), with new cover designs. Some of the changes are slight, but others are completely different. You'll notice that women were added to three of them.

The "before" is on the left, the "after" on the right.

Which do you prefer? Would the paperback covers make you take a second look at these books?


  1. For the most part those don't sway me one way or the other, but in the case of The Chess Machine, while both covers are intriguing (this is my first time seeing both), the trade edition on the right is probably *more* likely to grab my attention on a display. But then, I have a huge weakness for 18th century portraiture, particularly if it's a piece, like this one, that I don't recognize. The silhouettes are very interesting though. If I encountered that cover in a shop I'd probably at least pick it up to find out what it was about, though the likelihood of me actually buying it would be lower (I admit to being one of those people who is suckered in by pretty covers :p).

    Now then, with all this talk of covers you've managed peak my curiosity about this book...I've got some hunting to do--

  2. The books with the butterflies are absolutely gorgeous.

  3. I love most of the trade covers better and am thrilled to know I can look for another title by Valerie Anand. Don't know how I missed the HB edition!

  4. I generally prefer the trade covers, with the exception of House of Lanyon and maybe Zugzwang. (Tess, there's a sequel out now too, House of Allerbrook.)

    Although I don't know the name of the painting on the pb edition of The Chess Machine, it's made a previous appearance on the British edition of Arthur Japin's In Lucia's Eyes.

    I much prefer the paperback of Butterflies (I own the hardcover, though the art never grabbed me). My husband thinks there's something Silence-of-the-Lambs about it, though.

  5. I notice that many of the changes went from covers without a person on them, to covers with a person on them. It's a change I may ask my own publishing house to make for my second book. People tend to be attracted to images of other people.

    Like Amy, I love the cover with the butterflies!

  6. I prefer the original Witch's Trinity, Air We Breathe, and Sound of Butterflies covers. In the other cases, I think the paperback covers were more eye-catching.

  7. Anonymous11:50 PM

    Most, for me, are about equally attractive in either version. But the original cover for The Chess Machine turns me off, whereas the trade edition cover would make me more inclined to read it.

    The original Soul Catcher cover is gorgeous, and if it were a piece of art I was considering hanging in my home, I'd be much more likely to choose that over the trade edition cover. But the trade edition cover suggests the content of the book in a way that makes me curious to open the cover and read it.

  8. Generally I like the trade covers better than the hard cover editions. The Soul Catcher hard cover is stunning, true, but somewhat generic. It doesn't raise any questions. I think the trade cover is more intriguing.


  9. I far prefer the original Chess Machine--such a unique design with the gears. But I think you all are right, that covers with people on them are more eye-catching. I think of the cover of Year of Wonders with that amazing woman's face. And Susan, that's interesting you prefer the original Witch's Trinity; I'm a big fan of the paperback change!

  10. I love Erika's new trade cover - it's eerie and haunting, and the colors are so vivid. I like the Chess Machine's trade cover better, too. This is very interesting to look at, as Ballantine is re-doing the cover for The Last Queen for the trade.

  11. In every case, I prefer the trade covers.

  12. In every case except the first, I prefer the first cover to the second. I'm not generally drawn to covers with people on them - must be some deep psychological flaw!

  13. It's interesting to see how covers change. I wonder how often a publisher will drastically change a cover in the hopes of better sales? It sounds silly, but I hate it when I get a hardcover and then later will like the paper illustration better! :) I love the Barrett book in cloth by the way!

  14. Anonymous5:59 PM

    In most cases I'd choose the trade paperback. I'd combine elements of the two covers for The House of Lanyan. I'd keep the house, make it smaller and add the woman.

    I prefer the original butterfly in The Sound of Butterflies.

    Interesting subject, covers!

  15. Danielle, I know exactly what you mean! I like the Chess Machine cover from an artistic point of view, but it doesn't make me want to buy the book. (Which is about the creation of a mechanical chess-playing machine in 18th century Austria, and the secret behind how it works.) The trade pb cover makes me reconsider that decision.

    I love the new Witch's Trinity cover. Perfect for Halloween, too! I also recall that when the ARC passed through my hands, briefly, it had a different cover entirely.

  16. Mostly I prefer the second covers, with the exceptions of House of Lanyon, Sound of Butterflies, and The Chess Machine, where I think the first covers are more striking.

  17. Congratulations for receiving the Outstanding Historical Fiction Blog Peer Award for HISTORICAL BOYS!

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    "Blogger, Award Thyself!"
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  18. I would love if you would display my cover sometime for "An Involuntary King". I am inordinately proud of the shield on it having done that part of the art because the graphic designer could not find an image of a Saxon shield.


    Nan Hawthorne

  19. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Most of the paperback covers are an improvement in my opinion. I am partial to pretty books, so a nicer cover would entice me to buy the book.

  20. I love this type of post! I actually think I like the new covers better for the first three books, the next three I like both covers just as well and the last two I like the original covers better (which means that I don't actually like the ones with the new female figures better).

    I've done a series of posts on similar covers here.

  21. There are an awful lot of books with hanging dresses on them!

    I've seen a couple of other pb releases of historicals with female figures added, and will try to post about them in the next day or so.