12 Nov 2012

Discussion: Lets talk about covers baby

Lately I've been thinking about book covers, about their importance to a book and how they can sway our decisions into picking up a book.
I know what you're thinking; it's about what's on the inside, right? The story, the characters, the world, what does it matter what the front looks like, a pretty cover does not a great story make.
But I think we should admit to ourselves now that sometimes the pretty girl in the great dress on the front of a book might be what catches our eye first, if we've never heard of the book, why else would we give it a second glance, if none of our friends have read it, what's going to spark our interest into checking out what the book is about and perhaps purchasing it?
And that's where the cover comes in, personally I think the cover is an important element to a novel, it sets the tone for the story, maybe even gives some abstract or vague clue as to what it's about.
Covers for different genres of books have different elements, giving the potential buyer an idea what kind of book it is so they can decide if they want to check out the back blurb, get the cover wrong and it can become misleading, leaving the reader disappointed, which might possibly put them off that author or publisher in the future.
Then there's the matching set, you know when a book is from a series, we like our set to sit pretty on the shelf with themed covers that match each other, so when it’s displayed proudly on our shelves people will know they go together, though perhaps that's just a book nerd requirement.
This brings me to the biggest pet peeve of a lot of collectors, when the covers get changed! There's been plenty of times when a series I've been collecting but isn't yet finished gets a makeover, and I'm left with the dilemma of whether I should continue collecting the new covers and have an odd set, or should I replace my previous editions with the new ones so once again my set matches, but then what should I do with my old copies, give them away? Try to sell them on ebay? Or keep them and have two copies but then, what exactly do I need two copies for, maybe one for reading and one for best?
Then there's the worst case scenario, the previously released books aren't getting a makeover, I'm doomed to own an uneven set forever, nooooooo!
At first glance a cover might just be a cover, but when you think about it, it can be much more than that, it's a glimpse into the world of the novel it’s representing, it's an eye catching image of a beautiful scene or a mysterious object.
Perhaps it's wrong to judge a book by its cover but it’s certainly something to take into consideration next time you’re choosing what to pick up next.

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