I was reading this article from Leaky News the other day, which decries the most recent covers of the "Alanna" series by Tamora Pierce. Basically, the argument is this: Alanna is a kick-@$$, rough-and-tumble, heroine of EPIC proportions, but you would never be able to tell that by the new covers, because they make her look like a boy-crazy girly-girl. This argument is not new. People have been disgusted by this from the moment they first saw the covers, when they opened the box this past summer.
But what you have to understand here, is that I have read this series at LEAST a dozen times, almost every year since I was a kid. I grew up with Alanna. I watched her go from this:
--> to this --> then this --> and this
and finally, heart-breakingly, to this:
You will note, of course, the lack of her beautiful and faithful horse, Moonlight, who is present in ALL of the previous covers, in favour of two simpering, broody boys who are both pining after Alanna. Don't get me wrong, Jonathan and George DO both love her... but that drama only happens for like 20 pages. Honestly. She has a much more interesting relationship with her horse.
And look, I get it. These books get a new print run every couple of years because they really ARE that good, and they really DON'T age as time goes on. I love them just as much now as I did 15 years ago. And the esthetic trends of books are changing faster than most people can keep up with. I mean... When I had to replace my first copies of the books (I had worn them completely out) I was STOKED to upgrade from the third image on that list to the fourth. The last set of releases (before these horrifying new ones) were really, really good.
Especially in YA Lit, where publishers are always looking for the latest and greatest trend, and have to distinguish their books from the myriad of other books just like it, covers are especially important. And despite the age-old adage to "Never judge a book by it's cover", taking one look at a book is enough to tell me whether or not I'm going to pick it up off a shelf. I mean, it's not the ONLY reason I'll read a book, but if I'm just browsing, not looking for something specific, I am DEFINITELY drawn towards the cooler covers.
So here's what I want to know:
Do you have a beloved favourite that you feel was butchered by a new print-run with terrible covers?
What books have you avoided based purely on their appearance?
What books have covers that are totally appealing to you, that you'll pick up regardless of what it's about?
Have you ever taken a book out, or bought one, just because of the cover, and then never read it? Or pretended to just because it looked cool?
What's your favourite book that lived up to it's cover?
What books are awesome and deserve way better covers than the ones they got?
I know that's a lot, but I really want to know! Leave your comments above!
And if you want to see what I'm talking about with this book covers trends thing, check out these lists based on genre:
You'll be shocked to see how similar the covers of books in certain genres are! (My faves are the fantasy covers!)