Green Covers

Carol Brendler over at Jacket Knack has a post about green book covers – do they sell? I’d been brewing a similar post, but hadn’t been able to find an article I’d read and wanted to link to, about the use of green in print. So the post sat in my queue collecting examples. Since I don’t have anything much to add to what Carol said, and I still haven’t found that article – I thought I’d just display some of the green covers I’ve collected.

So does green sell? Personally – it’s my favorite color (though perhaps not these particular hues of green). Stink City by Richard W. Jennings (Houghton Mifflin 2006) and Thumbelina, Tiny Runaway Bride by Barbara Ensor (Schwartz & Wade 2008) have not come out in paper (maybe Jennings just has trouble getting released in paper?). Does that mean they didn’t sell? Maybe The Last Mall Rat by Erik E. Esckilsen (Houghton Mifflin 2003) did okay – the paperback has same cover as the hardback.
Frank Peretti‘s Hangman’s Curse (Tommy Nelson 2001) was released again two years later, a movie edition, with a different cover – but retained the overall green. Five years later, however, the green was ditched for blue.


Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume (Knopf 2006) ditched the green for this pastel cartoon cover, and Jumper: Griffin’s Story by Steven Gould (Tor 2007) went to deep blue.

So is the myth really busted? Maybe it’s still up for interpretation.

Stink City: As fifteen-year-old Cade gets involved in animal rights activism in his struggle to atone for the suffering of fish used in his family’s smelly catfish bait business, his neighbor Leigh Ann tries to keep him out of trouble. Ages 10-14. Reviews - few and far between (I couldn’t find any online, somebody should read it and write one!).
Thumbelina, Tiny Runaway Bride: In this expanded version of the Andersen fairy tale, a tiny girl no bigger than a thumb becomes separated from her overprotective mother, has adventures with various animals, and records her feelings in a diary as she gains self-reliance and searches for someone to love. Ages 9-12. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4. Modern Interpretations of Thumbelina List. Book Gallery for Thumbelina.
Last Mall Rat: Too young to get a job at the Onion River Mall, fifteen-year-old Mitch earns money from salesclerks to harass rude shoppers. Ages 12+. Reviews 1.
Hangman’s Curse: When several students at Baker High School are stricken by an alleged curse of the school’s ghost, Elijah and Elisha Springfield and their parents, undercover investigators, are sent to uncover the truth behind the events. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The Movie.
Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades: Cornelia, eleven-years-old and lonely, learns about language and life from an elderly new neighbor who has many stories to share about the fabulous adventures she and her sisters had while traveling around the world. Ages 10-12. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Jumper: Griffin’s Story: Griffin O’Connor, a boy who can teleport, seeks revenge against a group of men that is interested in his ability and is responsible for the deaths of his parents. Ages 14+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Movie Trailer.

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11 Responses to “Green Covers”

  1. Wow! Very thorough! You’ve been way more thorough about your books choices and so on than what I cobbled together last week over at JK.
    I kind of like that Stink City cover — except — it’s the sort of book that you’d set down face down when you’re done reading since you don’t want that Mr.-Yuck-colored kid looking up at you from your nightstand. In my opinion.

    • I agree on Stink City. There’s a case where they may have fiddled around with the green to make it look especially… green (as in gross green).
      It’s interesting, though, that there aren’t any blog reviews out there on the book. Or, none that I could find anyway.
      In most cases, I find your blog to be the more thorough!

  2. OOh, I have Jumper in blue, but haven’t yet read it — now I know I need to get on it.

    Funny – with Cornelia and the Somerset Sisters I thought nothing of the color – the DOG was what got me chuckling. And I remember thinking the cover of Thumbelina was just gorgeous (as was the inside). Hm. I think Myth Busted.

  3. That Thumbelina cover looks so much like the cover for Stargirl!

    • I thought the same thing! I do like that style of cover, though. The little drawings just seem to pull me to their shelf = ).

  4. I have my doubts that the color contols what sells and what doesn’t. I firmly believe that no matter what color is on the cover content is king.

  5. crinklish Says:

    Supposedly, the industry bias against green covers stems from older printing processes, in which green was the hardest hue to print true–so even though your original design might have been colored a rich emerald green, in print it could appear a sickly olive, when it was too late to correct. Although these days, that’s no longer a physical issue, the publishing aversion to green still lingers.

  6. What about the cover for Poison Study by Maria V Snyder? I know all versions of it weren’t green, but the paperback on in my hand right now is a lovely shade of emerald, and it was a NYT bestseller, I believe.

    • That just happens to be one of my favorite books! Do you have the cover with green vines coming down? I think that is my favorite version, and I don’t care if it’s green!

  7. Joe Cepeda Says:

    Just ran across this blog… great suject. I work as an illustrator and perhaps my favorite thing to do is illustrate jackets. I look forward to following.

  8. I think in general monochrome covers don’t do as well. Even if these covers were in blue, I don’t think they would be as appealing.

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