It occurs to me this morning, that all of this – other than covering controversy – could get stale.

So I’m asking you. What would you like to see covered ;-) here? What have I not addressed? What burning questions have you? (about book covers, of course!).

Thanks for your feedback.


16 Responses to “Fresh”

  1. None of it seems stale – it’s all fascinating – but I love to look at different international versions of the same book, with different covers. And cover trends in different countries.

  2. First, I really enjoy your blog; it is the best one I have seen on covers in YA and children’s books.

    Burning question: WHY do publishers use stock photos, and if they do, why don’t they purchase exclusive rights to them? (I saw a reference to “exclusive rights” in a comment on Jacket Whys; I hadn’t heard of this before, but it makes sense.) Is it really prohibitively expensive to shoot new photos? Is the use of stock photos purely budgetary? I read an interview with author Jenny Han in which she described the photo shoot for the cover of her novel The Summer I Turned Pretty, and Bloomsbury said they had a photo shoot for the new cover of Liar. How hard is that to do, in terms of time and money? It seems worth it.

    I would love to read more about cover trends over the decades, and where covers might be going next. Are the photo covers of the 00s going to look as dated as the illustrated covers of the 1980s in 20 years? With the 1980s covers, it’s not just the clothes and hair, but the actual style of illustration that is dated.

    It’s also interesting to take a book that’s been in print for several decades, and see how the covers have changed, or just look at the newest incarnation. At the bookstore the other day I was examining a new headless-girl-photo-cover edition of Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die, for example.

    • Ah yes, I share all these whys and wonders. Thanks for the input.
      I’ve been working (for a long time… ) on formulating some kind of – for lack of a better word – thesis on “covers over time” that I could hang a lot of the stuff I’ve learned about book jackets on. Some day I hope it will all together and add up to more than a blog posting :-)
      On Bloomsbury’s photo shoot – I do wish they chose someone who didn’t look like a model for the shoot – since they were doing it. Our culture has such an irritating obsession with beauty – I mean, will someone READ a book with someone ordinary on the cover? (I would)

  3. I enjoy your blog very much and find it enlightening. I like seeing the similarities in covers, how covers change for various editions and the trends that are emerging in cover illustration. I hope you’ll continue with some version of it.

    • Thanks! I think that I have an endless fascination with the subject and could go on forever. I’m never sure if it’s getting redundant or not and I hope people will tell me when it is!

  4. Found your blog recently, and just love it. I don’t even know enough to ask intelligent questions, so just … keep going!

    And thanks.

  5. I’ve always been interested in book cover design and there are so many paths you could explore. The evolution of covers for books long in print. Historical accuracy on historical fiction. Just commenting on what you see as good design is always eye-opening. Trends you’d like to see. Keep up the great work! Thanks.

  6. No…go on forever, it’s great.

  7. lilyatthelibrary Says:

    Could you please discuss the different ways in which a book cover is chosen, by whom, and what factors are taken into consideration? I only recently started reading your blog (it is wonderfully informative and entertaining, thank you!) so it you have already explained the process, could you direct me to the post? Thank you so much!

  8. All those big questions sound fascinating, but I am happy to just look at the sort of posts where you identify a theme!

    You don’t talk much about spines (as far as I can remember)–is there anything of interest to say about them?

  9. Hey, I like what you’re doing, and what you do. There are so few really good artistically rendered covers; so many people are depending on stock photos. Endpapers — remember those? Are great, but few people take the time to design anything cool, except for fantasy. And that’s a shame. We rarely get to see more than our single edition of a book, definitely not the UK or otherwhere editions, so that’s always fun to see as well. You have a great eye for this type of thing!

  10. Being a school librarian covers are exceedingly important. I recently found this blog and have enjoyed it emmensely. I wish I could sell awesome books will less than fantastic covers but sadly this is not the case. In fact I did a test and did the same booktalk for two different versions of The Rats of Nimh and it proves everytime the pretty book gets more readers. At least the current pretty book. Weeding is a constant reality in school libraries as we just do not have the room so I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up with the good work.

  11. mclicious Says:

    I find pretty much everything fascinating, but maybe some interviews with people as well? Graphic designers, photographers who do book covers, editors who choose them, etc? It would be cool to hear from the people we’re all kvetching about. :-)

  12. Covers are so important and most people know so little about how they are designed that blogs like this are important. Especially for authors who may or may not get any say about their covers.

  13. I agree with mc above, I think it would be great if you could occasionally contact some of the people involved in the cover process to tell their side of the story. I’m a book designer and read this blog religiously, I truly love it. Though I do think a lot of the “jacket whys” could be answered quite easily by the designers themselves, so it may be worth seeking them out.

    As for the stock vs. photo shoot question, a photo shoot is indeed cost prohibitive in many cases, especially for the smaller publishing houses. Often times if a book is considered “big” there is more money for design which is why some have shoots and some don’t, but a big book also means there is very heavy involvement from the sales and marketing departments. This boils down to very specific art direction from a large group of people who are not art directors. It’s not the most creative way to work, but it is an interesting process. Let us not forget the major booksellers also play a huge role in YA covers. Their feedback can make or break a design, and many times there are designs that are approved (and loved) in house that get rejected by major book sellers—you know who I’m talking about—and the jackets have to be redesigned to fit their needs. If they aren’t redesigned to match other books on the shelves, the giant bookstore will often times not stock the book. It’s a challenging process to say the least, but it is fun to read people’s reactions to design.

    Thanks for blogging!!!

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