Archive for the paperback changes Category

Defining Fishers

Posted in book covers, illustration, paperback changes, stock photos on July 25, 2010 by Jacket Whys

Still looking at ’90s covers (more specifically, 1997 covers), I came across this title by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I read this pre-Among the Hidden title, Leaving Fishers, when it was first released. I have no vivid memory of the book, however the original cover (left) fits with my emotional memory of the story of a young woman feeling alienated, swept up by people who seem sympathetic (a cult).
The first cover makes sense, and draws me in. The girl on the cover looks unhappy. You can tell she is feeling like an outsider. The only iffy thing here is audience. This cover seems pitched a little young.
The 1999 paperback cover (middle) … what does it say?

You can tell we’re moving into the photography era here, even though this cover was in the earlier days of all-photography all-the-time. Do you get a sense of the alienation here? Yeah right. She looks like she’s part of the brat pack. The cover is disingenuous and would, I think, draw in kids just to trick them about the content of the book.
The newer cover (2004) is certainly of our era. It says nothing. A girl with her eyes covered… she’s blind? (okay, figuratively – a little). Is there really a clue at all about the book’s content? Should there be?
The thing about illustration is that emotions can be brought into the final work so much more effectively. I think that’s a very difficult thing to do with patching stock photographs together – difficult, but no, not undoable…

Leaving Fishers (Simon & Schuster 1997): After joining her new friends in the religious group called Fishers of Men, Dorry finds herself immersed in a cult from which she must struggle to extricate herself.  Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3.

Zia Over Decades

Posted in book covers, illustration, paperback changes, people of color on July 13, 2010 by Jacket Whys

In my research, I came across this Scott O’Dell title, Zia (Houghton Mifflin 1976).
Cover #1 was the original cover, published in 1976. Cover #2 came out around 1981, cover #3, around 1995, and the 4th cover is upcoming – scheduled for release in January of next year.

Mulling this over… does it tell us anything about the evolution of cover design? The story is based on the true story of Juana Maria – the last surviving member of her tribe, who lived on San Nicolas Island, off the coast of southern California. One might expect her, then, to look like the Natives of that area. Which she does, on the 1976 cover.*
Six years later she looks much more European. The 1995 cover is pretty, but less focused on the character. It’s interesting that the photograph on the upcoming release looks very much like the illustration (by Ted Lewin) on the original edition. She’s lighter skinned, but it’s an amazing match in terms of her features.
An interesting group…

*I do not hold myself up as any kind of authority on any culture, so please take my opinion with a shovelful of salt… or so.

An Exception

Posted in book covers, paperback changes, stock photos on May 3, 2010 by Jacket Whys

On the left, the hardback cover of Prism by Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman (Harper 2009). On the right, the paperback cover to be released in June.  This is another one of those cover changes that make me wish I could have been a fly on the wall of the room this was discussed in… While the overall look from a distance is pretty much the same, let’s look at the changes. The authors’ names shrunk. The title font changed and moved. And there’s this girl’s face looking over the horizon like a rising moon.
What’s strange, is that I prefer the paperback better. I don’t understand why, because I rarely lean toward face covers. Especially partial faces.
Don’t get me wrong –  this won’t make my best of the year list – it’s still too busy for my taste. But I think more readers will be drawn to the paperback. The text change makes a big difference, both the change of font, and the shrinking authors. Maybe the names didn’t draw the teen audience like they might have drawn adult fans.

Prism: California high school students Kaida, Zeke, and Joy fall into a parallel universe in which all resembles their normal lives except that there is no medicine nor health care, which could mean big trouble for Joy, whose arm was injured in the accident that started their troubles. Ages 12+. Review 1, 2, 3.

Hardcover vs. Paperback

Posted in book covers, color, gender interest, paperback changes on April 17, 2010 by Jacket Whys

When I first saw the hardcover jacket for Swim the Fly by Don Calame (2009), I thought it must be a draft. It didn’t have the look of a finished cover – none of the pieces seem to fit together very well. I’ve talked about green before – here’s one of those places where the green just doesn’t work well. One blog review said “If you are a boy, have boys, know boys, or enjoy boys … this book is for you!,” but I don’t imagine this cover was much of a magnet for boys.
But then what do I know? Another blog saysWe love the final look–represents the contents very well and should be eye catching on the bookstore and library shelves for its target audience.” Hmm.
Fortunately, the paperback cover is much better. I like the water & bubbles effect. Colors are good too, orange and red – warm colors – against the cool blue of the water. Far more pleasing to this artist’s eye…

Swim the Fly: Swim team members and best friends Matt, Sean, and Coop, set themselves the summertime goal of seeing a live girl naked, and while the chances of that happening seem very dim, Matt’s personal goal to swim the one-hundred-yard butterfly to impress the new girl on the team seems even less likely to happen. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Recognizable Style: David Frankland

Posted in book covers, book designers, illustration, paperback changes, recognizable style on November 17, 2009 by Jacket Whys

In my last post, I matched covers to a particular artist without knowing for sure it was the same artist. Thanks to Lisa Chellman, who identified the artist in the comments, I have now taken a tour through David Frankland’s work. I want to share some more of it here, because I know you will recognize many of these – and you can have the aha! moment that I had. It’s fun to have these all connected.
The style here is recognizable. But it seems there is enough difference from cover to cover to keep boredom from setting in.

I find the U.S. editions of Paul Bajoria’s series (below right) pretty unattractive. Too bad they didn’t have the British covers (left)…

Frankland has also done covers (UK) for some of Diana Wynne Jones’ books (Charmed Life, The Pinhoe Egg, for example) . They are also very different from the U.S. versions.

A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve (EOS 2007) Hungry City Chronicles: While dealing with people from their past and treachery from unexpected sources, Tom, Hester, and Wren return to save the world.
Double Life by Justin Richards (Putnam 2005) Invisible Detective series: After finding a mysterious stone and an old casebook, fourteen-year-old Arthur finds himself remembering the 1936 adventures of a boy named Art who, under the identity of the Invisible Detective, works with three friends in London to solve the mystery of sinister puppets who are replacing real people.
The Cabinet of Wonders
by Marie Rutkoski (Farrar 2008): Twelve-year-old Petra, accompanied by her magical tin spider, goes to Prague hoping to retrieve the enchanted eyes the Prince of Bohemia took from her father, and is aided in her quest by a Roma boy and his sister.
Highway Cats
by Janet Taylor Lisle (Philomel 2008): A hard-bitten group of mangy highway cats is changed forever after the mysterious arrival of three kittens.
The Animals of Farthing Wood
by Colin Dann (Egmont 2007, c1979 – first published for the adult market?): The animals of Farthing Wood attempt to reach the safety of White Park after a fire breaks out in their woods.
The Whispering Road
by Livi Michael (Putnam 2005): In Victorian England, poverty-stricken, orphaned siblings Joe and Annie escape from the abusive farmer they work for and try to survive in Manchester, with help from a friendly tramp, a mysterious dog-woman, and a renegade printer who supports the rights of the poor.
The Printer’s Devil
by Paul Bajoria (Little Brown 2005): After printing the “Wanted” posters for some of London’s most notorious inhabitants, a printer’s boy is entangled, by a genuine convict, in a series of mistaken identities and events leading back to the boy’s own mysterious past.
The God of Mischief
by Paul Bajoria (Little Brown 2007, c2005): The twins, Mog and Nick have to unearth the secrets of their past to escape the dangers they face in their present life.

Scarlett and the Velour Wallpaper

Posted in book covers, book spines, color, paperback changes on November 11, 2009 by Jacket Whys

I remember thinking “yuck, chicklit” when I first saw the cover of  Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson (Point 2008). Nothing against people who like it, but it doesn’t draw me in unless there’s so much buzz about the book that I need to be in the know.
By now, my readers know that I’m not a big fan of girl (or woman as the case may be) photos on book covers unless it’s done exceptionally well.
I’ve been working on purchasing 2008 books for our extensive YA paperback collection, and found the paperback cover for Suite Scarlett. This, while not too far up in the “wow”-factor scale, is one I might pick up. So what makes it more interesting to me?
Things I like: The wallpaper background gives the impression of an upscale room. The darker red looks like velour, and I can imagine what it feels like. The setting-clue intrigues me.
It has the simplicity of the one centralized object which people tend to like (or at least I surmised that in this post). I agree with my web-designer son, simplicity is everything (almost).
The idea of a city-scape on a key is great. It’s probably been done before, but it’s novel to me. I don’t like the line of keys at the bottom (overkill), but it’s minimal, so it doesn’t take too much away.
Though I haven’t seen the spine, I’m guessing it’s red, so it may stand out on the shelf (if it’s not in a sea of other red books).

2008 - Johnson - Suite Scarlett2008 - Johnson - Suite Scarlett pbk

I love background stories for book covers, and on her blog, Maureen Johnson gives some backstory in response to someone who expressed dislike of the hardcover cover:

MJ, I’m sorry, but that cover is AWFUL. The girl looks like she ducked her head in peroxide and proceeded attempt to put her hair in curls.

Johnson responds:

While people might have varying opinions on the model and pose, a lot of work went into getting the basic facts straight. Scarlett is blonde, has curly hair of exactly the length described, and both that black dress and red lipstick play a part in the story. It may not look exactly as it does in my head, or how it might in yours . . . but it’s RIGHT!

She adds cover commentary:

Obviously, I want a nice cover, but the truth is . . . the cover has very little to do with what’s inside. In fact, it has nothing to do with what’s inside. I get annoyed by some covers too. Honestly, I just take them off. Feel free to replace them with the cover of another book. Or, even better, feel free to make your own!

I agree with her – many covers have absolutely nothing to do with what’s inside. STILL they are probably the absolute BEST advertisement for the book (second only to word-of-mouth buzz?). So that moves them pretty high in the chain of success for a book.
I’m guessing some teens loved the blonde working the hotel desk in her slip. But I’ll put my money on the paperback. I might even read it.

This leads me to one of the posts I’ll be working on. Books with awful covers that, apparently, killed the book’s chances. Books that never made it to paperback (yet).

Suite Scarlett: Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Marvin is stuck in New York City for the summer working at her quirky family’s historic hotel, but her out-of-work actor brother’s attractive new friend and a seasonal guest who offers her an intriguing and challenging writing project improve her outlook. Ages 12+. Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Spot the Difference

Posted in book covers, paperback changes, stock photos on November 1, 2009 by Jacket Whys

Here’s an interesting hardcover-to-paperback switch. At first glance, what do you see? Telescoping, yes… but what else?

2008 - Hearn - Ivy2009 - Hearn - Ivy - pbk

Yeah, somebody didn’t like it that Ivy (by Julie Hearn – Atheneum 2008) was naked. Don’t worry – she’s covered now!

ivyHere’s the UK cover.

Ivy: In mid-nineteenth-century London, young, mistreated, and destitute Ivy, whose main asset is her beautiful red hair, comes to the attention of an aspiring painter of the pre-Raphaelite school of artists who, with the connivance of Ivy’s unsavory family, is determined to make her his model and muse. Ages 12+. Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.