The Cover Wars: Then and Now


I thought it would be interesting to compare cover changes and see what my colleagues think of the new versions of the same cover. Let’s see if we can come up with reasons they may have changed the way a series looks. Note to readers: we usually do not read the synopsis and totally judge the book by its cover in this segment. We may not do this in real life but we are all very unabashedly shallow here.

Original vs. New Cover

Janet: Well… I wouldn’t read either one. I’d look at the old one and sneer, and look at the new, glance carelessly at the back, and still not read it. Sorry – too popteen for me.

Steph: They look kinda the same only there is a wolf in the new one. Maybe they are trying to capitalize on the vampire werewolf trend? Anyway, I agree with Janet, I wouldn’t read either of them, they are pretty meh.

Yash: They look pretty similar except that I do feel like the inclusion of the wolf makes more sense, so I like the new one better. I haven’t read all that many werewolf novels and I generally like them. Still, I wish the implication of the blurb was less to do with romance and more to do with her actually being the boss. I’d like to see that. Maybe that’s what happens. I think I just made myself like this book- off to look up spoilers and reviews!

Nafiza: I hate the second one so very much. I was sent the first book as a finished copy and people, it is so beautiful. The colours, the whimsy, the cover is a better work of art than its successor. What I liked about the first one was that it took a chance and did something different. The second one is generic and doesn’t have anything to set it apart. I wouldn’t pick up the second one but I’d definitely read the back of the first one.

Original vs. New Cover

Janet: Not crazy about either, but I’ve heard much in favour of this book. The starry blend of city and sky on the original cover is pretty.

Steph: The original of course! It’s so beautiful and cryptic and interesting! It’s so different! The new cover is very generic with the misty purple and silhouettes, the attempt at dating the cover to attract interest does not work on me.

Yash: The original is gorgeous! I love the positioning of the title, the type, and I am completely crazy about the purple cityscape. Just all round awesome. The newer one has everyone spaced all awkwardly and the people in front of the cityscape just don’t work for me. The original is so good that my eyes just won’t stray away from it!

Nafiza: You guys have said it all.

Original vs. New Cover

Janet: Definitely the original cover. The font is charming. The girl looks a bit unsteady on those heels, which conveys helplessness, but the new cover is revoltingly “I am a cool YA novel.” Plus the lighting and placement of the girl on the new cover makes her main feature not her expression or active movement but her breasts. Hm. Objectification much?

Steph: I’m with Janet. The original is much more interesting and intriguing though it is a little cliché as a silhouette. The new one is entirely cliché, checking off all those YA romance boxes (hot girl in the shadows, breasts, crows, weirdly sexy font). I can see that the old cover is a little more childish than the new one, they are clearly trying to attract an older, ‘less naive’, reading audience and while it’s a detraction for me I’m not sure that it wouldn’t work on a 14 year old.

Yash: Yes, I agree with my fellow book warriors. They seem to be going for a different age group with the second cover. I do like the first one better. I like that the girl is caught mid-action of either leaving or entering some place (or phase). I kind of made it a point to order that one from Kidsbooks and I just got an email that it’s here and I can’t wait to go pick it up and coo over it and read it and probably snuggle with it. *ahem* I mean, what?

Nafiza: I like the first one much better. In fact, I want to own it. But it makes me sad because the subsequent covers will not match and I hate it when my covers don’t match.

Original vs. New Cover

Janet: Yuck. To both of them. The original cover is slightly more interesting, because the girl has blonde hair but her features don’t look entirely caucasian. But still – no way. It’d have to come very highly recommended for me to consider reading.

Steph: hmm I have seen the old cover in stores and have not picked it up because, well, another pretty blonde face on a cover is nothing special. So, I have to say that the second one is a little more intriguing, I like the sense of place I get right away, I can also assume this will be a little bit like robots/some sort of humanity experiment+lord of the flies (which is a little intriguing if not overly overly done). I like that they have two characters, the male makes the cover, and the female isn’t the only thing that the book is about… it is also the island! Hurrah! I like landscapes!

Yash: Neither cover really appeals to me, but if I had to pick one I would go with the first one, I think. But then I’d probably put it back on the shelf.

Nafiza: I own the first one and it’s so beautiful in real life. I patted it lovingly. I know the cover seems generic and manufactured but that’s why it’s so clever. It’s about a clone who is freshly made and the cover reflects that.

Original vs. New Cover

Janet: Again, really not appealing, either one. (I feel like I’m the mean one here, the one who speaks bluntly and not at all tactfully. “If you can’t say anything nice…” Maybe I just shouldn’t speak? My high school principal used to say that “silence is consent” – he was talking about bystanders tacitly encouraging bullying by not speaking against it, but it applies to other kinds of ugliness too. If nobody speaks up about awful covers, we’re not going to see anything better.)

Steph: These are totally different, how interesting.This is sort of the same situation as Libba Bray’s The Diviners only, because I don’t know the story I’m not sure which one is the most representative. I think I like the second because I’m not a big fan of the romance kissy-face thing being front and central. The second one makes it look like a time travel book – so I’d be down for that. ^_^

Yash: I kinda like both, you guys! I mean, I might not read it … well, unless it has to do with The Beatles … but I do like the covers. The first one, if it had just one face melding into the stars, I’d probably even read the first page. The second looks a bit like the middle of a science fiction movie- which is also not a bad thing! I would definitely read the backs for either.

Nafiza: The first one is prettier and appeals to my eyes more than the second one. Plus since the book is set in space, it seems more fitting than the second one where I am side-eyeing the girl’s clothes.

Original vs. New Cover

Janet: The new cover draws attention to her body, rather than to her perseverance. I’m not crazy about either, but much as I like the colourscape in the new, I’d go with the original, which conveys the arid, dusty landscape (and the struggle to survive) much more clearly than the new.

Steph: I own the new cover, because it was in the book store. I don’t mind it, they haven’t broken her body up and it really is her against the terrain for much of the book, and then her body hardening into something resembling the harshness of the terrain. Haha, I like this book and may post on it later this month. The new cover clearly depicts the landscape (*landscape dance*). Still, I like the old cover better for much the same reason only the fact that she isn’t central is more fascinating. She is trodding off on the side there, leaving the shrouded landscape to take up much of the cover space. I think this is also a little representative of her mental state throughout the book, she is discovering herself on this journey, who she is is not central, but who she becomes is and I like this angle better. ^_^

Yash: While Steph makes a compelling point, I was admittedly drawn more to the original when I first glanced at the two. I like the bold title in the first, and I don’t like the addition of “Dust Lands” on the second. I like how small the character is in contrast to the title and the surroundings in the original. It looks like a real struggle and it actually makes me wonder how this will end. The new cover, well, looking at it makes me feel like it might be a predictable ending. (Again, that’s a first impression and probably not true at all. I am bad at predicting how books end. Really.)

Nafiza: The first one all the way though I don’t really mind the second one. I would say more clever stuff but it’s late and my back hurts so let’s just say that though I like the first one, I own the second one. Or the second one which is in the same vein as the new cover. Yeah.