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why do most editions of popular books have terrible covers (also post your favorites)

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Salsa

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Maybe its most spanish editions (wich are the ones I come across), but im really tired of seeing covers that are basically the name of the author in a ridiculously big font followed by the title on a bit smaller one, leaving about one third of the whole thing for an actual ilustration

examples:





I mean I get it, authors basically become industries and marketers assume people will end up buying anything with their name in the cover, the sooner they see it the better, but at the same time I feel like the reading audience would get another treatment.. right? not trying to get all fancy about books, but given the time investment and possibly different crowd when compared to other types of media, you'd think a nice looking ilustration/cover would actually catch your eye or at least give you a more interesting idea of what the book is about. If I didnt knew who these people were I wouldnt give two looks at these books. The covers say nothing (oh shit im judging a book by its cover).

to make the thread more interesting, be inclined to post your favorite book covers that prove this trend wrong
 
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Having actors from the adaptations on the cover is usually a bad thing, but there are exceptions, this cover for Shogun is totally rad.
 

Rodney McKay

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Jun 13, 2009
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I just saw what I assume is a recent update to the orignal Dune. It looked fucking hideous compared to the old one.

The old one was a nice mostly black cover with a white stipe with the name of the book and a vertical rectangle of a photo of a desert. Looks great.
The new was was just a rainbow explosion of color made up of mostly reds and oranges. Awful.
 

Reuenthal

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May 6, 2011
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This is one of the book covers of the book I, Robot. Yeah it a negative example rather than an example of a favorite.

 

jtb

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Jun 20, 2009
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Books that were later adapted into movies have the worst covers. Almost always awful.
 

Kinyou

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Sep 12, 2009
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Yeah, don't like when the author's name is bigger than the book's title



Oh look, it's Paul Auster written by Oracle Nig-

wait a minute...
 

Bodacious

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I just saw what I assume is a recent update to the orignal Dune. It looked fucking hideous compared to the old one.

The old one was a nice mostly black cover with a white stipe with the name of the book and a vertical rectangle of a photo of a desert. Looks great.
The new was was just a rainbow explosion of color made up of mostly reds and oranges. Awful.

When I read Dune (around 1980) this was the cover on the edition I had:




A long time ago I read a pretty cool novel by Tim Powers called "The Anubis Gates." This was the cover, which I really liked. Whenever I came back to read more, the cover pic gave me a proper vibe for the story, before I even started reading again.



Compare to this atrocity:

 

Grenouille

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Mar 15, 2012
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Part of the fun of going to a book store is just looking at the amazing book covers.











Vintage series has some nice ones:

And a (rare) example of a good movie poster used as a book cover:



(It looks better live because of the texture.)
 

Freshmaker

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This book cover always bugged me mainly because it gets every detail about the characters wrong while also being awful looking.
 

Axiology

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"OH SHIT, IT'S JASON BOURNE BY ROBERT-FUCKING-LUDLUM. Wait... The Janus Repisal? What the fuck is that? Written by Jamie Freveletti? So what exactly did Ludlum have to do with this...? A covert-one novel?"

The worst shit.
 

White Man

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Jun 9, 2004
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The Oprah Book Club badge was far worse than a movie cover.

The WoT book covers have always puzzled me. The few fans I've spoken to seem to like em.
 

Quick

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Apr 23, 2011
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The Harry Potter UK covers are nice, Order of the Phoenix blows because of the lack of any of the characters, and it doesn't match up with the content of the book.


The US covers are nice, too. I also very much enjoy the chapter art.



Not a fan of the "adult" covers. Order of the Phoenix being, once again, the worst of the set. Makes me think that the golden Phoenix is a zord.



The Doctor Who books have mostly had bad covers:


Angels and Demons has a great first edition cover:



...with this being the worst re-release cover:

 

B.K.

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Jun 8, 2004
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This is one of the book covers of the book I, Robot. Yeah it a negative example rather than an example of a favorite.


The worst part is that the movie has NOTHING to do with the book. Will Smith's character doesn't exist in the book and none of the stories in the book are even close to the movie.
 

White Man

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I tried to read this thing like 4 times, but I always ended up just gazing at the cover at the end of my first session. Not in the good way--the abyss did indeed stare back eventually.
 

SmZA

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Jan 6, 2009
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We were assigned this book in high school. Our teacher had to beg and plead the class to read it despite the cover:



I had already read it a couple of years before; great book. My copy looked like this:

 

Lissar

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This was one of my favorite book covers as a child (I still have the book though it's falling to pieces.)


But then they made new versions and this happened:




Also, totally awesome UK cover:



In comparison to:



I wouldn't even think that cover was particularly notable if I didn't have the UK versions.
 

Nezumi

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I really love the newer Discworld Covers.







It is so frustrating that the German versions of a lot of those covers look like utter shit. I mean take a look at the last one. Vimes looks like a total badass here and the cover captures the action of the corresponding scene in the book perfectly...

Now here is what the German versions looks like...



Vimes looks as if he has either no idea what he is doing or like he is about to cry. There is no dynamic and the goblin at the top looks like something out of a bad children's show.
 

golem

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Fantasy novels are hit especially bad with this it seems, which sucks because there are a ton of great illustrators out there that would do a great job. Just take a gander at ConceptArt.

Probably just the people at TOR and other publishers being cheap asses.
 

way more

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To the Op. You have described only mass market paperbacks. Books that never have a hard-back because they are intended to be sold in airports, 7-11's and grocery stores. The other option are Trade Books. Books that have different type, pages, and size.


Trade books are diverse. Mass are all the same. You are reading too many mass books.
 

Lissar

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Fantasy novels are hit especially bad with this it seems, which sucks because there are a ton of great illustrators out there that would do a great job. Just take a gander at ConceptArt.

Probably just the people at TOR and other publishers being cheap asses.

There are a lot of older fantasy covers that I like (back when illustrations were more common. Now clip-art seems to rule the day.) But a quick look through the Amazon fantasy section shows that the majority of covers are terrible. Which is sad, because great covers can be good marketing. They say that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but a good cover can certainly make me look twice.

I bought this book based on the cover alone:



And while I enjoyed the book, when they changed the marketing strategy for the second book and came out with this:



I was a little stunned. It's amazing how much a cover can completely change your perception of the book.

And while I don't read urban fantasy, this is a good example of marketing making generally terrible covers but at least making it easier for their target audience to identify the genre they're looking for (though seeing them at the bookstore offends all of my artistic sensibilities.)
 

bomma_man

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Sep 24, 2011
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To the Op. You have described only mass market paperbacks. Books that never have a hard-back because they are intended to be sold in airports, 7-11's and grocery stores. The other option are Trade Books. Books that have different type, pages, and size.


Trade books are diverse. Mass are all the same. You are reading too many mass books.

,
 
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