The Abomination of Cover Changes

Okay publishers, can we stop with the cover changes already? A series starts out having a stunning cover design…. Next installment, 100% different and considerably less appealing. My desire to purchase your book has just declined. I’m one of those weird people that like my books to match if at all possible. If I have the first in hardcover, I want the rest to be hardcover as well. Same goes for cover design.

Young Adult books seem to be the most frequent cases of drastic cover changes in the middle of a series. Let’s look at a few prime examples….

EXHIBIT A: Rebel of the Sands series by Alwyn Hamilton

The cover for Rebel of the Sands is GORGEOUS, especially in person and I was looking forward to seeing the cover for the sequel, Traitor to the Throne, only to find that they’ve changed the US edition!!! The middle picture is what it would have looked like (and what the lucky UK and Australians get), and on the right we see the new US cover. It’s cool, but lacks the originality and stunning foil-y patterns that it would have had. Call me shallow, but I might not pick up the second one, just because it’s going to look disappointing next to the lovely first book.

EXHIBIT B: The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon

While fairly minimalist in design, I still really liked the covers for The Bone Season and The Mime Order, but yet again, a publisher has decided that a cover change was needed. The middle cover is good, but not great. I do like that Bloomsbury is offering a “Special Edition” (right) that keeps with the designs of the first two books, but if I can’t find one of those I probably won’t buy a physical copy. I’ve got an eARC which may end up being all I have unless this book punches me right in the feels.

Why is it that when covers are overhauled, they actually look worse??? Is there an artist change? Does the author decide that they don’t like the original appearance? Is it an issue of cost vs. sales? Dear publishers, if you’re going to do this can you go the way of Bloomsbury and have a special/collector’s edition? I’m also completely okay with a re-design after the whole series is released, or if it’s a paperback only deal.

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15 thoughts on “The Abomination of Cover Changes

  1. I hear you! And unless it is an indie, it is definitely all on the publishers. I suspect they look at each book as completely separate and don’t take into account those of us who actually BUY the books.
    I’ve ended up buying books from the UK on amazon just to get a complete set of the same style for a trilogy. It really seems to be an American publishers thing. Greedy, power hungry wretches that they are…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is something that just really makes me cross. It’s not difficult to understand that if you’re collecting a series of books you actually want it to be obvious that they’re all part of the same series – what part of that is difficult to understand? Don’t change the covers for book 2 or 3. Why, just why, would you do that? People who are already reading won’t associate the series with the new covers and new people being attracted to the new covers won’t have read the first in series. STOP.
    It’s okay. I’m calm now.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Changing the cover style partway into a series is just silly. Changing the cover of a book during later editions I can at least understand, even if I feel that it always ends up making the cover worse. For things like Sarah Dessen books and popular series (Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls comes to mind), I suspect they keep churning out new cover styles in an attempt to draw in slightly different reader audiences. The masses of people who passed on the book the first time might be drawn in by a cover with a different approach and give it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Monthly Wrap-Up: February | Sea Reads

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