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.