Friday, November 5, 2010

Bookish Pet Peeve #4: Better Covers

I don't know why but my reading has slowed down considerably over the last couple of weeks.  It might be that fall television and the NBA season have started (go Lakers!).  Or it could be that I still don't have a fully-functioning laptop which means that I'm on the iPhone and the iPad quite a bit and we all know how you get sucked into repetitive games on devices!  So, in lieu of a review, you get another one of my random bookish pet peeves -- when the artwork on a paperback or a hardcover is significantly better than the other option for that book.

The possible problems as I see them are these:

1. You buy the hardcover of a much-anticipated book only to see a wonderful cover on the paperback the next year.  This always causes a bit of grumbling because you already spent the big bucks on one that is now less appealing.

A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries)A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries)

A Beautiful Blue Death in hardcover and paperback

2. You wait for the paperback of a lesser anticipated book only to find that it has a less appealing cover.  Then you go looking for the hardcover which caught your attention in the first place and it's already hard to find.

Ground Beneath Her FeetThe Ground Beneath Her Feet: A Novel

The Ground Beneath Her Feet hardcover (iridescent!) and paperback

3. You buy the paperback not knowing there is a better looking hardcover still available out there.  Of course, you see that cover about a week later and on the discount shelf.

Stone's Fall: A NovelStone's Fall: A Novel

Stone's Fall hardcover and paperback

A buying dilemma certainly arises when both covers are equally awesome.  And of course we also run into the issues with better international covers, right?

Do you have a book in mind that had a much better cover in one version or the other?  Have you ever bought a second copy of a book just for the cover?  Don't you wish that books would just have the same cover on both versions (like The Little Stranger does)?

Judging books by their covers (to the detriment of my pocketbook),


  1. I could not agree with you more Kristen. I am big into cover art, and that too, is annoying to me. (Hope your lap top gets fixed soon, and yes games on devices do take away from my reading as well...LOL)

  2. Although I love beautiful covers, I usually end up buying the cheapest version for economical reasons. But sometimes, if it's a book I love and want to keep, I buy the cover I like the most (and if it's a series, I like the covers to match). I don't usually get a second copy with another cover if I already own the book, but I did it with Inkheart. I originally bought the movie cover version, but a while later I discovered the gift edition and decided it was so pretty I had to get the whole trilogy in those editions. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it. :)

  3. I am always on a quest for the Best Possible Copy of any given book. I found an amazing, sexy, non-HBO-tie-in edition of Angels in America at a book sale recently (a box set!), but they were all written in and highlighted. Now my heart is set on having it, even though I already have a copy of the play. And you are so right about The Ground Beneath Her Feet. I have the paperback. :/

  4. I've been known to not buy a book because I didn't like the cover, but that really is rare - and when books are on the shelf, you can't see the cover artwork anyway. The one kind of cover I'm not fond of buying, and will usually try to avoid if possible, is the one that's based on the movie or TV series of the book, which just has a photo of the lead actor/actress.

    My reading rate has slowed right down too - partly because I'm concentrating on Anna Karenina and don't want to read any other books until I've finished it, and partly because I've been ill this past week, so have been in bed by 9pm most nights, and sometimes haven't the energy to concentrate on reading anything in the evenings. Gone are the days when a friend could tell me that I ought to change my surname to Reid.

  5. It does kind of bother me ... and I hate when they change the cover from hardcover to paperback. It feels like a different book.

    For Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, I was adamant that I wanted the one WITHOUT the Oprah Book Club pick. It just bothered me ... and I think it is such a pretty looking cover.

  6. Diane - I know that I don't see the covers of my books very often but when I do I want to love them!

    Hilde - Yes, it's hard to be picky on a budget. I love gift editions except when I already own part of the series separately!

    Jenny - I luckily have the hardcover and love to even see the spine on the shelf.

    Tracy - Yes, I don't think I have many movie tie-in covers. I don't like them either. I hope you're feeling better by now!

    Jenners - Some of them are drastically different too, aren't they? It's weird when you would choose to read it under one cover but then are turned off by the other.

  7. Thanks Kristen - I'm currently dosed up on antibiotics, so should be back to my usual self before too long.

  8. It's difficult isn't it. And when you've finish deciding paperback or hardback then there's the US v UK covers to be taken into account!

  9. And then there's falling victim to the sudden, irrational, but unstoppable need to own all the covers. US, UK editions (and it's possible that my particular addiction had 2 UK versions for every title, but we won't go in to that and make it even more obvious that I'm referring to a childrens' book), deluxe boxed editions, for when I just have to know what the cover illustrator had in mind for the spine of the book, had it not been covered with text...I need help.

  10. Tracy - Ooh, bad enough for meds. Icky!

    Jux - Sometimes I feel like it's impossible to choose!

    Sarah - True that I didn't even mention what to do if they're all different but good! Book lovers have it rough sometimes. :)

  11. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed again now, thanks!

  12. I completely agree with you on this one! I do tend to judge books by the cover and I will be the first to admit that I have multiple copies of my favorite books with different cover art! For example, I have two different copies of Wicked because I love the original cover art, but the musical cover art is awesome too. How could I choose just one?!?

    Then I had a copy of another of my favorite books, lent it to my BIL and then never got it back (he ruined it). He decided to buy me another copy but with different cover art. NOT the art I wanted! Needless to say, he's not allowed to borrow my books anymore!! :)