Welcome to Cover Chic, where we take a look at what publishers are doing with their cover art to grab our interest.
You may have noticed that the United States and the United Kingdom often have different cover art for the same books. This doesn’t make sense to me, because if one design was used for the book worldwide — or at least just the English-language markets — it would make international branding and recognition much easier.
And publishers agree in some cases. The covers for Marie Lu’s Legend and Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You are two examples of art with broad appeal, which not only will you find in both the US and UK but also foreign-language editions.
In general, how do publishers decide when to use the same cover and when to go alone? I don’t have the answers, but check out these nine books — each with two different covers. Let’s see what works and what doesn’t between the two, and what gets my vote.
Kelley Armstrong’s upcoming Otherworld Chills anthology has a forest theme in both territories. The UK colors it light blue, and while I love the purple fog in the US, I generally prefer covers without characters.
Because of the title, both versions of Keri Arthur’s City of Light feature a city and light, though in the US the character is probably supposed to be the focus. I prefer the lighted city of the US, but I love the UK’s title treatment.
Roses were always going to be part of the covers for Amy Ewing’s The White Rose. The US incorporates the flower into a dress, while the UK uses petals…which strangely (due to the title) aren’t white. That may be due to the fire, representing danger, and I like the ready-for-action pose of the characters.
Notice the stylized A and O on Francesca Haig’s The Map of Bones, which signals the Alpha and Omega themes in the series. The UK version shows the titular map, but the US wins with its fiery bird.
With the Charley Davidson series, the US covers use paranormal symbols and the UK uses a character. Both versions of The Curse of Tenth Grave are a bit uninspiring, but the win goes to the US’s skull-and-bones wineglass charms.
Normally I don’t go for covers with people, but the US edition of Laura Lam’s False Hearts is the exception. It’s kind of inaccurate as it depicts the characters as joined at the head, when in the text they share a heart. But it stands out from other covers, especially in comparison to the UK’s fingerprinted heart which represents themes of identity.
North American friends, consider yourself fortunate. The US cover of Katharine McGee’s The Thousandth Floor is stunning with its black, gold, and silver building-and-sky artwork. The UK just has a character looking out over a city — hard to get excited about that.
I equally appreciate both covers of Danielle Rollins’s Burning. The smoke coming out of a prison cell in the US, and a character flaming up in the UK.
Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock has a tree theme in each territory, but the US’s is photographic while the UK’s is more stylized. Win to the US.
After checking out the covers, I’m still not sure what they say about each target market.
What are your cover preferences? Do non-English-language countries have better covers? Share your thoughts and favorites.