A lot of people get confused when faced with a book that has two covers. Is the inside different? Is this the same book? The confusion only deepens on those rare occasions when the title changes. However, gentle readers and moviegoers, this is simply a cover change up.
Any time a book is transformed into a movie or television show, the publishers re-release the book with a brand new cover that represents the movie/TV show. The new cover makes it much easier for people to find the book once they’ve seen the story on the screen. Want to read The Hobbit? Great — there’s Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins right on the cover. Movie covers are an interesting source of discussion for many people. Just as there are those who argue if the movie or book was better, there are plenty of readers who will debate which cover is better (discuss all you want — 9 out of 10 times the original covers are better). Once the hype for the movie or TV show is over, covers tend to revert back to their natural state…at least, most of the time.
Warm Bodies — The Original Format
If you haven’t yet read this book, I highly recommend it. That aside, Warm Bodies is a great example of a publisher releasing the main book, coming out with a movie cover, and then letting the movie cover lapse in favor for the original once more. The movie cover is also a classic example of putting the main character(s) on the front so people immediately see them and recognize they’re looking at the book that inspired the movie. The good thing is that while the first cover excels in its design, the movie cover isn’t too shabby either.
Jurassic Park — The Blending
Jurassic Park has been around for a very long time. Originally published in 1990, my only guess at the first cover is that the publishers were aiming for a sort of Frankenstein-esque design, what with the lightning over the island and all. But once the movie came out, the book adopted the now-iconic Jurassic Park logo. I would also admit that this is one of the few times that the new cover is better than the original. Since then, the cover has been redesigned and done a sort of merge — it kept the skeletal T-Rex, but zoomed in over a plain white cover and bold red lettering. Pretty good looking.
Arrival — The Title Correction
There are cases in which the movie has a completely different title than the book. In this case, Arrival actually comes from a short story within Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others. The short story itself is titled “Stories of Your Life.” Because of the movie, the book now goes by Arrival, though I’m sure a lot of people will be surprised to learn they’re getting more than one story within the book, which prominently features the black heptapod craft. Though the movie cover is enticing, because of the actual content, it’s kind of misleading.
The Hunger Games — The Adjustment
It took me a while to remember what the actual movie cover for The Hunger Games was, and when I saw it I knew why. The movie version of The Hunger Games really isn’t much different from the original. It features the same mockingjay symbol, only much bigger and with a lot more fire.
However, when the second movie came out, they decided to switch things up with Catching Fire’s movie cover by putting Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) front and center. Like Warm Bodies and Game of Thrones, this is what you see the most in movie covers. Maybe the publishers decided putting Jennifer on there was a better bet.
Game of Thrones — The Constant Evolution
Here we have six covers to take a look at. The first is the original release of the first novel in 1996. Eventually it came out in a revamped version that skipped the stereotypical fantasy style. The more ambiguous design (and even this one is an older version of what you’ll currently find) gained increased readership and before long, HBO had themselves a show. Enter Ned Stark (Sean Bean) sitting on the Iron Throne.
So what’s up with the last two? This is probably the most annoying version of the movie cover redo. In this case, every time a new season of Game of Thrones was released, the publisher came out with a new cover to represent the season — despite the fact that it was still representing the first book in the series. As usual, the show covers were never as good as the originals — yes, even that 90’s cover is better than those creepy faces on the sixth season version. The problem? When you have so many different covers for the same book floating around a bookstore, it only serves to confuse people who just want to start at the beginning. Heck, even I get confused sometimes as to which cover is supposed to be for which book.
The Maze Runner — The Exclusive
James Dashner’s book did something interesting when the movie covers were released. Two movie covers appeared — but only one of them was available at all bookstores. The Maze Runner‘s movie cover featured the massive, vine-covered Maze in the Glade. However, Barnes & Noble was able to obtain an exclusive movie cover that you could only find in their stores, and this one featured an opposite look — the Maze looking out at the boys with Thomas front and center. While not really necessary and certainly not something you often see, I imagine it’s a fun addition to people who collect all the covers.
As books continue to be made into movies and television shows, you can count on a book’s cover transforming at some point. Usually you can still get the original cover, and the price doesn’t change. So pick your favorite and happy reading!