Soapbox: Judging book covers

Waxing on and off about people messing with his booky wooks, Michael O’Sullivan has a bone to pick with publishers

We all know book publishers exist for a reason, and that reason is the accumulation of money for make better glorious wallet of CEO, but for a market that is becoming increasingly more niche, it should be the prerogative of publishing companies to produce a product that is enticing and alluring to their consumer base.

Why then, do publishing companies insist on changing the design on the covers of certain books mid-series? Take Artemis Fowl for an example. A series now on its third iteration.

After the publication of book four, Viking Press decided the book needed a newer fresher look, and so ruined the original cover art by replacing it with silhouettes of the titular character with the odd fairy/goblin/monster truck in the background.

Now perhaps a suit with a marketing degree convinced the publishers that such a shift would be a good idea, however, avid readers across the globe were united in horror.

How on earth would book collectors everywhere be able to stack their books now? The clear shift in design ruins the symmetry of an entire bookshelf, simply by making it look like the collector in question cares not for the book itself, but only for its contents.

Such is the folly of book publishers everywhere, they seem completely oblivious to the fact that the cover art is as much a part of the book as the book itself. Case in point: Harry Potter.

Shortly before the last film hit cinemas worldwide, the books underwent a redesign, sporting a new minimalist cover with sparing illustrations. What happened to the glorious dragon of the Goblet of Fire, the flames of the Order of the Phoenix?

Book enthusiasts everywhere collapsed into inconsolable sorrow as their favourite manuscripts were slapped in between two sheets of cardboard that held no relevance to them.

As book enthusiasts ourselves, Otwo were inconsolable after Artemis Fowl was altered for the third time. What could the publishers possibly have done to induce such a response? They went and decided what the books really needed was a white cover with nothing other than a cartoon head emblazoned upon it.

Such a universal ‘What the hell’ response has never been exhibited upon the unveiling of any other product ever; a fact that still holds true even after the recent reveal of a bobble head featuring Miley Cyrus’ rear as the major gyrating component.

So we get on our knees to beg. We can no longer handle this constant switching of style and shape. Otwo very nearly died of fright when the long awaited final book in Anthony Horowitz’s Power of Five series hit shelves with a complete redesign to go along with some smartphone gimmick.

Our hearts can’t take anymore. Our souls are damaged beyond repair and that stupid font on the spine of book four looks completely out of sync now.

 

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