Ever since I moved to the UK two years ago I’ve been obsessed with book covers. Book covers can vary vastly between North America and the UK. It has made me realize that I do judge a book by it’s cover. Take MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood for example. I am Canadian and an Atwood fan, so I’m going to read her latest book no matter what. But based on the covers I’d be much more likely to pick up the UK version. Let’s take a look.
But why is this the case? And what drives book cover design?
For the most part I have found that I prefer the North American cover of most books. I suspect that after years of book buying and working in a book store I have been conditioned by the North American book industry about what to expect. But then a book like The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer comes along. Two very different covers, both of which I’d pick up.
Some have noted that the North American cover of The Interestings is a bit too feminine for a book that would appeal to both men and women equally. The UK cover resolves this nicely, but what’s the deal with those clouds? Just distracting.
In a new weekly feature called Cover Wars I am going to look at cover design a little more closely. For the most part it will involve cover comparisons and polls, but I will also be looking at what experts like Chip Kidd have to say and how iconic cover designs like those from Penguin came about. I can’t wait to see how this evolves over time.