So, when I say I think American covers pale in comparison to their British counterparts, I am not saying they're all bad. I do think there has been some improvement. But, this past week I was in London and there it was, again, that reminder that sometimes the cover doesn't reflect the contents. Oliver Harris's Deep Shelter is a perfect example. Look at the difference!
The same is true of Harris's first book, The Hollow Man:
The Oliver Harris books jumped out at me because I was in search of The Hollow Man, last week. As on every other occasion when I've visited London, I found that it's a lot more difficult to control my impulse to buy books in London than it is back home. The fact that there are so many wonderful little bookshops in London probably doesn't help matters. This, for example, is the charming little store where I bought The Hollow Man: West End Lane Books in Hampstead:
Fortunately, those small independent bookstores do seem to be making a comeback in the U.S.
What on earth is an artist's rendering of a nose supposed to mean? I have no idea. The cover of Matt Haig's The Humans at left is the American version. It's an interesting image but it tells me nothing, whereas the British cover actually says, "It's hardest to belong when you're closest to home." Clearly, it's about being a human. But, it also has that outer-space element, the shooting star (indicative of an alien arriving on earth), the dog -- a universal symbol of friendship and acceptance. And, there is a dog in the book, so bonus points for that. The colors are also fabulous. I would walk right past the American version but the British version is one I'd frame and hang on my wall.
What do you think about book covers? Does it matter to you whether or not they give you a decent hint what's inside? Do you prefer bright color to simple, graphic design?
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