Friday, 8 February 2013

The Book Report: Judging A Book By Its Cover

We live in an age of terrible book covers. The self-publishing revolution and the spread of graphics software means that anyone can put out a book and design a cover for it, whether they should or not. Don't believe me, check out this site.

Sadly, this seems to be spreading to some professional publishers as well. Take a look at the cover for the 50th anniversary edition of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.
I'm no expert on Plath, but this cover looks like it should be re-titled Bridget Jones' Suicide Note.

But it's not the only big publisher cover art fiasco. The latest involves Anne of Green Gables. Now everyone has an idea about what the title character looks like, she's a skinny adolescent girl with red hair and freckles. The Japanese, who have a veritable Cult of Anne going on, even used that idea for their anime adaptation as seen here:
Turns out we were all WRONG


Anne of Green Gables is not a skinny little girl with red hair, freckles, and a spunky adventurous spirit, no matter what that hack Lucy Maude Montgomery said. She is, in fact, a well built early 20something blonde with a "come-hither" look. 
Oh, wait, are you saying that Lucy Maude Montgomery was right, and that this cover design had to have been done by someone who knew absolutely NOTHING about the character?

Well, I'll be. Who could think that the same publishing industry who gave a book deal to the Geico Gecko could possibly do something incompetent?


  1. Please tell me you're putting us on with the "Anne of Green Gables" book jacket.

  2. Sandy Petersen12/2/13 1:04 pm

    Please please please be a hoax. When my daughter was about 11 (she's 31 now), she was really into Anne of Green Gables, and tricked me into reading the books. I was completely enthralled by how good they were. For a hardened horror/SF guy like me it was an eye-opener.

  3. Sandy Petersen12/2/13 1:10 pm

    okay so i've done a little research on the abominable AoGG cover. Turns out it is stock art, and that the "publisher" who released this is not a real company, but part of Createspace, Amazon's print-on-demand store. Instead of a publisher, it was just some guy at his computer using stock footage, and stealing the text from other editions. Reviews of this version on Amazon mention obvious glitches like lack of punctuation, title page uncentered, and other obvious cut-and-paste errors. So it is a fault of the modern "one-man doeas everything" culture instead of the bad old publishing culture.

  4. Sandy- Thanks for doing the research I'm far too lazy to do myself. The saddest part of that cover's story is that it being the blunder of a publisher was so damn believable.

  5. Sandy Petersen16/2/13 5:16 pm

    sad but true. I mean, look at what they did with Miss Marple.