By October 17, 2010 1 Comments Read More →

Separated at publishing

I have a twisted fascination for book covers that look alike. Right after I chortle, I wonder what the publishers’ art departments were thinking. They must not get out much. I understand trends in type styles and images, but the last pair of book covers? That’s just blatantly obvious and creatively unforgivable.

Exhibit A:

A Hidden Affair by Pam Jenoff. A young diplomat discovers her college lover, whom she’d thought dead for the last ten years, is not. He has been on the run after jenoff2discovering a conspiracy plot that reaches across continents and up to the highest levels of government. And then we havea_secret_kept1 A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay. A brother and sister, Antoine and  Melanie, celebrate Melanie’s 40th birthday on the sunny French vacation isle of their childhood. Then Melanie uncovers a repressed memory of their long dead mother and Antoine scours Paris and the surrounding country side looking for answers.

Exhibit B:

The girl in the red trench coat must not have been available for these two novels so the art department whipped out the eye-catching fonts. First, lay down a lot of ohiounusual gold designs and then put down the title in a typeface that lets the reader know there is something unusual between these covers; a heady mix of mystery, fantasy, literature, and quirkiness. And that’s what a reader will get in The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming, a debut novel about time travel and alternate history involving a contemporary antiques dealer universeresearching an old photo. In an alternate plot the subject of the photo, Peter, meets Cheri-Anne, a woman who claims to have come seven years in the future from The Lost Kingdom of Ohio, a small frontier monarchy her father reigns. Taking a more philosophical look at magic in literature is Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas. Stuck-in-a-rut book reviewer, Meg, ghost writes genre fiction while her own ambitious literary novel languishes, just like her own life. Then Meg gets a review manuscript that tackles the question of immortality and takes her on a metaphysical journey for answers.

Closing argument:apples4I rest my case.

Why not take all these to the book group and have the members choose which to read next? Tell them they may not use the cover as a deciding factor.



About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

1 Comment on "Separated at publishing"

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  1. Very interesting idea! It is amazing how we are drawn to books by their covers, but what if the covers were just plan, with the title, then what would happen? Definitely worth thinking about. Thanks for the post!

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