12 July 2011

Judging a book by its cover & series covers

It's been a while since I've done a post on covers - and you know they're a favorite of mine. As I've confessed before, I often judge books by their covers. I don't want to, but I do anyway. We live busy lives & covers are a short cut to genre and content, although not always as accurate a shortcut as we would like.

One book I picked up almost entirely on cover was Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh (I say almost, I'd read her name somewhere but knew nothing about her or her books). I saw the book, the cover caught my eye, I liked it, got the book, loved that, and I've been a fan since. So picking a book by the cover does find one some gems (although it also finds the dross, sadly).

Recently I was in the book store & I saw the new UK covers for her books. I bought her latest one (Kiss of Snow) but on the way home I couldn't help thinking of the differences between the US & UK versions. I should say up front I have no problems with any of these covers. Authors get very little input into their covers Nalini's been lucky :)

This is US cover of the first book in the psy/changeling series. Simple, sexy (but not overt), kind of mysterious, it was certainly enough to make me pick it up. Each of the covers in this series are reasonably different. They somewhat give you a feeling for the action and characters within.
In contract this is the UK version. Still sexy, although in a different way (this relies on the power of the eyes), it's also dangerous/violent. I would have pick up this cover too. This cover sets the trend for the others. 1/2 male face with wound. I actually think these covers capture the male characters better, but they suggest very little else. Also they might capture more male readers? Although the titles might defeat that plan.
Most recent book in the series, US cover. Compared to UK covers the feeling of series is not as strong here (e.g. different font for her name from all the other books in series). Although all the other books, and even this one do have a strong similar vein. Series connections I've noticed are often under-emphasized in US series. I guess you pick up more readers, but as a reader who has been caught, it's annoying to realize you're in the middle of the series (fortunately these do stand on the own even through they benefit from being read in order). To be fair the the US publishes they didn't know how popular this was going to be when Ms Singh started :). More man-titty. With the wolf, also a clear no at what type of paranormal this is going to be. Although a good job, not dissimilar to a lot of other covers out there.

 This is UK version. As you can see (and if you look at the others) an incredibly strong sense of series. On a book shelf together they'll look great. I like this one too. All the men are different, they all look at the reader in a different way. If I have one complaint it's the very thing I also like (yes, I know their is no pleasing some people) it's their very same-ness. You really have to know which ones you've read or you risk picking up the same book twice. The series look is unique, and unlike other covers out there which adds impact, but also using the same device repeatedly for each book does somewhat remove it's power to affect the observer.

One other comment I would make is that  both US & UK covers suggest white men, readers will find that is not the case.

You can see full covers here: US and UK. Two very interesting takes on the same series. Regardless of cover I seriously recommend the series :)

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