Confessions of a Cover Lover
Judge a book by it’s cover? Absolutely. I am a cover lover. There is no doubt that while strolling the aisles of bookstores, haunting the stacks in our beloved libraries, or scanning the tables at a book sale readers are influenced by covers. Covers, spines, smells. That first impression makes an impact. That doesn’t always mean that the cover must be in pristine condition (unless perhaps it’s a gift). We feel the history in books that are much loved, it courses through our fingertips and flows right to our book loving hearts. Battered or bruised or coffee stained though they be, they still stand an excellent chance of finding a home. But, when perusing books, book buyers look at the cover. Even if I haven’t read the title, I will pick up a book with a great cover and begin really considering it.
I love covers that have beautiful colour schemes that work well together and cause my brain to say something akin to “Me wants it”. Now, you put gold or silver on it and you have really got something there – the magpie in me says, “My Precious!” Aside from the colours, an interesting design or a fabulous piece of cover art will make me want to buy that version of the book. Well designed, visually appealing, interesting cover art has my imagination already headed for the story inside and I am helpless. That book is coming home with me.
The books least likely to follow me home are books with movie covers. I read the book before the movie and sometimes the movie has been out a while before I read the book So, a movie cover does three things for me.
Firstly, it gives me the producer’s, director’s, director of photography’s, costumer’s, make-up artist’s (there are more but you get the idea) imagined vision of the characters and setting. No offense to movie makers everywhere but there are times when their vision has been tailored to suit their audience or demographic. I like my imagination to produce the movie I see in my head.
Wait. Cover are often has scenes from the story on them. Yes, that is true. But, the publishers choose those scenes in closer relationship to the text itself. Authors, have more control. Publishers or editors who have read and enjoyed the book enough to publish it will choose cover art that matches the story. Hand-drawn art, curated photos, or perfectly selected stock imagery may also be tailored to a demographic but I believe they remain truer to the story created by the writer. A truly great cover prompts the imagination but doesn’t tell it what to see. I don’t want my imagination relax and let the movie company take over which is why I choose to read the book first.
Secondly, the movie cover tells me about the movie. If it is an actor I don’t care for, meh, I may think the story is not for me. It can give away an ending or show a scene in the movie that I will have already experienced by the time it happens in the movie.
Finally, it annoys me. It is merchandising. It is selling the movie, the movie company, and the people associated with the film to the public. The movie cover makes that book a movie product and the movie company makes money and is promoted by that book. There are readers who will buy the book and love it because of the movie they saw so it can be a reciprocal relationship which may be why movie covers exist in the first place. I prefer my movies and books to remain separate.
Hardcover Deluxe Edition
There is something about a hardcover copy that announces to the world how much you love a particular book. Or how much you loved the cover.
This version has leather, gold filigree, and gorgeous font and it is stunning. It is the book you read of in fairy tales.
The Original Cover
Now, this looks like a fairy tale cover, a cover so like a Grimm’s Brother story. The princess and her Horse are upfront and center and quite true to description. The detail in the stained glass and border, with their contrasting colours adds depth and interest. A tag line: “A Hot Fairy Tale” shouts in black crisp font that this is no ordinary fairy tale. It’s contrast with the regal flowing reds and golds of the title smacks of the unexpected.
Most Common, Recent Cover
The only copy available at my local bookstore was this one. I bought it. I really, really wanted to read it. It was one that I have had on my TBR (To-Be-Read) list for years but a recent re-watch of a Gilmore Girls episode made me go and get a copy. The cover has a lot going for it, though. The green gold combination is beautiful and contrasts with the red of her dress. I love the calligraphy font, classic. The Princess and the man all in black are poised in a dreamy, slightly sinister landscape that has the light of hope shining behind them. The positioning of the characters tells too much about the story, for one thing, and for a second, it suggests that the Princess is weaker than she is which I don’t like.