I don’t know about you, but I’m wary of books with bad covers. You know the ones. Someone took pictures of their “pretty” friends in a garden and didn’t consult any professionals in the process: no real photographer, no models, no graphic designers. They’re the ones that never end up on a shelf at Barnes and Noble, because regardless of how good the book may be, B&N knows that most people won’t pick up a book with a terrible cover.
I know I won’t.
Now, I’ve never tried to make a book cover. I’m sure it’s really difficult and expensive and whatnot. I’m not saying those books with depressing covers are bad books. I don’t know what kind of magic the big publishing houses use to make their book covers BEAUTIFUL, but they must have sold their soul to Satan for such powers.
This is not to say that there aren’t bad covers from the big houses. Sometimes I’ll be standing at B&N, looking at books and one will catch my eye and I will just stand there like a crazy person, laughing at the terrible cover.
Book cover preferences are obviously subjective. I was looking at “Worst Book Cover” lists on Good Reads, and found a few books I had put on a shelf literally titled “Gorgeous Book Covers”. So obviously, this is one of those ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ kind of moments.
Just to possibly stir up some discussion, I’m going to use a well known series that recently got a cover makeover: The Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. For the record, this is one of my favorite series, and because I love the books I don’t really have a love or hate relationship with these covers. I think they’re fine. However, I’ve seen a lot of…strong opinions about them.
Here’s the original Obsidian Cover:
It’s not epically awesome, but it’s not terrible, right? I think it works for the story. Especially once you know that it’s depicting Kat and Daemon, and the shadows and storm are illustrating the Arum and such. So again, not necessarily a cover that would have jumped out at me in a bookstore, but hey the cover models (Pepe and Stella- Yes, JLA fans even know the names of the cover models. We’re like the Supernatural fandom of the book world) are attractive. And the covers got more polished and somewhat prettier as the series has gone along, while still keeping the same vibe.
Here’s the cover reboot:
This is for the same book. Kind of hard to believe, right? This cover looks like a mermaid story with all the blue. But again, not horrendously bad or anything. I would say this one looks less photo-shopped than the first one. Cover models are still pretty, the script is easy to read and the red jumps out at you. But it doesn’t really capture the feel of the book to me, like the original does. It’s likely that this would jump out even less to me in a bookstore. Of course, when I see JLA on a book, I immediately pick it up, but that’s beside the point. It’s a very different look and feel, which is interesting because the book itself didn’t change. It really makes me wonder how books covers are developed.