Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Cover Versions

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There are a few assumptions about the Transatlantic publishing gap that quite a few people make: UK paperbacks are better quality than US ones, US hardbacks are better quality than UK ones and UK covers are better than US ones. The latter is certainly something that I’ve always believed but ajr has an interesting post about whether it is true any more. He was inspired by this Bookseller article but the original article loses points for not having a poll. It does contain an interesting quote from designer Jon Gray that suggests this is a recent change though:

In the US, the designer, art director, editor and author will create a cover that they feel is right for a book, and then that will be shown to a sales department. It would then be shown to the trade. This often means that your cover is first and foremost a nice piece of design, relevant to the book. In the UK over the past year or so, we’ve started to work backwards.

As always this is the fault of the supermarkets.

Anyway, I can’t say this new design-led approach in the US is one I have witnessed, particularly within the science fiction industry. Indeed when ever someone in the science fiction world pleas for slightly nicer covers there is always someone from the industry quick to pop up and say: “ugly covers are the way we’ve always done it, besides that is what the punters want and authors should be grateful just to be published”. That is not to say there aren’t plenty of good US SF covers but the overall standards are not very high and the lows are just so much lower than in the UK.

(I am obviously a corporate stooge because I have spent this entire post playing the man, not the ball…)

Written by Martin

22 September 2008 at 13:42

Posted in books, sf

Tagged with , , ,

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