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View Full Version : US/UK - different covers?



Darzian
10-07-2009, 05:59 AM
I was wondering why the same book often has different covers when published in the US and UK? For example, the next book in the Wheel of Time series has this (IMO awful) cover (US version):

http://aidanmoher.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/the-gathering-storm.jpeg

while the UK version has this (IMO much nicer) cover:

http://davebrendon.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/a-memory-of-light-uk.jpg


Are there any particular reasons why publishers do this? I'm assuming that the same publisher publishes the books with both covers. It might just be random or arbitrary, in which case it's fine, but I'm curious if there is any particular methodology involved.

ChaosTitan
10-07-2009, 06:34 AM
I think Kristin Nelson did a blog post on this topic once, and part of it is the difference between US book buyers and UK book buyers. Different things attract attention overseas than do here, so when a UK publisher picks up a US book, they'll use a cover that will work in their market.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 07:15 AM
Pretty much what Chaos said. Different markets. Same reason YA covers differ from adult covers, science fiction from romance, etc. I think the Harry Potter example is particularly interesting, since there is only one version of the cover for the US, which is more likely to draw a kid's interest. In the UK, however, there are two versions: One for adults, one for kids, neither of which looks like the US cover.

Titles sometimes differ for the same reasons.

Darzian
10-07-2009, 02:40 PM
Wow. I didn't realize that there would be such a difference in what consumers in different countries would find eye catching.

Thanks both.

gothicangel
10-07-2009, 06:47 PM
I would definitely buy the UK version, but I wouldn't even pick up the US. It screams: 'badly written, and outdated fantasy genre writing.'

Nivarion
10-07-2009, 06:52 PM
Yeah, I normally got rid of the dust jacket on mine as soon as I got the book and didn't use it till I finished. I don't really like the US covers on a lot of his books.

UK one does look a lot cooler, but I still feel something is missing in both of them.

Priene
10-07-2009, 07:02 PM
The American cover looks like it was painted in 1970.

Darzian
10-07-2009, 07:10 PM
The Wheel of Time series started in 1991. This is the first part of a three part 'final book.' To be clearer, the last book is over 700 000 words so they've split it into 3 parts and this is the first part.

The US versions of all the books in this series are very outdated looking and not visually appealing to most readers I've talked with.

I would LOVE to have the UK version but, alas, I live in Canada.

JimmyB27
10-07-2009, 07:23 PM
I would definitely buy the UK version, but I wouldn't even pick up the US. It screams: 'badly written, and outdated fantasy genre writing.'
Sounds about right. ;)

Lady Ice
10-07-2009, 08:37 PM
The American cover looks like it was painted in 1970.

Deffo.

Kathleen42
10-07-2009, 08:43 PM
Pretty much what Chaos said. Different markets. Same reason YA covers differ from adult covers, science fiction from romance, etc. I think the Harry Potter example is particularly interesting, since there is only one version of the cover for the US, which is more likely to draw a kid's interest. In the UK, however, there are two versions: One for adults, one for kids, neither of which looks like the US cover.

Titles sometimes differ for the same reasons.

Same in Canada. Harry Potter is also interesting because, in addition to the covers, they changed the name of the first book for the US market.

Rarri
10-07-2009, 08:53 PM
Same in Canada. Harry Potter is also interesting because, in addition to the covers, they changed the name of the first book for the US market.

I've always wondered why that happened. Weird.

Kathleen42
10-07-2009, 09:12 PM
I've always wondered why that happened. Weird.

I've heard it was because they didn't think "philosopher" would go over well for the US market and that it might be confusing. I'm not sure how much truth there is to that.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 09:25 PM
I've heard it was because they didn't think "philosopher" would go over well for the US market and that it might be confusing. I'm not sure how much truth there is to that.

Right. Despite the fact it's a real mythological object, the publishers didn't think 'philosopher' would be as interesting to kids as 'sorcerer.' They have a point. The definition of a philosopher as an alchemist or scientist is pretty much obsolete in the US.

The Lonely One
10-07-2009, 10:24 PM
Also some books seem to have various different covers within the same country (many of Bradbury's books come to mind, but also other lesser established writers). I'm not sure the purpose of this except that perhaps the new covers are for batches of reprints or something? Anniversary editions? Different years? I don't know. I'm only guessing.

katiemac
10-07-2009, 10:28 PM
Also some books seem to have various different covers within the same country (many of Bradbury's books come to mind, but also other lesser established writers). I'm not sure the purpose of this except that perhaps the new covers are for batches of reprints or something? Anniversary editions? Different years? I don't know. I'm only guessing.

Yep. New editions, reaching to different demographics, etc. For example, HarperCollins recently released a new edition of Wuthering Heights that is recovered in the style of the Twilight novels. (Note HarperCollins doesn't published Twilight.)

Rarri
10-07-2009, 10:32 PM
Yep. New editions, reaching to different demographics, etc. For example, HarperCollins recently released a new edition of Wuthering Heights that is recovered in the style of the Twilight novels. (Note HarperCollins doesn't published Twilight.)

Out of interest, i saw the new Wuthering Heights cover in WHSmith the other day (adult section); looked terrible, like a bad photocopy.

Albedo
10-08-2009, 05:58 AM
In my personal observation, US edition covers are usually embarrassingly inferior to UK editions. But then, they're enviably cheap by comparison. Maybe UK books are more expensive because we're paying for quality design? (Australia tends to get the UK edition.)

timewaster
10-08-2009, 01:05 PM
Also some books seem to have various different covers within the same country (many of Bradbury's books come to mind, but also other lesser established writers). I'm not sure the purpose of this except that perhaps the new covers are for batches of reprints or something? Anniversary editions? Different years? I don't know. I'm only guessing.

Usually I had the have the same for both except with this book.http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31hZ8bmvTTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VFZMGgyIL._SL500_SL120_.jpg

I leave it to you to decide which is which.

Saskatoonistan
10-08-2009, 03:28 PM
Same in Canada. Harry Potter is also interesting because, in addition to the covers, they changed the name of the first book for the US market.

I did not know that... :)

Of course I've only been in an American bookstore once in my life.

john barnes on toast
10-08-2009, 04:27 PM
The American cover looks like it was painted in 1970.


by numbers

rosiecotton
10-08-2009, 04:33 PM
I sent my nieces in the US the first Harry Potter before the series took off. They're in college now but still confess to bragging rights that they've got the Philosopher's and not Sorcerer's stone.

Potter's the classic bizarre cover swap. We moved to the US before the seventh was released and I so hated the dreary cover over here, I made my sister ship me a UK copy so my collection matched! How pathetic am I?

john barnes on toast
10-08-2009, 04:42 PM
Potter's the classic bizarre cover swap. We moved to the US before the seventh was released and I so hated the dreary cover over here, I made my sister ship me a UK copy so my collection matched! How pathetic am I?


that's good.

I did the same thing in reverse with the The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe.
It had been re-issued with a really nice cover in the US, and knowing that, I just couldn't buy the UK version. Had to get it imported.

willietheshakes
10-08-2009, 05:32 PM
Same in Canada. Harry Potter is also interesting because, in addition to the covers, they changed the name of the first book for the US market.

They also changed the first BOOK for the US market...

Michael J. Hoag
10-08-2009, 09:18 PM
"Different market" is such a nice euphemism. Can't you just hear the US brass saying, "Dumber! Dumber! I gotta have more dumb!"

Or maybe:

http://idisk.mac.com/luckymortal/Public/light.jpg

"...well, the cleavage is good, but it's not very realistic at all."

brainstorm77
10-08-2009, 09:23 PM
I was wondering why the same book often has different covers when published in the US and UK? For example, the next book in the Wheel of Time series has this (IMO awful) cover (US version):

http://aidanmoher.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/the-gathering-storm.jpeg

while the UK version has this (IMO much nicer) cover:

http://davebrendon.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/a-memory-of-light-uk.jpg


Are there any particular reasons why publishers do this? I'm assuming that the same publisher publishes the books with both covers. It might just be random or arbitrary, in which case it's fine, but I'm curious if there is any particular methodology involved.

I like the UK cover :)

Darzian
10-09-2009, 02:15 AM
Now if only TOR could see this thread and publish the US version with the UK cover.....:D