Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re not supposed to do it.
But we do.
Or at least, I do. I judge books by their covers ALL. THE. TIME. Pretty much, that’s the first thing on my list of things I look at (also the jacket copy … Those two things are tied). I’m guessing I’m not alone. Studies show you have 12 seconds (in a bookstore) to turn a browser into a buyer. 12 seconds seem like an awfully short time if people aren’t judging books by the covers.
With that in mind, I find the various covers on the market extremely interesting. ESPECIALLY when one book has multiple covers for different countries. I’m not sure what this says about the American market (do you like the American ones better?), but take the following books for example*. The books on the far left are the USA versions (and don’t be fooled, sometimes they change the names on foreign book covers, but it’s the same innards. I promise.)**
Graceling by Kristin Cashore:
The American version doesn’t really do much for me in all honesty. It doesn’t really tell me much about the book, but it does a good job of letting you know it deals heavily in fighting but also has an element of femininity. Personally, I like the one that is second from the left.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:
It took me a long time to read The Hunger Games because I didn’t like the cover. It seemed too masculine and I didn’t get any idea of what the book was about. With the American version, I think they were trying to heavily market the male audience as well.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White:
Paranormalcy – I love the USA cover, but I think I love the one on the far right more. I like how these covers seemed to show the emotion of the book, while the Flames ‘n’ Roses cover seemed much too … happy for the book. The other one? Yeah, that one just scares me.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver:
I like the American version best of this one. What’s interesting to me is that the covers on this book are drastically different. It’s like they couldn’t make up their mind in how to market this book.
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand:
In contrast to the previous one, Unearthly has very similar book covers. That’s why it surprises me that they changed the cover at all. It’s basically a different color scheme.
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Brey:
The American version is very feminine, while the version on the right seems almost masculine in comparison. These covers also seem like they’d be placed in different genres.
Overall, I find that the American versions are slightly more … generic than some of their counterparts. Usually us Americans are cool with it if you just throw a girl on the cover. We also tend to go for the slightly more feminine I’ve found. Why do you think they change the cover for various countries? Are we really that different in our tastes?
* I haven’t read all these books, so don’t take my placement of them here as an endorsement… Just sayin.
** All cover images taken from Goodreads.