Book Nerd Problems #3: Mid-Series Cover Redesigns

Posted March 2, 2013 by Debby in Book Nerd Problems, Discussions / 38 Comments

This is a periodic discussion feature here at Snuggly Oranges about the many problems one can run into as a book nerd.

#3. Mid-Series Cover Redesigns

Welcome to my third installment of the discussion feature, Book Nerd Problems. This week, I want to talk about a staple of these book blogger discussion posts. I figured I had to get this topic out of the way at some point.

So you know how it goes. A series is released. You love it. You think, ‘I must have this series. It will stay on my shelves forever.’ So you buy the first book. And then, for the release of the second or third book, the covers are all redesigned. If you’re like me, your feelings can probably be best described by the following gif…


The thing is, I suffer from a strong average mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And issues like un-matching covers are definitely triggers for me. I can’t stand it. I mean, my OCD sometimes go so far that I can’t stand books being different heights when shelved next to each other. Yeah. I’m weird. *cough*

Why redesign? 

To be honest, when you look at some of the redesigns that have been done, you kind of understand it if you think for a while. Usually it’s just that over the course of the publication of the series, they suddenly find a design that just suits the story better. They try to make the cover match the book. But it’s just a little too late, and for readers it may feel like a marketing trick to get OCD fans to spend even more money on the series. (Honestly they should just allow fans who already have the original to get a dust cover with the new design for free, imo.)

So how do you deal with cover changes? 

I really prefer matching covers. My OCD aside, it looks better on the shelf and clearly shows that it’s one series. For me, it’s kind of gotten to the point where I resist buying hardcovers to keep until the final book’s cover is revealed. I think if it’s really one of my favorite series, I’ll probably buy the cover redesigns of the books I already have and give away the old copies.

Examples

Let’s have a look at some of the worst, most irksome cover, or most dramatic redesigns in young adult lit. You can click on the covers to enlarge the images.

Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

When this first got announced, I was mad. Although the girl in a pretty dress cover is a cliché, I did really like it for Shatter Me, especially with the light and sparkles. But the more I think about it, the new covers – when you look at them up close or in high resolution – do suit the story better and are a much more intriguing design. So I guess I’m a bit sad that I have a copy with the old cover, but my copy is autographed from when I met Tahereh in November, so I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Across the Universe series by Beth Revis

I’m no fan of the series, not at all, but WHAT were they thinking with this redesign? Seriously, the first covers made my “pretty cover” shelf on Goodreads and really pushed me to read the series and let’s ignore the ensuing disappointment when I actually read the books. But the new ones… Who thought that was a good idea?

Sky Chasers series by Amy Kathleen Ryan

I almost want to say I like the redesign better on this one but Glow is so overwhelmingly PINK. And sparkly. I haven’t read the series, but looking at the original cover, the redesigns wouldn’t really portray what the series wants to portray. Correct me if I’m wrong though.

The Royal Circle series by Katherine Longshore

Yeah, I’m not particularly a huge fan of either, but the redesign makes this look like a definitely not young adult historical fiction but more adult… And the original at least had some originality.

The Cahill Witch Chronicles series by Jessica Spotswood

I’m not sure about this one. I don’t like the Born Wicked redesign, but I do like the Star Cursed cover, and I see the direction they ultimately wanted to go in. But the modern look to the new covers do kind of take away from the delicate, intricate, witchy quality of the original.

 

Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

Obviously this one had to be on the list. While I like the redesign of Delirium, what they did with the concept in the covers of Pandemonium and Requiem is not at all appealing to me. In Pandemonium her face is angled and cut off in a really unappealing way and across all the redesigned covers, the expression is so harsh and …weird. It’s also extremely unoriginal.

Curse Workers series by Holly Black

You know, from a design and stylistic point of view I absolutely love the new covers. They are super creative and pretty. But they don’t communicate the dark and inherently paranormal feeling that the original covers did.

Stephanie Perkins’ Contemporary Books

These new covers were just revealed this week. I’m a bit torn because I honestly like both of the designs. Though I must say, the old ones did stand out a bit more and were a bit more unique. But I haven’t read these yet either, so I’m sure those of you who have have a more outspoken opinion than me. What did you guys think of it?

Of course, these are not the only mid-series redesigns. There’s also:

    Let’s Talk!

    So what about you? Yay or nay to redesigns? Is it sometimes necessary or is it just a marketing trick to milk the love of the fans? Which cover changes have annoyed the crap out of you? What do you do when they’re redesigned? Do you insist on matching covers? Let me know in the comments!

     Why change? Everyone has his own style.
    When you have found it, you should stick to it. Audrey Hepburn

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    38 responses to “Book Nerd Problems #3: Mid-Series Cover Redesigns

    1. It’s INCREDIBLY ANNOYING when they change the covers, but sometimes the redesigns do suit the series better. My shelf will just have to be less pretty 🙁 Because I’m in Australia, I normally get different (usually worse) covers, and halfway through change it to match the American covers, or the vise versa.

      The Blood of Eden books are different though. We got the American cover first, but The Eternity Cure AUS cover is not the redisign! In fact, it sort of matches the original cover of The Immortal Rules. I’m so happy!!

      • Oh wow, I didn’t know that about the Australian covers. Pretty random to just halfway decide not to use the original design or vice versa. I wish publishers would just think ahead a bit – especially when they know that it’s going to be a trilogy, or more. Sigh.

        Ah, interesting about the Blood of Eden, haha. I wonder if they’ll stick with that type of design for the next installment as well. Thanks for sharing!

    2. I hate it when they do redesigns. But like you said, it makes sense when they do. Most of the time though, they don’t which is why it’s annoying and stupid. I’m glad they redesigned Immortal Rules since the model was so not Asian and the blood tear thing was just tacky. But it looks a bit too minimalistic for my tastes, esp Eternity Cure. Shatter Me’s new cover is super freaking cool even though I don’t like the series. I didn’t know they did redesigns for the Stephanie Perkins’ books! I don’t really know how I feel about them to be honest. The old ones are ok but I always kinda found them weird… St Clair’s arm looks like a girl’s so I was really confused when he was introduced as a he. Lola’s expression is just really creepy. It’s her eyes… But looking at the new covers, they’re very bland(?) and just normal-looking. If you’re gonna do a redesign, better make sure it looks fanfreakingtastic.

      • Yeah, I heard about the drama surrounding the Blood of Eden covers, so I totally understand that redesign. It was a huge switch though indeed to move to the minimalistic design. I quite like it though, though I haven’t read the series.

        Yeah, the Stephanie Perkins covers were announced on Thursday I believe. I totally agree with you on the old ones. I got what they wanted to do, but St Clair does have a girly pose with his arm like that – what guy sits like that, seriously? and Lola is a biiit weird. HUGE eyes. And yeah, the new covers are definitely the other end of the spectrum, super minimalistic. But I do like the shading and the colors.

        Thanks for sharing your opinion 🙂

      • Haha, great minds think alike! I agree with your post, publishers really need to think more about those designs beforehand. Especially with the example of the Blood of Eden series. Considering how many people were pissed off about that, they definitely could have prevented it by polling the ARC readers or something. And they almost always know ahead of time now that it’s a trilogy or more, so some more forethought would be nice.

        Yeah, the more I think about the Born Wicked cover, the sadder it makes me. But I haven’t read the series yet, so it could be even worse for fans.

    3. I’m not really OCD enough to care much about series matching, so redesigns rarely bother me, unless the redesign is absolutely terrible, but i can’t really think of many that are. (As for the Across the universe redesign, I’m pretty sure they’re trying to make the series look more gender-neutral, so that they can actually sell to guys too)

      • Ohhh, that’s a good point about Across the Universe – I hadn’t considered that before. I suppose if their goal was gender-neutral they definitely succeeded. But I do wonder if just changing the cover would actually get more guys to pick it up. Even though half of it is from Elder’s point of view, it’s still a rather girly story in my mind.

        Thanks for sharing!

    4. Some cover designs are great. I get why they re-do them and they look so much better, but that doesn’t say I’m happy with them. I prefer to have the same covers, because it looks so much better on the shelves. I am slowly starting to get easier with the redesigns though, because I simply don’t have the money to buy all the books again. So, I guess I am starting to deal with them. I already have some series that don’t match and it doesn’t bother me as much as it did 🙂

      Mel@thedailyprophecy.

      • Yayyy I’m so glad I’m not the only one neurotic about having matching covers! xD *hug* But yeah, it is hard on my wallet. I will have to learn to deal with it in some cases for sure, like with Shatter Me. I’m constantly just telling myself, “It’s a SIGNED, PERSONALIZED FIRST EDITION. That’s worth a mismatched series.” One of these days I will actually believe it =/

    5. I talked about this, at length, in my post The Mid-Series Switcheroo. I did find, for a couple instances, the reasons from the author/publisher for the switch, and sometimes, it made sense. BUT, like you, I think we should be given the option to get a new dust jacket (whether it’s for free for a period, and then for a very minimal fee down the road, or whatever. I just want the OPTION!).

      Like you, I’m starting to delay purchasing new series, so I can make sure the series is finished before I buy a matching set.

      • Oooh, I like your post about it 🙂 Definitely like some of the authors reactions to it. When they get to explain it like that it really makes sense, but seriously, those publishers need to be more mindful of us OCD book nerds! And YEAH, just a couple of dollars or something for a new cover, that should be doable right?

        I’m SO glad to see I’m not the only one with that tendency, hahaha. I feel a little less crazy now. Thanks for sharing!

    6. Honestly, I don’t really buy many books because I don’t tend to re-read. Having said that, I would prefer that the covers all match those. Just so they “look” like a set. As far as the covers you listed, I must prefer the new cover for Shatter Me. The new cover of Across the Universe would make me pick it up much faster because the old one looks like a teen romance. Funny how we really do judge a book by it’s cover. Interesting post for sure!

      Dana

      • Definitely interesting to hear someone prefer the new Across the Universe covers! I totally get what you mean about the old ones looking like a teenage romance. Someone else here mentioned that they tried to make the new design more gender neutral, to maybe appeal to a male audience as well, so I guess after more consideration it sort of makes sense. But yeah, we definitely judge a book by its cover, no matter how much we preach that we shouldn’t. It’s just hard to ignore, I guess, especially in YA where the covers are typically amazingly intricate.

        Thanks for sharing your opinion! 🙂

    7. I want my covers to match and I will do whatever it takes (okay, maybe not anything, but you know what I mean!) to get them to match. Like you, I’m OCD like that. I used to be indifferent about this (my copy of I Am Number Four was about two times smaller than my copy of The Power of Six) until I suddenly realized: I can’t buy the third book now. So I bought all of them in hardback because… OCD.

      I understand why publishers decide to go with cover changes, and they can definitely be a good thing. However, aside from how much I want series to match, sometimes I don’t understand the changes. Like the Across the Universe change: they were so pretty and unique! Same goes for Born Wicked – I LOVE the original cover, and the new ones are not as unique.

      I’m not a fan of the Delirium covers and I would have liked to see the original as a series. And I like the new Anna/Lola/Isla covers, but I wish the font had been more original. This one is just boring, and a cool font could have made a big difference. Another book of which I didn’t like the cover design was of Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, just because the original is one of my favorite covers EVER.

      But then again, sometimes cover changes are REALLY GOOD. Like with Paper Towns by John Green, and I also like the new Uglies covers. Argh, my comment is all over the place – as usual. I like cover changes. And sometimes I don’t. Is what I wanted to say. I wish they would not change the covers mid-series.

      • YAY I’m so glad to see a fellow OCD book nerd here *hugs* haha. I think my first real encounter with this was Elixir by Hilary Duff. It wasn’t even a redesign, the sequel just had a cover that was completely different from the first. And it was ugly. The spine particularly, which is *YAY* the part that everyone sees. *sigh* Also, I Am Number Four fan *high five*!

        Yeah, Across the Universe is a really dramatic change, but someone else on here said they wanted to make the new design more gender-neutral. I guess it makes sense, it’s definitely less girly. And with a sci-fi story, half from a guy’s point of view, I suppose they could attract some guys this way. Born Wicked – the more I look at it, the more I SADFACE.

        SAME for the Anna/Lola/Isla covers. I like the colors and the shading and the overall look, but they missed some golden opportunities with the typography there.

        I didn’t know about Sisters Red, but just looked it up and WHOA what were they thinking? That one makes no sense to me at all.

        Definitely agree on Paper Towns, and Uglies I think as well (totally missed that one, ha!). Haha, I love reading your all over the place comments though 😀 they make me smile! And I’m with you, sometimes I genuinely like the redesigns, but sometimes I just hate them. Above all, YES, they shouldn’t change it mid-series. Second edition run, sure, go all out and have new covers, but at least stick with a design for the first run. Come on. It’s not that hard. A little forethought would be appreciated.

    8. Awesome topic Debby! I was just thinking about this this week when I saw the new redesigns of Anna and the French Kiss, Lola, and the new cover of Isla. I was absolutely SO mad. I love the two original covers and was looking SO forward to seeing how Isla looked like, but now, just ugh.
      I really loved the old cover of Born Wicked. It matched the book 100% and I just don’t get the redesign. It looks ultra cheesy.
      And yes, the covers of Pandemonium and Requiem are like really? I was hoping they’ll show some kind of face evolution (if that even makes sense) since in Delirium, the girl looks young while the girl in Pandemonium looks a bit older, but Requiem just disappointed me.
      And yes, I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like Across the Universe! And why did they change the covers for that series THREE times, I just don’t get it.
      P.S. I think the publishers should publish the redesigns in hardcover too instead of just in paperback format. If it’s a book I really like, like let’s say, Anna and the French Kiss, I’ll be happy to use addition money on it. Or maybe just sell the redesign dust jacket for $2 or something.

      • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the Delirium series covers! I thought that was a rather unpopular opinion, haha, but yeah…

        Indeed, Across the Universe changed three times, which is just bizarre. Publishers, get your shit together, please. A little forethought!

        YES. Don’t they eventually have the redesign in hardcover though? Because, like Tahereh Mafi told me the old Shatter Me hardcover wasn’t being printed anymore – though you can still buy it on Amazon right now. But I assume after that runs out they’ll print new hardcovers… right? I am a fan of just selling the redesign dust jacket for cheap though. That shouldn’t be too much effort.

    9. I actually don’t mind cover redesigns as long as the new covers are better. It doesn’t bother me at all to have mismatched books(actually, I kinda like it. I feel like it gives me bookshelf an eclectic, cozy feel. But I know I’m like the only person on the planet who feels that way, it seems!). I do agree it’s annoying when covers are redesigned when the original covers are already beautiful AND do a good job portraying the contents of the book. I LOVE the new cover designs for Stephanie Perkin’s books. I only own one of her books and it’s a kindle book, but if I was going to buy a physical copy without knowing what the story is about, I’d be much more inclined to pick up the second set of covers.
      Thought I really dislike the Delirium trilogy cover redesigned. The original was kind of plain, but it was better than the generic girl’s face looking intense. I feel like half of Dystopia trilogies have similar covers(like the Uglies series) and I’m just not a fan of them at all.

      • Haha, that’s so cool that it doesn’t bother you though! I’m so jealous. This kind of makes me want to see people’s bookshelves.

        I think I agree with you about the new Stephanie Perkins covers. The old ones did look a bit more cliché teenage romance. Though that is what it is, the new ones are just design-wise much more creative. Wish they did more with the typography though. The font is so plain and boring.

        So glad someone else dislikes the Delirium covers! And yeah, the female face covers get on my nerves. Maybe even more than the girl in a dress covers – because there at least there’s variations in the dresses.

    10. “I can’t stand books being different heights when shelved next to each other.” < --- OMG, ME TOO! I have my shelves so the books go big to small. Shh, this is not weird. S'not. My problem with cover designs has to do with the combination of cover OCD and limited funds. I only buy hardback copies of books I know I love or really want to read. Otherwise I get them from the library because I’m poorer than dirt. So because I REALLY love the books I do buy, I’m REALLY invested in those books looking pretty as possible. Non-matching covers are not pretty. Right now, the ONLY series I have in hardback that isn’t completely released is Laini Taylor’s Smoke & Bone series. If they change those covers, I WILL SERIOUSLY KILL Little, Brown and die inside because OMG NO. Otherwise, I just wait until everything’s out in paperback so I’m 100% sure my covers will match. Been burned a million too many times to fall for that scheme.

      • Hahaha, I’m SO HAPPY I’m not the only one! I don’t have too much shelf space right now, but I think in the future I may be tempted to do the same.

        Yeah, like you, I try to resist buying hardback copies unless I know I love the whole series and will be rereading it. But some books lately have been so great that I broke my own rule. So I also have Smoke & Bone, but also Divergent, Shatter Me, Stormdancer, and Everneath. Those better not get redesigned.

    11. I hate it when they change the design. Lucky for me, I only have one series ruined (Across the Universe). What I’m more concerned about is the size. Since I’m not from US or UK, the books being sold here are usually of different sizes and texture and quality because they are different editions of the book. I’ve learned to watch out for release dates, little texts saying “international edition,” and comparing them with the sizes of other books (I even research first before buying a book). It’s a tedious task, but I do what I need to do to keep my books organized and pretty.

      • Oh, I can totally relate. I’m always really spastic about books in series being the same height as well. I make sure to check which edition I’m buying. It definitely is a chore though 🙁

    12. I totally agree – even with the different heights on the bookshelf thing! Being in the UK, the Across the Universe series has stayed with the same style of covers which is awesome. But the Legend series by Marie Lu got a UK cover for the first book, then switched and gave us the US versions. As for Lola and the boy next door, the original cover fits the story so much more.

      • Beth Revis actually wrote on her blog that the covers changed because at first dystopian was a big thing (duh) so they marketed them as that. Then it gradually faded and sci-fi is becoming popular, so they started marketing them that way instead. Here’s her post if you’re interested: Here!

      • Hmm, interesting about Across the Universe – I wouldn’t have thought about it being a dystopia with the first covers though. Someone else mentioned that they probably wanted to appeal to a male audience as well, and that I can see as solid reasoning. Thanks for your insight!

    13. I’ve read quite a few different bloggers’ posts about this, as well as lots of comments. If memory serves me right you are the first person to have mentioned the idea of allowing people who have the first (or second!) cover from pre-redesign to get a copy of the new dust jacket. I think that’s pretty darn brilliant!! There’s got to be a way that could work, right?! It doesn’t really help those who’ve bought a* paperback* with original cover prior to subsequent books in series being redesigned, but…at least it would make a large number if people happier! If you have any connections in the publishing world, you should out that bug in someone’s ear…. just sayin’.

      PS – I’m new to your blog, hopped over because Kara Malinczak said anyone who didn’t follow you should start 😉

      • Awww, thank you!! It’s surprising that nobody’s thought of this before… It definitely would work. And as a marketing person, just think of the renewed trust you get from your readers and… Haha, I will keep this in mind if I ever do get those publishing world contacts.

        EEP thank you!! That tweet just killed me, haha. So sweet. 🙂

    14. UGH. I absolutely hate when publishers change the covers. At least finish the series with the old covers first (like they did with Uglies) and THEN have the new designs come out. The whole not matching thing really irritates me.

      As for the Across the Universe covers… COME ON. Seriously?! The first covers were SO gorgeous.

      I actually really love the first designs of the Stephanie Perkins books. They’re adorably amazing and are what made me want to buy them 🙂 I’m not a huge fan of the new covers, sadly 🙁

      • Exactly!!! It’s so great to hear that there are other OCD book nerds like me. What they did with Uglies should be the standard. I mean. Come on.

        I like the first designs of Stephanie Perkins’s books, but I’m also a fan of minimalism, so I think I would really prefer the new covers… IF… they had used a nicer typography on the title. I mean, they really let go of some opportunities there.

    15. The Delirium series cover redesign bothers me the most. I also was not really a fan of the first cover, but I HATE the other covers! And it is one of my favorite series. On an aside, I even bought the PB version of the short stories, but the other three books I have are hard cover, so yes, my OCD goes into overdrive trying to shelve those books!

      I love your idea of publishers offering a new dust jacket for people that already own the series. Can we start a campaign?

      I also loved the cover of Across the Universe and was beyond disappointed when I finally read the book, so the other two have no place on my shelf, but it was a stupid redesign. The story was bad enough to keep me away, but the new covers just irk me even more.

      • Oh god, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who dislikes the Delirium covers. Sigh. They’re just so ordinary, but what bothers me the most is the girl’s expression. And I totally understand your OCD there, I would have that as well.

        Hahaha, I might need to start a campaign for that indeed. I mean, that can’t be too hard.

        Ooooh another person who doesn’t like Across the Universe! *high five* I was looking forward to seeing the third pretty cover though, so yeah, this was just awful.

    16. The Cahill Witch Chronicles was one of the biggest thorn on my side since forever! My Born Wicked was a signed copy so I can’t give it away but I don’t want my series to have different covers. Personally, I loved the original cover and it gave the book an old, witchy feel. The book actually looked like a grimoire.
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