Friday, September 30, 2011

New UK Cover! And General Thoughts on Covers

HarperCollins UK designed a new Divergent cover!

For those of you wondering why there's a new cover, this is the B format paperback edition, to be published in February 2012. This is the equivalent of when books are published first in hardcover and then in paperback in the States-- sometimes covers change between hardcover and paperback here (or rather, there, because I'm in Romania), and sometimes covers change between trade paperback and B format paperback in the UK.

There are a lot of reasons this happens. As far as I know, it's to make a book more appealing to readers who haven't picked it up yet. For example, you might have been one of the people who saw the first cover in a bookstore and went all grabbyhands on it. The person browsing books next to you might have looked right past it, but she might go all grabbyhands on the new one.

I think of covers and flap copy (the book summary on the inside flap or the back cover) as either windows or walls. A cover that is a window allows you to "see inside" the book before you ever open it-- it gives you a sense of the tone of the book, and what the story might be like. A cover that is a wall prevents you from seeing the book as it is, and keeps you from picking it up, or from seeing it as it really is inside. Ideally, you want all your covers to be windows, right? But the problem is, this is a highly subjective thing. A cover might be a window to one reader and a wall to another. So a cover re-design helps to resolve that problem.

So, yes: Divergent is a book that is accurately represented by a bold fiery symbol and a skyline and a gathering storm. But it is also about a girl who is somewhat isolated, in character if not literally, who marks herself with the figurative representation of one of her worst fears (the birds). This design emphasizes something different about the story, which I loved seeing.

Other things I like: you can't see the girl's face, so you still get to imagine her, yet she looks sort of scrappy like Tris is. And the birds! Of course I love the birds. And the color is eye-catching.

So, UKers: I hope you like it!


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