Do You Like When Book Covers Get New Designs?

April 4, 2015 Discussions 8

Looking at my bookshelves, I see a theme. When a book I love gets so fragile that it needs to be replaced, if I loved the cover or just really liked it, I have to replace the book with a book of the same cover. Some books I’ve replaced three or more times over the years, and always it’s had the same cover as the first book no matter how many years ago I acquired said book.

Unless of course I didn’t like that cover. Or a new incarnation appeared with a cover that made me fall in love.

But some books change their cover art so often it makes me dizzy. Then too, it’s hard to tell at a glance if I own that book already. New cover? Completely different from the last cover I saw? I have to pick it up and read the back of the book just to be sure that it isn’t a book I already own. Maybe the title just sounds familiar because it’s similar to some other series? Nope. Same book, cover option number eight million and one.

Case in point. This is one of my favorite of the Pern books. Cover #1 is the one I always look for when I have to replace the book. Cover #2 I saw in a used bookstore recently. It’s not bad, I suppose I could live with it if I had to, but it doesn’t fit the book as well as #1 or #3. Cover #4? Not so much. I’d be tempted to glue the cover from my beloved falling apart book onto #4 if that one ended up in my house as a ‘replacement’ book. Cover #3 I don’t have a strong opinion on either way. Except to say that Menolly has nine firelizards not five, and red is not a color of dragon or firelizard on Pern…


Dragonsong cover 1


Dragonsong cover 2


Dragonsong cover 3


Dragonsong cover 4


You could put this down to my not liking change (though sometimes I do.) But mostly it’s just annoyance that ‘they’ (whomever ‘they’ are) can’t leave a good cover alone. Always thinking it needs improvement or change, or something. I also wonder who’s idea it was to change the covers so often. Is it a “this book is x-years old, time for a new cover!” or did they actually ask readers opinions? Somehow I doubt they’d ask us. But you never know I guess.

And it’s not just that particular book. I just picked it because I knew there were at least 4 different cover art pictures. *grins* And don’t get me started on having to have a new cover just because the book got turned into a movie/tv show/whatever. So now it MUST have the lead actor/actress on the cover! Usually with way too large font talking about the movie, and itty bitty font telling you the name of the book. Or with a cover image of something that happened ONLY in the movie and didn’t happen at all in the book.

Oh, wait. I wasn’t supposed to go into the movie covers rant… *snickers* So!


When a book gets a new cover design at the drop of a hat, how do you decide which cover wins out? Do you buy them all? One cover per book type? (IE. hardback, trade paperback, special release, etc.) Refuse to buy a book if it doesn’t have the cover you’ve been attached to? Or do you not care at all as long as the cover isn’t horribly ugly?

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8 Responses to “Do You Like When Book Covers Get New Designs?”

  1. Liza Barrett

    I hate it when series change covers constantly. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves — I want all of my books from the same series to have the same kind of cover. Poison Study changed its cover type after the first book, and my set is mis-matched. There are times that I want to go replace the first book with the newer format, but I’m attached to the original!
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    • SilvaraWilde

      That is definitely a problem for me as well. Sometimes I’ll go to buy the next book in the series, and have to do a double-take. And then decide if I want it enough to buy it even though the cover doesn’t look like the other books at all.

  2. Shannon @ The Tale Temptress

    I have to rant about this one too. I hate it when they change book covers so much. And they’ve gotten really bad about it. They’re changing them non-stop. You’ve got the original, then they update it. Then it becomes a movie and they’ve got yet another. Ugh! I really don’t like that.

    I usually like the original unless the updated one is just too cool for words to describe. I will NEVER buy the movie cover unless they just don’t make the other covers anymore. I don’t want to see the actors on my book covers, because those actors usually don’t agree with what I imagine those characters look like. I prefer my fantasy to hollywood’s physical idea of the character. I want the original.

    Shannon @ The Tale Temptress
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    • SilvaraWilde

      *nods* Me too! Usually the way I picture the character in my head, is nothing like how the actor/actress looks. Unless I’ve been dragged to see the movie before I’ve been able to read the book. Even then, I’d rather have a non-movie cover.

  3. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    Funny, #4 is the one I grew up with and looked for specifically when I needed to replace my copy. I love the stylized Art Deco look. Otherwise, sometimes cover redesigns are an improvement, sometimes not – but it really jars on me when they change styles midway in a series and then nothing matches.
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    • SilvaraWilde

      I don’t mind art deco usually, it’s just that it doesn’t fit well with the contents of the book in my opinion. That book is all about Menolly and firelizards, as well as the Harper Hall and all. And cover #2 and cover #4 don’t really reflect that. I like when covers are pretty, and true to what’s inside.

      I have a book by a different author, that has the main female character on the cover. And she’s blonde with curly hair. But when you read the book you find out the character has dark straight hair! So that cover irks me even though it’s pretty.

      And yes, I hate when covers change in the middle of a series. It bugs me to look at them all together and not have them even slightly matching.

  4. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I don’t love it when my covers get changed, but I actually don’t mind when really old covers are modernized. For instance, I have to confess that I started the Pern series (my mom ADORED it), but never got past the first book. That cover #2 – it actually makes me want to read the book. I know, I know – don’t judge a book by its cover – but I can’t help it!! Like, literally, I want to go find that book right now. Sad. So, maybe different covers will appeal to different people and therefore result in more sales. (Oh, but cover #4 – just horrible.)

    Same goes for movie covers. I’m not a huge fan, but I can see how they would bring in a whole slew of readers who are familiar with the movie who might not have given the book a thought otherwise. Even just seeing their favorite actor on the cover might pull some people in. So, I can’t judge publishers for cashing in on that.
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    • SilvaraWilde

      I actually really like cover #2, just… not for that book. *laughs* That particular book is all about Menolly who is a Harper, and her 9 firelizards. So cover #2 is a bit misleading I feel, since it shows a dragon, and the book centers more on the Harper Hall and the firelizards than on the dragons.

      I do totally see your point though. And I’m all for getting more people to read, it just irks me that covers seem to change so often! Whenever I see a cover I absolutely love, I can just about guarantee that if I don’t buy that one, there will be a new cover I don’t like as much.

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