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…
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?