Discussion: Ever-changing Book Covers

with Isalys and Jen

Welcome to our first segment of Coffee Talk! We created this feature to discuss stuff we had on our minds. Sometimes it might be a vent session. Sometimes it might be a squee session. Hell, sometimes it might even be a ramble session. Whatever it turns into we’ll try to make it one helluva good time.
Today’s topic is:
What’s up with publishers changing all these covers?!
Jen: Being the cover lover that I am, often times I buy a book solely on what the cover looks like. Most of the time I end up really loving the book (lucky for me) which causes me go into full on research mode. So if this book ends up belonging to a series you can bet your right butt cheek that I have combed the vast expanse of the interwebs for the cover to the next book(s). After seconds, minutes or hours I finally manage to lay eyes on what more often than not is an amazeballs cover. All shiny and pretty and stuff. And then something really bizarre happens. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, someone decides that the cover needs to be changed. Not just minor changes to say the font or something. Oh no. That would be crazy. I’m talking changes to the ENTIRE cover. This thing that was once so shiny and pretty and stuff has been morphed into something that defies logic. Why?!?! Why, why why?!?! *shakes fists at the heavens*

Isa: What about the left butt cheek? I assume you don’t want to bet that one ‘cuz then you’d be left with no butt cheeks and what kind of life would that be? Am I right?

Anyhooizzle! I present to you, Exhibit A: Belladonna by Fiona Paul. On the left, I give you the original cover. The colors. The font. The lighting. The lovely girl/woman on the cover in a sultry pose yet mysterious enough not to ruin your already established mental image of our heroine Cassandra. It’s all lovely, IMHO. And most importantly, IT MATCHES THE FIRST BOOK! *breathe* Now the image on the right *sneers* is the NEW cover with it’s rudimentary Photoshopping. Oh sure, let’s just take that tiny Venetian bridge hiding in the back of the original cover, blow that bitch up and start overlapping some romantical stock images. Voila!


I swear, it’s like I’m reliving the atrocity that was Nightshade and Wolfsbane all over again *headdesk*

*rolls up a newspaper* Bad publisher! Bad, bad publisher!

Jen: Oh, my dear Isa, it would be quite a miserable life indeed. *sigh* Oh, and when you’re done with that newspaper hand it over so I can get a couple of licks in. *gets in batting stance*

Anykerfuffle, all kidding aside I would like to meet the person in charge of these often times horrendous decisions, look him/her in the eye and slap the face off their heads. Okay, fine perhaps that’s a wee bit violent but an interrogation is going down and it ain’t going to be pretty. Don’t these pubs have people in charge of making sure their people don’t make BAD decisions? Because if they do they’re FAILING miserably. It’s a plot to rob us blind I tell ya. They have to know that I can’t possibly tolerate owning a series whose covers don’t match. Of course they do. Why else would they do such a silly thing?!

Isa: My theory is that this is all an evil marketing ploy into tricking us into...oh, I don’t know what because this accomplishes nothing but sticking in my craw (<-did I use that correctly?) (Just looked it up and yes you did.)

Now in the case of Belladonna, the lovely Ginger from GReads! came to my rescue by passing along her ARC. THANK YOU, G! YOU RULE! However, I have too many other books on my shelves that are part of a series and no longer match (eg: Shatter Me (1 vs 2), Delirium (1 vs 2 & 3), Shade ( 1 & 2 vs 3) and note that these changes follow absolutely no pattern whatsoever) and I am not happy about this!

"Dear Publishers,

This is just a friendly reminder that we bookworms are not just readers, but COLLECTORS as well! Our fully stocked shelves are a source of pride for us. These books are our babies and included in the list of “Top 3 things we’d save if our house caught fire” so on behalf of the Reading Community, I beseech you to STOP redesigning the covers and messing up our collections. I can deal with you changing the cover when going from HC to PB but it must end there. No mas changing the cover within the same print type!

An annoyed Isa who cannot afford in money or space to own multiple sets of one series because you guys cannot make up your minds about what covers you want to print!”
Jen: *golf clap* Well said my friend. Well said. So we’ve bashed on the pubs quite a bit and I definitely don’t want to end this on a negative note. Even though there are several series that have suffered the bad cover change up I’m sure there’s just as many that haven’t, right? Can you think of any books or series where the covers were changed for the better?

Isa: Actually, some of the titles I mentioned above weren’t “bad” changes. I really dig the new Shatter Me covers. The new Delirium covers aren’t too shabby either and make the original look plain by comparison. Oh, and I like the new Vincent Boys and Vincent Brothers covers because hot boys on covers is always a win! In these instances, it’s not that the changes were bad, it was that the changes were done MID-series to the same print version (hardcover vs hardcover) or (paperback vs paperback).
Jen: See. We can be nice.*wink wink*

Now it's your turn! We know that this topic has gotten on more than one nerve lately so feel free to RANT, VENT, BITCH, MOAN about this...or whatever comes to ya. We're here for you! You can let it all out.


  1. I agree with all of the above and as a collector who is a bit OCD I cannot handle when publishers change the cover mid series. I need my books to match!! Other than that I'm not too picky about covers though.

  2. They changed the Across the Universe covers at like the last book I think! I have not read the books, but I own the first 2. So the last one would stick out. I cannot stand when pubs change them! If they want to change them, FINE do it for the paperback editions! My Shatter Me cover now look weird side by side. At least with the Delirium covers, they came out with the new cover in Hardback as well! So all my covers in that series match! My OCD hates mixed up covers. Stick to ONE design for each HARDBACK, and PAPERBACK!
    End Rant!

  3. I don't mind changes, changes could be good, but I hate when it's done mid-series for no apparent reason. Fine, change it for the PB, but don't mess with the HCs too! Across The Universe had nice covers, same for Immortal Rules, The Hunt and Belladonna! Whyyyyy change it?! Ugh... Great coffee talk, ladies!!!

  4. I can understand changing the cover from HC to Paperback or Trade to Mass Market but just changing because ______(fill in the blank with the reason) drives me nuts. I am not so much the collector that needs them to stay the same or even be the same size BUT if I have to search to double check it is part of a series that I have been reading then you bet your sweet bottom that my panties are in a wad :)

  5. I totally agree with everything that both Isa and Jen said above...I'm so tired of the "generic" covers - the example Isa used of Belladona is a prime example...the original cover is 100 times better - and it's also sexier...I feel like because a certain series (50 Shades) was popular that the publishers are all going to those generic type covers and I hate, hate, hate them! And yes, I would have a bitch slap session with the head of marketing...lol

  6. @Jenn - I'm starting to notice an 'OCD' trend among us book collectors. ;)

    @Loretta - I agree with the one cover for HB and one cover for PB idea. It would avoid me wanting to go postal on someone.

    @Evie - Thanks Evie! Glad you enjoyed.

    @Felicia - You bring up a good point. I hadn't even thought about how changing a cover could through someone off regarding the series.

    @Maria - I hope they don't start going the generic route. I would so join in on that bitch slap session.

  7. Yeah I am not a fan of cover changer myself. The totally big and different ones can be annoying; like Maria Snyder's Study Trilogy, what was up with that one?! A cover change at book 3? And plus it took the beauty away from it all!

    Another is in Nicole Peeler's Jane True series, what's up with those little changes on the first 3 books? What was the point? Book 1 changed totally by zeroing in on Jane's face and cutting out her body and the scenery. The others had color changes and focus point changes. Don't care for it, but glad I still have my copies of the original ones!

    Taking an opposite turn, I do like the cover changes to Jess Haines' H&W Investigations series. The first cover wasn't bad. It was average and kinda badass, but then the next 2 were kind of crummy looking. It was like a bad cartoon. I do love the look of the latest book and soon to come one! The cover is vastly different yet so much more gorgeous and gives Shiarra some character, makes her look more real instead of a shady cartoon image.

    Okay, think I rambled enough! I could probably think of lots more cover art changes that annoyed me but you probably don't want to read an essay! Bad enough I wrote this long comment! ;)

  8. I totally agree, it's one of the worst things they can do. I cannot stand my shelves not matching and I certainly can't afford to re-buy the whole series, and besides if my original covers are all pretty and shiny why would I want to replace them with the new horrors (in some cases)

    They may think they are making money by making us re-buy the series, but for me, I tend to just stop buying (as I said I can't afford/don't want to change ones I already have) and I don't want odd sets, so i just stop buying them. I end up just borrowing the book from the library to read then giving it back.

    My example is Beth Revis' 'Across the Universe' series, book 1 was beautiful, book 2 weird now they released book 3 in a new design and re-released book 1 & 2. So not impressed, new design is nothing like the beauty of the original starry book 1.

    Great to have a little rant, thanks for posting this, and when you are both done with that rolled up paper - can I have a go? :D

  9. Similar vein, different approach:
    Can we ever BUY the cover art as prints? I mean, I'd take it even with the title and author name...some of those covers are works of friggin' art, and some I've enjoyed FAR, FAR more than the book itself. I don't care if my series matches (I give my books away via RAK right after I read them) but I want to gaze lovingly at the pretties. All the time. :)

  10. @Jessica - Ramble away sister. We love a good chit chat. ;-) I agree with you on the H&W Investigations series. Those first few were a bit sketchy. Although mid series cover changes suck it's kind of cool when the change is for the way better.

    @BarmyBex - I'm with you. If the change is horrible then I'm discouraged from purchasing as well. It makes me sad. *passes rolled up newspaper* Have at it. ;-)

    @Beth - Ooohhh...I like where you went with that. I would love to own some of my favorite covers as prints. I think if you find out who the cover artist is you might be able to find out if they have the prints for sale.

  11. I absolutely hate having mismatched covers. I hardly ever by hardcovers so that I don't have mismatch of hardcovers and pb. So when they change covers I get so mad. And worse yet, when they only change some the present cover on. So the first few copies are different and I can't replace them. So i have recently decided, not buying my books til the series is done and out! hmph. I love libraries!


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