June 15, 2010

Let's Compare Book Covers, Shall We?

Since I talked about my favorite YA covers in yesterday's post, I thought I'd continue with this discussion of cover art. After all, comparing covers is pretty fun! Right, right?!

So here are some side-by-side comparisons of US covers compared with their UK counterparts. I have to admit that I'm sort of partial to the US covers--I am American after all!--but some of the UK ones are looking pretty good as well.

1.) THE HUNGER GAMES (US cover on the left, UK cover on the right)

Oh man, I totally agree with Kaitlin Ward on this one. Eeek! That UK cover is seven shades of awful. I'm totally not a fan of the picture of Katniss or the huge "HG" letters emblazoned in the center. I wasn't too fond of the US cover, but now it's looking quite lovely.

2.) SHIVER (US cover at top, UK cover at bottom)

Here's another "Eek!" moment for me. (Thanks to Nomes for the tip!) Huh, that UK cover kind of freaks me out. It reminds me of scary stuff like demons and vampires--which would be fine if the book was a horror novel...but it's not. Sure, SHIVER is a tale about werewolves, but the heart of the novel lies in the romance between Sam and Grace. Thus, I don't think the UK cover really captures what the book is about.

3.) THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH (US cover at top, UK cover at bottom)

So what do you guys think about these covers? For me, I find the US cover more eye-catching since I distinctly remember seeing it at the bookstore. This cover drew me in enough to check out the jacket flap and then to read the book. I do like the UK cover as well, even if it's a bit understated.

4.) CHAINS (US cover at top, UK at bottom)

Admittedly, the US cover of CHAINS is one of my absolute favorites in the MG genre. When I first saw it at the bookstore, I simply had to pick it up and take a closer look. It truly is cover art, rather than a mere cover.

Hmm, I'm kind of torn about the UK one. On one hand, I love the strength that this picture conveys, but on the other hand it seems a bit unfinished to me.

5.) NUMBERS (US cover at top, UK at bottom)

Okay, here's an example where I prefer the UK cover over the US one. There's nothing wrong with the US cover, but I simply love the creativity behind the UK cover art, especially the unique play on numbers and letters.

6.) TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (US cover at top, UK at bottom)

I thought I'd throw in a classic just for kicks...

I think it's really fascinating to compare the differences between these covers. The US version is actually a reissue of the first edition cover art, and I'm sort of in love with it--from the vintage lettering to the lovely tree. Just beautiful.

I do like the simplicity of the UK cover too. I mean, a book like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD doesn't need a fancy schmancy cover to attract new readers. It's one of those iconic books that will get read generation upon generation simply because it's a classic.

What do y'all think? Which covers do you like or dislike? Do you find yourself preferring the US covers over the UK ones? Or vice versa?


  1. Being Australian, we mostly get the Uk versions, sometimes, US and sometimes out own.

    Hunger Games: I like the Uk. Probably just b/c that's the one I own. Although Katniss does look a little young in it.

    Shiver: I think the US one captures the story well - soft and romantic and matched the winter feel and the literary writing. Nnot sure what they were thinking with the UK one?

    I like the US Forest of hands and teeth better (I like the paperback one even more though) I have the UK one, and I still can't figure out what the red thing is supposed to be? or mean? I don;t get it...?

    I like the US chains as well. We have a different one altogether here - a red background with an illustration.

    And I think the US numbers is really striking.

    Not sure about to kill a mocking bird???

    Nice post :) I love looking @ different covers :)

  2. Oh my gosh- before I read your commentary on The Hunger Games covers I thought, "Yuck! That other cover is just awful!"

    The German one from yesterday is the best, but you're right- the U.S. one doesn't seem so bad now.

  3. I preferred the US covers for all of the examples. That's probably because I'm from the US though! I'd be interested to hear what UK readers think, because presumably UK publishers have done marketing studies on what covers UK readers prefer.

    Cool post!

  4. Hunger Games -- I'm seriously in love with the covers for the entire series. I love how each book reflects the same theme of the Mockingjay pin in a slightly different way. I don't like the UK cover at all. I think I would like it a little more if you could actually READ the "HG" but not much.

    Shiver -- I agree with you on this one. The UK cover looks more like a horror novel while the US one really reflects the romance and the whole winter theme.

    The Forest of Hands and Teeth -- I love both of them. I haven't actually read this book (yet, I bought it on my last excursion to the bookstore) so I'm just going on eye appeal here. Both covers are gorgeous in their own way, though the UK one makes me thin more of classics and historical type things. They still have an eerie feeling with them though that I think they were going for.

    Chains -- I agree that the US one is an example of cover art, but I still think I'd be more likely to pick up the UK one even if it does look a little unfinished. The US one is almost too MG and arty for my taste. I've gotten spoiled by the beautiful, flashy covers all over the shelves lately.

    Numbers -- Honestly, I don't like the UK one nearly as much as the US ones. The US one is kind of creepy and I seriously love that. The UK one is a lot harder to read and has too much white space for my taste. I don't get the same feel from it as I do from the US one.

    Mockingbird -- I love them both. They're both beautiful and simple, perfect for the book inside.

  5. Forest of Hands and Teeth -- both covers are gorgeous, but the UK one reminds me a little too much of Twilight... :/

    P.S. - I gave you a blog award :)

  6. Wow, such great comments, everyone! Thank you and keep them coming!

    Nomes - Huh, it's so interesting to me that books in Australia may have the US cover or the UK one. I wonder who decides this? And when do the editors ask for a completely new cover?

    Stephanie - Haha. I'm glad I'm not alone in my confusion over the UK cover of THE HUNGER GAMES! Definitely not my fave...

    Lynn - Yeah, I'm definitely interested to hear what UK readers think about these covers! I think it would be really fascinating to talk to the art departments of different publishing houses abroad and to get their take on what covers work in their countries and what don't.

    Horserider - Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It was really interesting for me to read what covers you preferred and why. You know, I've grown to like the covers for THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy once the sequels were revealed. I like how all of the covers work together in their symbols and color scheme.

    Ellen - Awww, THANK YOU! I've never received a blog award before. :o)