Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,

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Judging a book by its cover.

I recently came across a video discussing how horror books have lost their identity through the constant republished cover art changes and publishers wanting to follow current trends.

And I knew others felt the same sentiment, but the video honestly really placed into words precisely my issue with the constant cover changes and trying to "fit in" with every other book on a bookshelf. Especially when it comes to genres like horror which, as explained in the video, has always had a very distinctive style. And not just book covers, but just about anything. I remember walking in a video rental store and browsing the horror section and being mesmerized by the insane VHS covers of some of the horror movies. Same with the artwork with book covers, even if I wasn't going to buy it there was something intriguing and eye-catching about it which would give me pause and pick it up to examine the art design. Whether it's pulp fiction or kid horror or just straight up horror, the fun was always the cover art and how it reflected the story within. You knew what you were getting into when you picked up the book. Nowadays though, that appreciation of the artwork and cover design has been lost, and almost every book seems to go for the minimalist appeal that is indistinguishable from everything else.

Take V.C. Andrews books, for example. I love V.C. Andrews books, and the artwork featured for the covers (and the stepback covers for earlier editions) have always captured the Gothic feel of the text inside, haunting and creepy and just mesmerizing, the drawings for the facial expressions of the characters can be unnerving or make you curious about what's going to happen. The covers always had something to do with the story inside. They had a specific and distinctive style that was undeniable. Whenever you saw a cover, you knew it was a VCA book. It was part of their identity. However, when you look at the recent reprinting of the older books, they are barely recognizable. It's now been replaced with an Instagram-looking model placed on a cheaply done photoshopped background. It hardly represents what the story is like. Perhaps it's because I hold these books dear to my heart, but it honestly makes me very upset seeing that.

I know that there's definitely more issues behind the curtain in the publishing industry, that it's probably much cheaper to copy & paste stock images onto covers than it would be to pay artists for doing a creative commissioned piece for a book, and that's incredibly sad. Still, publishers need to understand that not every book has to look exactly the same.
Tags: books
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