Saturday, 14 June 2008

A tale of two covers



Now for a world exclusive. Well, perhaps I’m getting carried away – but I hope you may be interested in the proposed paperback cover for Waterloo Sunset (lower image)which was sent to me yesterday afternoon. If for no other reason than that it is so very different from the dust jacket of the hardback edition (upper image.) In fact, it could scarcely be more different.

Why would a publisher make such a radical change? Good question. It isn’t because the hardback sales have fallen below expectations (thank goodness.) Rather, I think it’s because the paperback market is very different from the hardback market, and it’s thought that the more dramatic red and black cover, with a change of font, will grab the attention of prospective readers.

Will it work? Well, who knows? But it looks good to me.

10 comments:

Kerrie said...

I think I like the paperback one better Martin - seems warmer somehow

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Kerrie. It's inevitably subjective (and I liked the hardback cover a lot) but I think my reaction is the same.

Martin Edwards said...

Though it occurs to me to add that the small picture of the paperback cover doesn't do it full justice.

Juliet said...

A much stronger, more punchy design, and fantastic use of colour. What could be more eye-grabbing? I'm convinced it will work extremely well.

maxine said...

I like both covers. I think the paperback one is designed to be more like the "Ian Rankin", "Harlan Coben" "Robert Crais" style of cover, whreas the hardback is not like anything else. Which makes me wonder if the hardback is designed for general readers and the paperback for people looking for a "genre" crime fiction/thriller novel?

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these comments. It's an intereting question as to whether the readership is very different in make-up for hardbacks as compared to paperbacks. Of course, only a fraction of readers buy hardbacks and some would say they are going out of fashion. But I like them.

crimeficreader said...

HBs and PBs certainly have a different market. HBs also find themselves on the shelves of collectors and those who simply like to keep for the beauty value. I'm one of the HB brigade.

Not keen on the HB cover which is a bit too clean, sterile and does not suggest "crime" to me, but the colour format seems popular at the moment: think Minette Walter's The Chameleon's Shadow. Mark Billingham's publisher went down the white route, but recently returned his novels to dark covers. Perhaps some other publishers need to catch up.

But I do love the cover of the PB. It's very Liverpool with the skyline given a colour that suggests something edgy, something urban thriller.

I spent a few days working in Liverpool a few years ago. The people were lovely and very hospitable. Apart from one taxi driver who did not make a good champion for the city. He could find the negative in absolutely anything and regaled the lot (incessantly) during my journey. I didn't tip him.

Jilly said...

I actually like both covers but I do think the paperback is very dramatic and eye catching. It also says Liverpool to me. I've stayed at various times in the Atlantic Tower (Thistle Hotel)and have spent very many evenings just gazing at the panoramic view over the river as darkness fell.

Debi said...

Looks good to me too. Looks gorgeous in fact!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Debi. All this feedback is really helpful. And interesting.