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Friday, 22 June 2012

Why on earth...?

I've been shelving the newest purchases at the library. I found a new Shona MacLean, which was a nice surprise, but I did start to wonder what has happened to book covers and book blurbs.

They are all the same!

Historical novels have a photograph type cover, usually a female in fancy dress, or part dress, and nearly always made to look sexy despite the title of the book or its contents.If it's a male on the cover he has to be unshaven and brooding, leaning against something with a sexy scowl. Oh yes, the shirt's half open, of course. The title will be scrawled illegibly in imitation of a quill pen's writing or old style printing press printing.

If the genre is vaguely chick lit then the cover has what I call stick drawings of people, usually women. It's not quite a cartoon style cover but getting close. Murder Mysteries have brooding landscapes, Cozy detective stories have village scenes.

But no matter what the cover pictures the darned words are always the same. 'Best Seller', 'Must Read', 'Unforgettable', 'The Read of the Year' on every book.

Really?

Don't tell me what I must read. And if the book's a best seller how come all the others are too? What does a best seller really mean? Why can't we have more blurbs which tell the story without all the screaming puffery?

So many books don't even carry a blurb any more. I can't tell what they are about. If I have to delve into the book itself then it's bye bye book. It's obviously not my style with its half naked couple on the cover, and a MUST READ shouting on the back cover.

I reckon the publisher who goes back to plain coloured, gilded tooled leather (well, look alike tooled leather) covers with clear legible titles and actually has a plot description blurb which matches the contents of the book is on to a winner.

2 comments:

Sandra Patterson said...

Good post. Generic cover art is a bugbear of mine. All those waxed torsos and near pornographic poses are such a turn off!

pdr lindsay said...

Hello, Sandra, how're you doing?

There's a classic rotten cover on 'The Redemption of Alexander Seaton'. The Penguin cover is a hand reaching out of the cover towards the reader. The sleeve and cuff are correctly 1623 and it looks like a beseeching gesture. The American cover is a sulky, shirt open young man who looks more in need of a good thump than redemption! I know I would never have read the book with the American cover!