Thursday, 10 December 2015

Monkeys Throwing Faeces

A regular feature on this site used to be the mocking of the latest covers from Tutis, clueless pumpers-out of public domain books with wildly inappropriate covers (start here, get the whole horror show in these posts). But, sadly, their utter incompetence seems to have contributed to them going out of business, and for a long time the world of book design was a colder, darker, less colourful place.

But this morning my attention was drawn towards a new land of delights: the catalogue of Read Monkey, via this delightful cover, which suggests Dostoyevsky's grim classic is the tale of a couple of knockabout, clean-cut Irish lads getting up to a few harmless japes.



Aww, bless.

You might think this is as off-key as a cover could get. You would be wrong. Behold, Read Monkey's finest...
































I would put mocking captions to these, but it's just redundant. I like that, though some covers (like The Lost World) bear some relationship to their contents (though with completely the wrong tone), and with some (like Life on the Mississippi) you can sort of reconstruct the "thought" processes that lead to them, others (like The Return of the Native) defy any sort of explanation. And the Captain America version of Thoreu, along with the rest of these, just made me think of this classic comic frame...


12 comments:

Jonathan said...

Wow! Those are amazingly bad. Even if they've decided on the cover from the title alone I still can't see why they've got a stoned slacker on the cover of 'A Connecticut Yankee'!

matthew. said...

I can't look away

Drew said...

Wow, horribly good...although Edgar Allan Poe might be fair.

Das Funk said...

Perhaps I'm reading the Amazon listings wrong, but Read Monkey seems to exclusively sell digital (e-Reader) editions of the classics - which would mean that these "covers" are virtual, existing only for the purposes of 'advertising' the Read Monkey edition. If that's true, the gambit is obviously working.

It's not like you're going to see these on the shelf at the airport newsstand.

imnotandrei said...

What I want to know, I admit, is what the "illustrations" on the inside are.

Random pages taken from comic books? Or perhaps a 1936 Sears Catalog?

ellen kirkendall said...

I am also wondering what kind of illustrations are included in these editions. Insane.

JRSM said...

According to someone who has looked inside: "What's weird to me is that the illustrations inside are your normal "moody seascape" type paintings, the things you'd expect to see on a cheap classics edition. So, on this War and Peace, you've got the crazy-ass desert camo on the cover, but inside the illustrations...well, they aren't fitting, really, but they are at least a stab at the right century?"

Geranium Incognito said...

Boy! These are fascinating. I've spent far too much time trying to figure out the logic behind them. Obviously, the covers weren't chosen to fit the contents. My guess is that they're chosen to appeal to people looking for some escapist reading and who are unfamiliar with the classics. E.g., maybe they hope that young women looking for a "Bridget Jones" type of book will pick The Iron Heel by Conrad because the cover of a ditzy woman with shopping bags leads them to believe that the word 'heel' in the title refers to high heels. The publishers probably figure they'll sell more books that way, since vastly more people are looking for books like Bridget Jones than for classics.

Obviously, buyers would be in a for a big disappointment once they actually startd reading the books. But that's not the publisher's problem. They're just looking to make a buck.

I'd love to hear what the publishers have to say.

Anyway. It's very funny.

marly youmans said...

Amusing start to the year... thanks for these. It's hard to come up with a favorite. Maybe Mayor of Casterbridge as Humpty Dumpty? Or the little motorboat for Twain?

Jehanine said...

As I discovered when asked to choose an image for one of my books, this is what you get if you go to a free clip-art site, type in the title and then pick a result at random.

Gigi Kiersten said...

Wow, that is some truly horrendous book covers, and the book lover in me especially was wincing at the Litttle Women book cover. Little Women happens to be one of my favorite books, and that cover artist didn't do it even a bit justice.

shagbark said...

These are probably all selected by computer, using the words from the title. These books probably go up for sale on Amazon without any human intervention once they start the scrape & post script running.

I'd find it more helpful to look at bad cover designs done by humans. I'm not going to make any of the mistakes those computers did.