Wednesday 24 October 2007

Cover Changes

When you're the sort of sad person who pores over publisher catalogues you sometimes spot interesting changes in cover design between the original announcement and the final book. Sometimes they're improvements; sometimes not. Either way, the original designs disappear from the web and are never seen again. This is a shame when they were good.

Two examples from Penguin are shown here. The first is the rejigging of the cover to Eileen Chang's Lust, Caution (Chang's work having been discussed earlier here and here).

Presumably the idea was to capitalise on Ang Lee's movie with a still from the film on the cover. Though the image itself is fine, and avoids the usual movie tie-in cover pitfalls (ie hideous ugliness and instant datedness), I can't help feeling that the original was more beautiful and eye-catching.

The second example is Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men.

Part of the reason for this must have been to update the book to fit the new Modern Classics look. The first image was from the classic 1949 movie. The second, very wisely, is not from the widely panned 2006 remake. The new cover is more dynamic, and probably better, though the simplicity of the original image of John Ireland has a certain appeal.

Which versions of these books would you be more likely to pick up?

UPDATE: The original Lust, Caution cover features Anna May Wong--see this post for more.


loren said...

just like you labeled it, original of the eileen, revised of the kings

JRSM said...

Loren, you're a woman of taste.

John Self said...

Yes, the Chang has suffered in the revision. The companion volume, Love in a Fallen City is much closer to the original Lust, Caution fortunately.

Readymade said...

I think the Ang Lee movie's great, but I didn't want a promo still version of the book. Unfortunately they only seem to sell those here in Singapore =p

JRSM said...

Same here--that original unused cover is still the winner. Shame it will go unpublished. In fact, looking at it now, I realise it's a picture of Anna May Wong! See