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To HATE photographs on covers of novels

(33 Posts)
Summerbreezing Sat 03-May-14 20:48:39

Illustrations look so much better and still leave lots up to your imagination. Photographs just seem to ruin the whole fiction element of the book. And I particularly hate when an old children's book set, for instance, in the 1950s is reprinted with a photograph of a child in a hoodie and trainers. It just totally wrecks the whole atmosphere and setting of the story.

RabbitPies Sat 03-May-14 20:52:12

Illustrations can be just as bad. Look at the current covers of the St Clare's and Mallory Towers books.

JonesRipley Sat 03-May-14 20:53:23

I agree. I also try to avoid books that have got the film version of the cover. They look a bit cheap and nasty


Appletini Sat 03-May-14 20:54:52

YANBU. Much prefer illustrations.

curiousuze Sat 03-May-14 20:56:04

Worst is when they put a photo of the actor from the film they've made of the book on the cover.

Quangle Sat 03-May-14 20:57:16

Agree. And the film version people are not the people I picture and therefore it's annoying.

And agree about the Bratz style Malory Towers covers.

Agree with everything.

RabbitPies Sat 03-May-14 21:00:18

In the case of The English Patient I am not complaining. I'd much rather gaze upon the lovely Ralph Fiennes than a photo of a naked woman bending over a sink.

SirNoel Sat 03-May-14 21:04:03

My friend used to do book cover illustrations in the 90's, I used to model for him.

So yeah, I'm out there on some covers...looking all wistful and shit in dirndl skirts, headscarves etc

Summerbreezing Sat 03-May-14 21:10:18

But were you drawn wearing a jeans and t-shirt for a novel that's supposed to be set in the 19 frigging 30s?

SirNoel Sat 03-May-14 21:13:50

No definitely not- he used to get very particular about the clothes and stuff- I'd be like "can't you just paint over the (spice girl) shoes?"

Summerbreezing Sat 03-May-14 21:17:57

He sounds like the perfect illustrator. I wish more publishers would use him.

LadyMetroland Sat 03-May-14 21:19:46


This is a pet hate of mine too. Ruins the book and puts me off buying. I would rather buy a second hand copy off ebay. Worst is when they use stock vintage photos that aren't really relevant to the story. I bet authors are often fuming that their work is made to look so cheap.

Summerbreezing Sat 03-May-14 21:23:52

I try to support small bookshops as much as possible and hate to see them close down. But at the same time I hate buying a book with a cheap brash looking cover and will often go on line and look for an older version even if it costs a bit more with p&p (I live in Ireland).

RiverTam Sat 03-May-14 21:30:21

well, if you're all happy to pay even more for your books, then knock yourselves out. Because a commissioned illustration will be ££££s more than using stock photography from a photo library. I do literally mean possibly £1000. (I used to work in the art department of a publisher.) Of course a bespoke illustration is lovely - because it's original and has been done for that specific book. But it's expensive.

And whether you like it or not, the reason that a certain kind of photographic look is popular (and why publishers will always do a film-tie in cover, alongside the original so the snobs don't have to dirty their hands grin) is because it can sell, by the bucketload. Doubt the authors will be complaining when their royalty cheques come rolling in.

Childrens books are tricky - don't forget, you are not their audience, and what you think looks lovely could easily look boring and old-fashioned to a child or teenager. The Chalet School books I had all had very 60s/70s covers (Joey in a mini-tunic!), nothing like the originals - didn't stop me from buying them all.

Summerbreezing Sat 03-May-14 21:36:26

I loved appropriate covers when I was a child. I accepted books with modern covers, but that was never a selling point. The William books were reproduced a while back with a child in jeans and sweatshirt on a raleigh chopper style bike. The stories were set during the second world war. That's like selling a copy of Little Women with the March sisters wearing mini skirts and windcheaters. Ridiculous.

squoosh Sat 03-May-14 21:38:38

A current book cover hate of mine is the amount of books that shown an open gate leading into an overgrown garden. They're everywhere.

Get another metaphor people!

Quangle Sat 03-May-14 21:43:41

squoosh you are onto something there....

You should start up a tumblr thing like this one

Once I was onto the women laughing alone with salad concept I saw it everywhere and now the same will happen with the secret gate into the overgrown garden..

Summerbreezing Sat 03-May-14 21:47:41

Laughing at those salad photos. I wonder how they haven't appeared on reprints of Famous Five books. Weren't they always eating picnics of lettuce, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs donated from the local farmer's wife?

squoosh Sat 03-May-14 21:49:50

Love the women chortling over their romaine lettuce leaves! grin

A photo of me would be entitled 'woman gazes morosely at salad wishing it was a ham and cheese toastie'

squoosh Sat 03-May-14 21:52:43

Actually it's reminded me of another book cover hate! Cookery books these days all have a picture of the author causally preparing some delicious morsels whilst pretending to chuckle merrily at an imaginary person in their kitchen.

BOFster Sat 03-May-14 21:53:24

My pet hates are black and white photos of crying children trailing scruffy teddy bears on the covers of misery-lit books.

Summerbreezing Sat 03-May-14 21:54:21

Not to mention the pictures inside of the chef with picturesque kids; mismatched crockery; cool friends - with the recipe taking up a quarter of the page.

squoosh Sat 03-May-14 21:54:54

The jolly cooks would still just chuckle at the tear stained mites on grim misery lit book covers.

Summerbreezing Sat 03-May-14 21:55:55

And offer them some a goats cheese and beetroot torte on a vintage plate.

lionheart Sat 03-May-14 22:27:40

Absolutely squoosh. Gate closed means actually a bit boring.

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