Skip to main content

Judge A Book By It's Cover: Hardcover to Paperback

Sometimes paperback covers can be for the better and sometimes they can be for the worse. Here are some  recent cover changes I've seen:

First up, Code Name Verity, a book that is near and dear to my heart.

That shiny sticker looks so pretty, doesn't it? I like this cover, but the paperback is really growing on me:

I'll admit at first I hated it, but the more I look at it the more I like it. There's just something so beautiful about this cover. 

Here's another one I really like. The hardcover for The Catastrophic History of You and Me makes sense with the book, but I just don't like the way it looks as a whole and I'm not sure why. I think it's the fact that I don't like the dress.

But I really like this paperback cover, even if it does look a bit like other covers. It's just simple and beautiful  

Here's one I really dislike. I love the hardcover for Keeping the Castle:

But the paperback looks so childish!

It really looks more like a middle grade novel now and the main character looks so young and a bit Disney character-ish. It's a cute cover, just not for this book.

Here's another cover change I'm not a huge fan of. I really liked the hardcover for Throne of Glass:

It looks like it's got a cool kick butt girl on the cover. 

And now here's the new paperback:

I guess she still looks pretty kick butt, but she looks like a cross between Lara Croft and an anime character. I almost expect the content inside to be a graphic novel.

Ok, let's talk about the evolution of a cover over the years. What My Mother Doesn't Know was one of the first books I read when I started reading YA lit and it remains one of my favorites. Here's the original cover from 2001 that I checked out from my library:

The cover got a makeover in 2003 in paperback:

And here's the latest cover makeover for 2013:

I have to say I like all three covers, even if the last one does look a bit like all the other contemporary YA covers that are coming out right now. I do like how it looks with the sequel, What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know:

Now for a book that's new but that has still undergone a complete makeover. Here's the original hardcover for Gilt:

Now, the paperback that was supposed to be:

But that paperback isn't happening and it's had yet another makeover. Here's the newest paperback cover:

Author Katherine Longshore has a great blog post about the evolution of her covers and why they changed.

I think all three covers are great and really like the new paperback look.

So what do you think of these cover changes? Good or bad?


  1. FWIW, the "paperback" cover of Throne of Glass now merely matches the cover they've been using overseas all along. (Which I always thought was better, anyway). Maybe TOG did better overseas and now they are switching the covers to match.

    1. I can see how they match the book, but they look so manga to me. Maybe if I had seen that cover first I would like it more. I think it's another one, like Verity, that's growing on me a bit.

      Also, can I tell you I had a minor freak out when I saw you were the first person to comment? :)

  2. I can't stand the Gilt hardcover. I'm glad they're changing it (again) as I don't think looking up someone's nose is all that attractive in a book cover.

    1. That's so true Sarah! It is an odd angle. I like the new cover.

  3. I wasn't a fan of the hardcover for Gilt but hopefully the new paperback will draw readers.

    I loved the original cover for Code Name Verity-very dramatic! The new cover doesn't appeal to me as much.

    I think Keeping the Castle will draw younger readers with that new cover. I don't like it but if it means more of an audience...

    1. I do think the new cover of Verity looses some of the drama, yet it seems more historical to me if that makes sense. Maybe a new audience for Keeping the Castle is a positive way of looking at that cover! :)

  4. Cool post! I happen share your love for Code Name Verity and really love the cover. I think it fits perfectly. When I saw the ppb cover a few weeks ago, my first reaction was that it lacks the drama of the hc. Then, I thought the bikes fit. So, it's growing on me as well.

    Absolutely despise the cover change for Keeping the Castle.

    brenda (proseandkahn)

    1. I don't know what it is about it that is making me like it more. I think it's the fact that it looks like historical fiction to me more than the original cover.

      Agreed on Keeping the Castle!!

  5. What is it about Code Name Verity that makes it so difficult for the publisher to match the outside to the amazing inside? Both covers are a travesty, in my opinion. The original was strange and dark and the paperback looks like the cover of a generic historical fiction novel set in WWII England.

    As for Keeping the Castle...there are no words.

  6. No, no, no, noooo to the new Code Name Verity cover! It might be pretty, but captures None of the intensity of Julie and Maddie's story! Gah - what a bummer.

    1. Oh, I kind of like it! But you're right about the intensity being gone.

  7. I haven't read any of the books you featured here, but I do have such strong opinions about how important a good cover is! On first glance: I like Verity in hardcover, paperback cover looks so boring...what about that cover will grab a teen? You are absolutely right about Keeping the Castle, that cover should never have made it to print...I do think that Throne of Glass looks super badass in paperback. I read and review books for readers in grades 4-8 for a committee I'm on, but I wish there was a way to get involved with how publishers determine their covers. As a teacher and avid reader, I sometimes think that the people choosing/designing the covers do not spend much time around real kids. I weep for beautiful stories with terrible covers! Fun post, thanks!

    1. Oh I would love to have something where teens could give feedback to publishers on covers. I used to ask my advisory board to judge books by their covers for fun. I wouldn't tell them anything about the book, I'd hold up the cover, and they would have to tell me if they would pick it up, what they liked and disliked about it, and what they thought the book was about. It was funny to hear their comments and see how often they were wrong about the true story compared to what they though based on the cover.

  8. I love comparison posts like these; I often lament the often dreadful cover changes.
    I like the intensity of the original Code Name Verity; but the paperback might entice more teens to pick it up.
    My least favorite cover change....Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Beautiful, reversable jacket reduced to generic girl on cover. Sigh.


Post a Comment

I love hearing from other readers! Share your thoughts and chime in!

Popular posts from this blog

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 5/5 Stars Genre: Realistic Fiction Release Date: 2/26/2013 Add to Goodreads About the Book: Eleanor and Park are both misfits. When new girl Eleanor sits next to Park on the bus, they don't want anything to do with each other. But over the course of the school year, things change. It starts with comic books and becomes a friendship and a romance that the two will never forget. You never forget your first love. GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Have you ever had a book sit on your shelf that you've heard so much hype about? And you think that books sounds like it would be right up your alley, but you're in a reading slump and you're afraid to give it a try unless it fails? I knew Eleanor and Park sounded like my perfect book, but I was in such an after committee slump that I even though I knew this book would help, I just didn't want to be disappointed. I should have known better because Eleanor and Park was perfect and everything that I had hoped it wou

Contact Me

  I love to hear from fellow readers and librarians! Send me an email to say hello! You can reach me at greenbeanteenqueen (at) gmail (dot) com

Post Downton Abbey Reading List

Downton Abbey is over (with a shocking and frustrating ending!) and now I'm suffering Downton Abbey withdrawal. I've got a reading list full of books that I hope will satisfy my post-Downton Abbey cravings and I thought I'd share what's in my pile and get suggestions for other after Downton reads. Here's what I hope to be reading this year (a mix of YA and adult titles):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A couple Julian Fellowes reads:                And a few re-reads:                    Edited to add: What's on your Post-Downton Abbey reading list?