Welcome to BOLD discussions. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. It’s never too late to participate; whether it be an old discussion or a new one, tell me what you think.
Let’s talk about cover changes this week. Or rather, let’s talk about a specific kind of cover change: the one where publishers are trying to reach “a broader audience/new readers”.
I understand that this is the reason for practically every single cover change ever, but I think that publishers should be straight forward when they mean to say, “We are changing these covers because we don’t want boys to feel embarrassed reading them.”
Let’s face it: it seems like more and more covers these days are getting a makeover to try and reach out to a male audience.
On the one hand, I think this is great. I love the idea of getting more people to read YA.
But on the other hand, I get pretty upset. Here’s why: when covers are changed to “reach a new audience” *cough, cough, boys* they are reinforcing the idea that boys should be embarrassed to be caught reading books with girls on the cover.
Why don’t girls deserve books with thought out covers instead of the sometimes sickeningly cliché ones that are produced? And, more importantly, why is it more acceptable for a girl to be reading a book with a boy on a cover than a boy reading about a girl?
I am far from being the first one to ask these things. In fact, Maureen Johnson made a somewhat similar point pretty effectively with her Coverflip idea.
Let’s take a look at some examples of cover changes.
Here the covers change from sci-fi covers with romance to stone cold sci-fi. I really love the first set of covers, though the second set isn’t that bad. But, I have the distinct feeling that the covers on these books were changed so that boys would feel inspired to give this series a shot. Again, I am all for boys, or anyone, reading YA, but it reinforces those earlier problems I mentioned earlier.
Again, we see the cover going from one featuring a girl to a more gender neutral cover. (I have to say, I do like this cover change because that first book just looks like so many other covers.)
Those are just two quick examples of cover changes that came to mind. I really like both series, but I feel like there cover changes carry some extra baggage.
I guess another one of my biggest questions is why aren’t these covers re-evaluated from the start? By releasing a first feminine cover and then later a more masculine one, it seems to be telling me that publishers are trying to appeal to two different audiences at the same time. If this wasn’t the case, why wouldn’t they just release a gender neutral cover from the start? By doing the changes, I get the feeling that boys aren’t going to read girl books, so instead of working to change this idea they are simply reinforcing it.
Congrats for making it to the bottom of this discussion! What do you think? Is there any truth to my words or am I just talking nonsense? Are there any other cover changes you think reinforce my point? Let me know!