America may be the best at a lot of things; eating contests, football, reality TV…but is its book covers on the list? Well, maybe not. As a matter of fact, in many cases our friends across the pond have pretty on par graphic design, illustrations, and typography to accentuate the pages inside. In recent years though I feel like American publishing houses have really stepped up their game in getting away from GQ models and virtual prom catalogues, closing the gap more and more between us and foreign countries. To reflect on this most important subject matter I will be analyzing the book covers of a US and foreign edition, with the winner of the week being based both on visual aides and its relevance to the story at hand. I decided to start off the meme with a book fresh in my memory; The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. In this instance both the US and UK copies are putting up quite a fight; meaning the race to the finish will be checkered with merits across the board.
United States- I like the American cover, I really do…but I feel that to a person at the library or bookstore with no prior knowledge of the books plot it just looks kind of bland. In fact, it looks very similar to some graphic novel covers out there which might lead some prospective readers astray. Upon reading I did begin to appreciate the mod podge assortment of people featured on the cover as it aptly embodies the theme of the book- making the ordinary extraordinary. Also, as an unimaginative reader it was nice having the faces of main characters Mikey, Mel, Jared, and Henna on the cover as an easy reference point to how Patrick Ness wanted them to be envisioned seeing as this is such a character driven book. There’s also a cool surprise factor with the hard cover edition as it glows in the dark, a creative marketing incentive to hook people into buying. As a whole I think the cover is a good one, but for my personal aesthetic tastes I would have been more pleased with less busy graphics and more focus on color and typography.
United Kingdom- This was actually the first cover I ever saw for this book as it’s the one featured on Amazon and Goodreads, so perhaps because of that I’m a bit partial. But for good reason, right? That color scheme of light blue, navy, yellow, and gray is eye candy perfection and topped with that looping typography it could hardly tickle my fancy any more. I also quite like the tie-in to the storyline, thought it won’t be immediately apparent on purchase, as it takes the parody at the heart of the story and makes it even more of a plot device. It’s very simple and consice, meaning really the only hold back is the amount of stock I feel it puts in advertising Patrick Ness as the author. The ideal reader for this edition is more for a person who will sit it on top of bookshelf and feature it everyday in videos and photography. Also Ness fanatics looking for a clear representation about this book was about. Whoever you are, may this piece of computer graphics make its way to your cart.
Final Verdict: United Kingdom
So there you go, my first every Cover Duels! I hope you guys enjoyed and are looking forward to next week when I debate on the US and Swedish covers of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. Let me know in the comments which edition is your favorite, or if there’s any books out there of which you prefer the foreign cover. Happy reading!