While researching for my current project, I found a very interesting article, published by The Guardian, on the importance of book covers and the reasons for the same books being given completely different covers abroad.
“Albums are sold across the world inside a universal sleeve, blockbuster films branded in a singular style. But novels, by a convention that nobody in the publishing industry seems fully able to explain, must be re-jacketed from territory to territory.”
The article explores this idea, suggesting different possible explanations for the fact. I found it incredibly relevant for my project, as it even suggest a reason for why I find book covers in Portugal dull, in general:
“It’s a cultural thing, as taste-driven as different countries eating different things for breakfast” – but broadly speaking, literary fiction is an easier sell in mainland Europe than in the UK or the US, so publishers there can be less overt in their attempts to grab the attention of customers. “In Europe you often see book covers with simple images and plain type, and that sells books for them,” (…) “The UK book market is more competitive, all the covers in shops shouting: ‘Buy me!’ We have to put on a bit of extra spin.”
Personally, I feel that even if a book with a plain cover sells, customers will still appreciate the effort and beauty of a good, illustrated cover. Having an illustrated cover will add value and recognition to a novel, and create a better costumer experience. Books with beautiful covers are always the ones we tend to keep for ourselves and find difficult to give away.