{DISCUSSION} Cover Reboots

Are cover reboots good or bad?

Two weeks ago we talked about the bookish trend, prequels. Well, as I stated in that post, there are a TON of bookish trends and many of them also dual as marketing trends. Unfortunately, I have very strict rules I set for myself when it comes to buying books. In other words… I don’t really like all the bookish marketing trends out there and one in particular is cover reboots.

I swear this didn’t used to be a thing. When I was younger, books didn’t suddenly change covers halfway through the series. They might get a movie tie-in cover (which then made the original cover a rare commodity), but publishers didn’t just up and change a cover style. You could buy the next book in the series with the same cover style as the previous ones. All the books on your bookshelf would have the same style.

Ah… Those were the days.

And… those days are gone. I don’t know why and I don’t know when, but there has definitely been a shift in the bookish world, and I do not like it. Suddenly publishers think its okay to just change the cover.

The publishers probably waltz into a room filled with marketing experts (who are probably not the target audience of the book they’re marketing and therefore know nothing relevant to that book or the people who read it -.-) and look at a list of numbers that is their summary of sales and see that it doesn’t meet their quota.

“So, let’s make it look different!”

Because despite everyone saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,‘ we all do. Don’t lie to yourself. You know you do it to some degree. For that reason, book covers are very important!

You know why else book covers are important? Because we display them on our bookshelves! And how our bookshelf looks is extremely important for us readers (as we discussed). A bookshelf reflects a reader’s personality. It needs to match how they organize or else it will drive them insane, and it has to look pretty because a bookshelf can make or break the aesthetic of a room. In fact, some readers buy/keep books just because they look nice on a shelf.

With all of this in mind, can you imagine how absolutely pissed off I am when a publisher decides to suddenly change the cover design of a book series?! Do you know how mad it makes me when I’m only halfway through that series and now have obsolete covers?! Do you know how frustrating it is knowing that half the books in the series will never match the other half because I’m not the reader who buys duplicates (for any reason)?!

Some people may call it a marketing ploy. Some may see it as realizing a different design better represents the story within. Some don’t care and will do anything because they love the series so much, but I’m not one of those people. And while I don’t want to buy all new books for a series, the look of my bookshelf is still extremely important to me. That’s why I wish publishers would either

a) stop changing book covers

or

b) keep the old covers in circulation even if at a lesser extent (especially because not everyone may like the new covers. Goodness knows I’ve seen plenty of backlash for a few cover reboots.)

But maybe I’m just a crazy book nerd. :p
What are your thoughts on cover reboots?
Leave your thoughts below! 


And check out my discussion from last week:
Plotter vs. Pantser

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30 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Cover Reboots

  1. While I feel your frustration and agree with you here, I have also witnessed the plus side to cover “reboots” recently. I had the privilege of working with an author who wrote an incredible YA title, but the cover was just meh. With the release of the newest book pending she went with a reboot and it helped sales from what I saw. The new covers drew much deserved attention to a series that might have sadly slid through the cracks. So while I hate change, I do understand the decision at times and support the new life and audience it can bring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm. I can understand that, but from the sounds of it the original cover wasn’t really good enough for the story. In that sense, I would likely accept the change. However, when the original cover is awesome, change just annoys me. :/

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I think the people that say they don’t are just living in denial. :p And it really is frustrating some of the things that publishers do. It’s like… they only care about the sales and not the readers or the authors, which is such a shame! 😦

      Are there other things in particular that annoy you regarding publishers? I’m curious.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hahaha so true!! Yes- it’s so unbelievably frustrating!! And a real shame!
        Hmm yes, probably a few things, but the worst thing for me is when they say the book is “the next… insert title- usually Hunger Games” or “the author is the next insert famous author- usually JK Rowling“- I feel like it’s a sure way to get hype that goes wrong, cos even if the book is good, it’s often been compared to something it should never have been compared to in the first place and that kills the book for me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh! Yeah! I totally get that. Like… you shouldn’t use those kinds of comp titles because it means it’s either way too similar to something already published or you can’t see the new book for itself. Publishers: killing books before they’re even published. 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I wouldn’t mind if they finish the first round and then continue to make them like you said. If I buy the first book and the rest of the covers don’t match, I’m going to be upset. My copies of The Mortal Instruments books don’t even look like they belong together, it makes me want to buy the whole series again just so they match.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. EXACTLY!!! It’s like… what about the people who are new to the series? The people who didn’t hear about it when it first came out? Because those are the people who the new covers are designed for, but if they’re already halfway through the series when you change the covers to bring in new readers, you’re screwing over those readers! They’ll never have a chance to have matching covers unless they buy duplicates of the ones they’ve already read and then you’re just gouging the readers. You’d be better off still offering the old covers just in case. I mean, come on!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Completely concur. Sometimes they’ll even keep the original cover for the first HC and then change the covers for the next HC and the paperbacks…it drives me INSANE! I agree with you so much: keep a cover and stick with it, or change all the covers and leave the old ones accessible for awhile. But don’t pull a Traitor to the Throne on us. Or a Nemesis. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH MAN! They did that with ARENA by Holly Jennings. The hardcover (albeit I had a digital copy) had a gorgeous cover, but then when it pubbed to paperback they changed it completely! They even changed the color scheme! I was soooo peeved because I loved the original one so much and didn’t want to change over to the new paperback cover. 😦

      OMG! TRAITOR TO THE THRONE!!!!!!! THAT IS THE BOOK THAT SPARKED THIS CONVERSATION!!!!!! dies I just picked up a HC copy of Rebel of the Sands in the used section after they changed the covers and now I’m like… “Well great. Do I buy a brand new Rebel of the Sands or just deal with non-matching covers because I don’t know where in fudgecakes I’m gonna find an old cover of Traitor to the Throne, especially since it was only out for a short time before the publisher just up and changed the freaking cover!!!!!”

      No… I’m not angry about this at alllll. -.- Sarcasm monitor: Overload.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t see changing the cover in the middle of the series, but covers do and have changed pretty much forever. Every time I pick up a new version of a book because the old one is lost/stolen/worn out/etc., it is different. I’m not sure what the average life span of a book cover is, but I’d say between 5 years and a decade. Never seen anything longer. I also know an author who went from a publishing company to self-published and did all new covers for all books and series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could understand going from self-published to traditionally published because the publishing company gets rights over the cover design, I believe. However, I know plenty of books that have never changed covers. Perhaps it’s a specific age group or genre or publisher that changes covers all the time? Because I never used to see cover changes when I was younger (albeit, I read intermediate readers lit because I was a child, but… you know. :p)

      This is quite interesting, though, that you bring this up. Perhaps I’ll have to start looking out for this more to see if there is a trend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Look at some of the old, classic sci-fi, like Issac Asimov or Robert Heinlein. There are dozens of covers for all of their books. I just Googled “Different covers for Asimov I Robot” and looked at all of the images. There are repeats on the page, but over 30 different covers for that one book. I’ve seen dozens of LotR and The Hobbit. Yes, I’m one who has picked up the same book several times at used book stores.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah. You just named books that a) have been out for QUITE some time and b) that are VERY well known. If a book has been out for over a decade, I think it might be acceptable to change a cover. Additionally, if the book is so well known as is, the cover is unlikely to matter to many people because they care more for the content and the notoriety than the cover in those cases, does that make sense?

          However, in the YA world, we have seen book cover reboots for books that pubbed a YEAR ago. The sequel only JUST came out and they’re already making changes. That is the kind of stuff that is causing such turmoil among certain readers.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It’s all about the shelfies. No one wants a mis-matched shelf because then it doesn’t look like the books go together and you’ll never know from a glance that they match. They just look like two random books put next to each other and that’s totally not cool! Rawr! :p

      Liked by 1 person

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