Discussion: The Cover Struggle

Posted March 18, 2015 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Discussions / 37 Comments

discussionmasterI have the epitome of a first world problem.

Ever since starting blogging I have become so much more aware of the existence and accessibility of different covers: hardback, paperback, special edition, anniversary, international, etc. With a little research, it’s not too hard to gain access to these various covers either. Thanks to Book Depository, I can order a UK paperback without the long wait for the US one. Or thanks to my B&N membership, I can snag their special edition covers at a discount. A lot of bloggers even swap and trade amongst each other to get the covers they want. With so many options, how do I choose which cover to buy?

If you’re a die-hard book fan, you’ve probably experienced this cover struggle. I used to be pretty flexible in the past (for example, many of my series are mixes of hardcovers and paperbacks, as I just bought them sporadically in whatever form I could find). However, since I started my blog I’ve found myself gravitating toward making my book series more unified looking. I’m THAT person who will wait to read something until I can own them all on paperback. But what happens when I’ve come across a book that I can absolutely NOT WAIT TO READ?

Finishing The Winner’s Curse this week put me in such a dilemma.

coverstruggleThey’re both gorgeous covers, and I’m totally torn between which one to get. My copy of The Winner’s Curse is paperback, so I’m tempted to go for the UK/AUS paperback with the red dress, but I’m worried that it will be a different size/formatted differently than my US paperback. (Does anyone have any insight on this?)

winnerscurse(For reference, this is what my paperback copy of The Winner’s Curse looks like. Let’s not even get started on the fact that the paperback copy has such a different formatting than the hardback original!)

I also have similar dilemmas when it comes to series that change their covers partway through (such as with the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan, and, more recently, The Worldwalker Trilogy by Josephine Angelini). Do I purchase the new covers of the installments I already have to match the new ones? Do I wait to read them all in paperback? Do I buy all of the hardcovers even after the paperbacks have been released?

My own dilemma made me curious as to how many readers and bloggers out there went out of their way to buy specific editions of books, or if they even compare cover art and formatting between countries. So…

I want to hear from you!

  • Do you ever buy international covers (as in, covers released in countries aside from your own)? Do you buy them because you want the paperback before it’s released in your country, or because you dislike your country’s cover art?
  • Do you try to purchase all of the books in a series in the same format (such as hardcover or paperback)?
  • What happens if you start a series in e-book or audio format? Do you keep all of your copies electronic, mix and match, or re-purchase physical copies of your e-books/audio books?
  • Do you tend to prefer your own country’s cover art/formatting, or do you consistently find yourself coveting others?
  • Which copy of The Winner’s Crime do you think I should get?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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37 responses to “Discussion: The Cover Struggle

  1. I used to be just like you, not caring about the edition I get. Then, I fell in love with The Infernal Devices and I went crazy cause the 1st book was US paperback, 2nd book was UK paperback, and the last was hardcover. It was driving me insane. In the end, I bought the other two in hardcover so that they would match. Since then, I try buying all the books in a series in the same format. I never get eBooks or audiobooks because I like having the physical copy. In the rare occasion that I get an eBook, if I liked the book, I’ll buy the physical copy.

    I usually am okay with the US formatting of covers, unless there’s a dramatic change in the UK — for example, I love the white covers of the UK version of Throne of Glass. My main problem with the UK version of Clockwork Prince, was that the size of the paperback was considerably larger than the US paperback of Clockwork Angel (especially in height — it was the size of a large hardcover). As for your dilemma, I think you should check the sizing of the UK Winner’s Crime — they have all of that information on there and compare it to the US paperback size of Winner’s Curse. Then you’ll know for sure if it will match in size.

    • I tend to stay away from e-books too because I LOVE having books on my shelves (so e-books are usually reserved for when I’m unsure if I’ll like a book since they’re so much cheaper, or for when it’s a novella that’s not released in print). Thanks for the sizing suggestion! I checked, and it seems to be slightly smaller (I had to convert mm to inches on the measurements listed) so I think that might irritate me! The UK throne of glass covers are SO pretty!

  2. I’ve never been one to really care about the formatting too much. I do tend to have some parts of series in e-book and some hardcover/paperback. I just can’t wait to read the story. But I have decided to purchase UK editions instead of US. For example, I bought the UK version of Cress By: Marissa Meyer because it was paperback and I didn’t feel like having a very expensive US hardcover version, but the UK paperback was smaller than the US paperback editions of the other books in the series. So I would agree with Anjeline and check the sizing of the UK edition, just to be sure. Good luck! 🙂

    • I definitely will be checking the sizing, thanks for the tip! I envy that so many UK versions come out in paperback when we’re stuck waiting for the hardbacks in the US, which can be up to double the price! I’m tempted to start buying more of my series in the UK versions (for one’s I’ve yet to start anyways!)

  3. Ah yes, the cover struggle. I am no stranger to this! When I first started building my book collection I didn’t pay much attention to what format things were in, until that collection became so big and I started accumulating series. Now I like to try to keep all the formats and covers the same. I have a ton that aren’t though and it really bothers me. 🙂

    If I read an e-book but have other books in the series, I’ll probably buy the book to complete the set. I don’t usually buy covers from other countries, unless something has changed and I’m trying to match a set or something.

    In terms of what you should do, I agree with Anjeline above and think you should try and find out the sizing of the UK book first and compare. They’re both beautiful covers, whatever you end up with will look awesome. To me, the most important would be if the size was similar.

    – ashley

    • Yes the paperback in the UK edition seems to be slightly smaller so now I have to decide if I want a smaller paperback or a much larger hardback *sigh* I have a lot of covers that start as paperbacks and end as hardcovers, and it used to never bother me but now I wished my series were more streamlined! Yet it’s hard for me to allow myself to buy books in hardcover that are available in paperback because of the cost!

  4. I’m the same way! I absolutely need to have everything match and will delay reading something for that reason. I prefer paperback to hardcover, so I’m even WORSE when it comes to book buying. I honestly wish I liked hardcovers because then I could buy and read the book right away.

    A solution I’ve been trying lately is getting books from the library first and reading them. Then, if I liked it enough to keep going with the series, I may buy a copy for my collection later when it comes out in paperback.

    I hate when series change their look partway through! I recently bought Katie Finn’s (AKA Morgan Matson) book Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend in hardcover from Book Outlet. Now they changed the covers after book one! GRRR.

    One I’m glad I didn’t buy yet, even though I loved it, was Dissonance. I checked it out from the library and I’m SO glad I did. They changed the cover for the second book and the novella in-between, so I’m really glad I waited. I’ll probably just buy each one when it comes out in paperback. I would have been mad if I bought the original hardcover and had a non-matching set for the rest!

    • I prefer paperback too! (Easier to store, easier to hold/transport, no dust jacket, etc) I’ve delayed reading things too, but I find I’m less likely to do that now that I’m blogging because I want to keep up with new releases! I’ve thought about the library approach, but then I feel less inclined to spend my money on the book if I’ve already read it, and use my funds towards new ones (this has led to me having weird gaps in my series too, such as not having the second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy because I got that one from the library!)

      I had no idea Morgan Matson wrote under the name Katie Finn!

  5. As far as your Winner’s Crime dilemma goes, I will say that I have a couple of UK paperbacks & I’ve found they tend to be a lot shorter than the US paperbacks I have. They covers also tend to be thicker/stiff. They’re definitely different materials(at least the ones I have).

    I mostly go with the US covers. I don’t mind if I have a mix of paperback/hardback books in a series, but I do like it if the cover designs match and if they’re the same height. The height is really the most important thing to me. I hate when books in a series are different heights! It makes my bookshelf look less streamlined, I think. I do have a few foreign edition covers. I have The Book Thief in UK paperback because I like the cover better, and Dangerous Boys because it was only released in hard copy in the UK. One day I’d like to get the Throne of Glass UK covers, but that’s just for aesthetic reasons–I’m fine with the US version for now!

    • Thanks for the tip! It does look like the UK paperback is a tad bit smaller, so now I have to decide whether I want a much smaller or much larger book! I totally agree about the height, I have paperback copies of both Cinder and Scarlett but one I bought at the normal bookstore and one I bought at a scholastic warehouse sale, and the scholastic copy is SO MUCH SMALLER. But it was also only about $3 so in some ways it was worth it!

      I LOVE the Book Thief UK edition! I have the US edition because it was gifted to me, but I much prefer the UK one. The Throne of Glass UK editions are indeed beautiful, I love the stark white backgrounds!

  6. I don’t care about cover art (esp. when the difference is as minute as the color of a girl’s dress), but I cannot stand it when books of a series don’t match! Drives me absolutely bonkers!

  7. When I first started buying books I didn’t really care which cover I had. I would often choose based on cost. But now, I really try hard to keep my series in matching format, which is so hard if I start out a series in paperback, like I did with The Lunar Chronicles! I had to wait what felt like so long to get Cress and now I have to wait for Fairest AND Winter. I haven’t yet gotten bad enough though to replace all of my originals so that my series are all matching formats.

      • It sucks! I feel like I have so many series of books that are mismatched! Most of the time it’s because I’m a little late to the party and the first few books are already in paperback and then I can’t wait for the next installments to be released in paperback. That was my problem with The Hunger Games, Divergent, Sookie Stackhouse, etc. It’s just so hard to wait for the paperback release! 🙂

        • I totally understand! Most of my series start with the first one or two books in paperback and then the rest in hardcover! >.< Sometimes this will actually stop me from starting a series until I know I can get them all in paperback, but then I feel so late to the party!

          • I don’t always mind being a little late to the party because the books are cheaper by the time I get around to it lol. But other times people just have so much love that I have to give in and buy it earlier.

  8. I don’t know..i’m not a person that is super strict of mix and matching. Of course, I like to keep my cover styles the same but hard or paperback wise, i’m loose with that stuff? Like, I have 2 of The Selection books in paperback and one in hardcover, that’s just the way I bought it. I’m okay with that. I do however try my best to keep the formatting of the books in a series the same.

    Cover wise, I usually will stick with the US cover. I have never bought from BD and probably won’t that often. (It’s usually Amazon or Book Depository) I know what out of territory covers look like and usually I prefer the US version. I have still yet to get a book with a UK or any other country’s cover.

    I would get the US version, just to be safe. I love both covers (I prefer the US version though) so go for which ever you like the best!

    ~Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!

    • They are both gorgeous to be sure, and it does look like the UK version is a tad smaller, so I probably will opt for the US version. I have the same issue with my Selection series books, although what irks me is the only paperback is the second one, so it looks so awkward between my two hardbacks!

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  9. Ugh. UGH. I used to be so laid back about this stuff, but now it’s so horrible. I’m the same in that I need the all paperback or all hardcover for my books, and I hate when covers get a remake in the middle of the series. I don’t go out and buy the new ones (because $$$) but I forever cringe at the site of mismatching books in a series. I almost always buy US versions, just because it’s easier, but I definitely envy those who own a lot of the other versions! Depending on the cover, of course. I actually prefer a lot of US covers over their UK counterparts.

    • I actually have found that I prefer some UK covers over US ones (for example, I love Rainbow Rowell’s UK covers!) and for some series (usually Harry Potter books) I try and buy as many different covers whenever I can!

  10. I LOVE TBD because I can get US covers without paying crazy shipping! I care more now too if my covers match or not, and cover changes wreck my soul!! I refuse to buy new versions though because I’d rather spend money on new reads and not new covers. Generally, I’ve found UK books are slightly smaller than US books, so that might sway your decision! R x

  11. A few years ago it didn’t matter which editions I got and whether they matched or not. Now I am very picky about this. It depends on the cover itself whether I purchase it in hardback/paperback or UK/US edition. I live in Germany, so in book stores the editions are either with US or UK covers. It’s mix and match there 😀 But when I buy books online, I tend to look if the publisher is the same as the books that I already have in that trilogy/series.
    I also don’t like mix and match. So when I start reading a book in hardcover, the rest of the series will be bought in hardcover. Although I tend to buy books that I only have as an e-book again in physical form (if I really liked it) and then buy the rest of the series in physical form as well.
    I personally have the cover with the blue dress (but that’s the hardcover edition that matches my copy of The Winner’s Curse), but I read in a review that the dress in the story is actually red. So it’s kind of uncool that the cover doesn’t match the story, but I prefer the cover with the blue dress because it matches my copy of the first book so well 😀

    • I’ve heard that the dress is red in the story as well! (I dislike when publishers make changes like that!) It’s so interesting that it’s a mix and max in Germany of what booksellers carry what covers. Do you find that stores are consistent in carrying either all US or all UK versions, or do you find both in the same store?

      • I usually find both versions. Though not of the same books. For example, I found the covers of the Slammed trilogy by Colleen Hoover in the UK editions, but Ugly Love was in the US version (although I do not know whether there is a UK edition cover).
        But if I’m buying books online, I just can click on the book that I want to have and then choose paperback or hardcover and there are often more options to choose from where the price ranges from cheapest to most expensive and the editions are either UK or US and then I choose which one I like best.

  12. I cannot stand books in a series that don’t match! I love hardbacks but they are so expensive in Australia. I really like the blue cover for the Winners Crime, it goes nicely with the colour of The Winners Curse!

    • Hardbacks are definitely more expensive (I imagine even more so in Australia than in America!) and are also more cumbersome to read, carry around, hold in your hand, etc. It’s also hard to justify buying a hardcover if the paperback is out and may be half the price!

  13. Haha, I’m one of those OPPOSITE people who really just don’t care. I organize my bookcase my color so it’s not like my series are ever put together for people to notice that they’re not all the same format/from the same country/etc. I think the only time it has slightly bothered me is when taking pictures of my books, just because I think it looks a little worse then. But meh, as long as they’re physical books I just get whatever one is there when I’m shopping (and usually the cheapest). So if it’s just published, I’ll get the hardcover. If it’s older, I’ll get the paperback. If I’m in the US, I’ll get the US edition. If I’m in the UK, I’ll get the UK version. Life is so much easier that way! Though I do understand your pain.

    I do think there is a difference between the UK and US paperback sizes, but it’s probably best to check dimensions to know for sure. I always know UK bloggers talk about how “floppy” US paperbacks are, and they did sit differently on my shelf my UK ones. Good luck deciding!

    • I also tend to buy the most cost-effective book, so I love paperbacks (except for the really small mass-market paperbacks, I can’t stand those!) I actually just received my UK paperback copy of Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (as there wasn’t a hard copy released in the US) and I definitely noticed what you mean about them being “stiffer.” I never realized how used to “floppy” paperbacks I was!

  14. If possible I prefer to own a series in the same format, so if I have the first book in hardcopy I will do my best to get the rest of the series in hardcopy too, same with e-copy or paperback. It just feels right to own them in the same format. A few weeks ago I received my pre-order of the last book in a series, it’s a perpabck like the rest but it’s one centimeter shorter then the rest of the series, it’s horrible! I usually don’t mind which cover version I get, although I do wnat my series to be consistant with the same cover version. If I prefer a certain cover version I probably order that one or else I go for the cheapest version.

  15. […] If they’re COMPLETE cover re-designs and I old the old ones then I moan and complain and procrastinate on buying the books with the new covers. If it’s hardcover vs paperback and I have a blend it does irk me, but not to the same extent. You can read more about my thoughts on “The Cover Struggle” here! […]

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