Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Country vs Country - Otherworld

No, I'm not condoning war, I'm talking about book covers. It always amazes me how different some book covers can be in different countries, and then for other books the cover can be the same.

Personally, the majority of the time I prefer UK covers to US or Canadian. This is purely because most US covers I see have half naked men or women on them and that just does not interest me, what it says to me is that sex sells in America.

I also prefer a cover that has some sort of clue to the story inside and, if it has a cover model, I like the cover model to actually look like the character(s). I never get a book that has a brunette on the cover and the main character is described as blonde, is the cover model supposed to be some obscure bit character? Or could the publishers not be arsed finding a new cover so maybe just recycle an old one? To be fair, I don't see this happen all that often but I have seen it happen.

Today I thought I'd compare the covers for one of my favourite series from the UK, US and Canada.

The Otherworld Series by Kelley Armstrong

The image above is the original UK covers. Of course these covers hold a very special place in my heart since these are the covers I have. I love them and each cover has an image that has something to do with the story. You'll notice the covers stop at Frostbitten, it was at Frostbitten that the publishers decided to give the covers a revamp so from Waking the Witch onward, it's all the new covers.

These are the new UK covers, the whole series has been re-released with the new covers. And, I have to admit, that even though I hated the fact that the covers got changed during the series (which I hate cause it messes up my bookcases), I really love these new covers. So much so that I am planning on re-buying the whole series so I have both sets of covers.

These are the US covers - I believe. I used both Kelley's website and Goodreads as reference for this post and it seems to me that perhaps the US are also getting a re-release to match the new style covers? Bitten and Stolen both have a cover that seems to fit in with Waking the Witch and Spell Bound and I couldn't find a similar cover for the rest of the books so I'm assuming that they're still being released? Either that or I just couldn't find the covers anywhere. Personally, I prefer the new covers to the old ones, I think it's the whole naked/half naked cover model thing. A lot of the old covers make absolutely no sense to me story wise.

And these are the new Canadian covers, I couldn't find any old Canadian covers so I'm assuming they just had the US covers before. Again, I'm not sure since I don't live there (yet, haha). I really like these covers, they're very eye catching and I love them even though they don't have the image to story link that I like.

And these are all the covers for 13 (or Thirteen if you're American). I know Kelley explained on the difference in title but I can't remember the reason behind it. Out of the 3 13 covers, I think the Canadian one has to be my favourite with the UK as a close second.

So yeah, this was just a post about the covers. The different country covers always intrigue me and I have several series that I will go out of my way to buy the US cover for but most of my books are UK covers.

I am thinking on making this a semi-regular series on my blog, using some of my favourite series to compare the cover differences. Depends on how well this one does, finding and sticking all those images together took a loooong time!


  1. I do like the new UK covers too. And I still love my HB original cover of Bitten best of all. Even though it has nothing at all to do with the series, and it's all pretty and feminine, which Elena is not. I still love it. There are still a couple of Bitten covers that I need to get yet. But I WILL have them all. Oh yes, I will have them alllllllllll

  2. I'm American, but I tend to prefer the UK and Canadian covers on most books, too. As for Kelley's, the Canadian covers are my favorite. I do have five different copies of Bitten because it's my favorite and I love all the covers (I'm only missing the purple UK cover you show above) and I'll probably end up buying all three 13 (thirteen) covers because I'll get the US cover the day it comes out and the other two are just too awesome to pass up.

  3. The new UK covers remind me - stylistically - of Amanda Hocking's covers, interestingly enough:

    I've no doubt publishers develop a feel for styles that fit genres and give a slight boost to visibility (any bit helps). And when one style begins to become over-used such that all books are using it in an indistinguishable blur, it's probably time for a refresh. Obviously, certain genres don't worry as much about retaining expected elements in covers (romances and westerns have more often retained a kind of "brand" to cover art that defines them).

    I actually like the Canadian covers, too - I've felt Kelley Armstrong has been very fortunate in having great cover designs for her books, done very consistently with good imagery. The Canadian covers borrow a little from "Twilight" with the stark black background and a compelling central image. Not an easy thing to pull off. And I think the cover artists did this very well.

    Someone who comes to mind who had bad luck with other covers was Barry Eisler and the infamous "green garage door" cover for the French edition of his book:

  4. The Canadian covers you show are still the original covers, I'm 90% sure. I've been seeing that black and red image of Bitten for as long as I can remember. The UK ones were pretty lovely as well!
    I have to agree with you, I generally prefer Canadian/UK covers, but really I'm just not partial to covers with people on them. I prefer imagery, maybe the hint of a human being, but for me it's about the atmosphere of the book, not the beauty of the main character (or, as you mention, Tim the coffee burrista who appears in that one scene that one time)

  5. When I first read the post I was wondering why they have different covers for different countries, and how they decide what the differences should be and why. Presumably you will get a new cover with a version localised in a new language, so people can tell them apart, maybe?

    Otherwise, why not one cover worldwide for 'brand recognition'? I found the answer in the comments - because fans will buy the same story several times with different covers. This is utter genius, and I shall remember this trick to boost sales - if I ever get any fans... ;)

  6. Hey Julie,
    To be honest its one of my own niggles, when a series changes cover art part way though. The other niggle is when they redo a series and then new ones are Hardback and they don't rerelease the others in the same format, especially when its a much loved series. (Damn you Orbit for your lack of consideration on the Harry Dresden series.) Here's hoping that they'll listen to the fans and with it coming to the end of Kelly's will rerelease the lot in HB compendiums.

  7. I'm not normally a fan of covers that have a photo of someone stuck on a background, so I'd go for the UK ones every single time with Kelley's books. The Canadian books are a bit too 'Twilight' for my liking, although Industrial Magic is superb.