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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing Manager at HealthTrust. Social media junkie, strategist, and app idea guy. Hockey fan, photographer, and father to 2 awesome boys.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

judge a book (by its) cover

Well, my wife is pretty into Harry Potter. I have to admit i've gotten into it a bit too. Some friends let us borrow the movies and i caught up last spring. Then we just went to see the latest movie. Very very good. (My review: Good special effects in the beginning, bad effects in the middle, great effects at the end...the plot roughly follows).

Now i am going to start listening through the unabridged audio books (so i can more intelligently argue some points of debate with my wife) thanks to the Nashville Public Library system, and just pre-ordered the new book for Christy.

I said it'd never happen, but i guess we're fans.

But now i wish i had ordered Christy's copy to be shipped from the UK. Apparently they get a better version there. First, their version has the original UK English intact (the US version is re-edited for US kids vocabulary), but mostly, they have a way cooler cover. I'm sorry, there is just no comparison. What's up with that?

This is the US cover.
(click to enlarge)
I know the US versions have had this same cover style for a while, but it...well...stinks. I just think it looks dumb. It doesn't match the feel of the stories that they hold inside. Looks more like a dark Dr. Seuss or something. Too melodramatic and stylized without being fun looking. It either needs to be creepy or fun. This fails at both.

These are the UK covers - plural.
(click to enlarge)

In Europe and Asia though, they get two covers: A kids cover, and an 'adult' cover. I find both of these a far better option than what we get in the US. The 'adult' cover in particular is way cooler, spookier, and generally more mysterious. And yes, it reminds me of cover of the book in The Neverending Story, so that probably helps. The kids version also seems a better fit somehow. Of course, from looking at the UK kids version, this is apparently going to be a cross-over with Stargate.

A quick skim of amazon.co.uk makes it look like they have only been doing the dual-covers for the last two books. Before that, they all followed the kids-cover style, but it was still far better than the US versions. Ok, except the first one. Aside from the different title, that cover does look pretty lame. But i guess at that point it really was more of a kids book.

Oh well. I guess in reality i would like all books to either be a pocket-size paperback or a leather-bound library volume. Can anyone hook me up with one of those yet?

2 comments:

jimcraig said...

My girlfriend is a huge "potterhead" (I gave her that name ;o) )I pre ordered the special edition hardcover from the UK. Main reason, as you pointed out, is the intact UK vocab. Also because I agree with you, the cover art is terrible, I have always thought that. The UK cover is much more fitting and appealing to me.

She is at a grad school session in VA for childrens lit, so no movie for me yet.

Kat Coble said...

I'm a MAJOR Potter geek. Big time.

I had posted something on my site about the cover art awhile back.

I've got the Scholastic versions of all the books in Hardcover and softcover. Because I'm financially strapped at the moment I'm waiting, but I will be getting the complete British adult editions at some point--probably as a 40th birthday present from my husband (that's 3 years off.)

At any rate, if you visit the Harry Potter Lexicon, they have an entire section devoted to the differences in language between the UK and US editions.

For the later books, most of the UK language has actually been kept intact. For instance, we read about Father Christmas, hosepipes, jumpers and trainers instead of Santa Claus, lawn sprinklers, sweaters and tennis shoes/sneakers.

I do agree that the cover art on the UK adult versions is much more lovely. But I do love Mary Grandpre's murallist style for the US Scolastic dust jackets.