Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tapjacketing #8 Spring Has Sprung

Tulips are blooming in the Skagit Valley, which means it's spring. No matter what the calendar says, the tulips know. 
 Skagit Valley Tulip Farm North of Seattle
Hana in the Time of Tulips by Deborah Noyes

Here are some cover-related stories for you.
Just click on the word "Link."  

1. Link: Interesting article I missed last fall in School Library Journal - librarian Leigh Ann Jones talks about the tug-of-war over books in her school library that have updated covers. Kids would rather be on a waiting list for the updated version than take a copy sitting right on the shelves (same book, different cover!) with the old "uncool" cover.  Here is the visual she posts:

2. Sorry, no link, but along the same lines (updating covers): Try to get a copy of the March/April 2010 issue of Horn Book. Betsy Bird has an interesting article about updating books by authors like Beverley Cleary and Judy Blume. Bird takes a special look at the idea of updating the text, but she mentions covers as well, and interestingly says that Judy Blume's lasting power might have something to do with the fact that the covers of her books are constantly updated.
Uncool and Cool Judy Blume

3. Link: Over at print: design for curious minds, Peter Terzian has eight designers talk about favorite cover designs that got shot down for one reason or another. Ouch. No kids books in the bunch, but it's a fascinating read all the same. One editor at Knopf maintains a whole gallery of killed covers.  (thanks for the heads-up on this one, Carol.)

4. Link: Want to know how to design a book cover in two minutes? Watch this video.

5. Link: Chasing Ray had some interesting things to say recently about covers (and I completely agree that it would be nice to get away from the ubiquitous black, black, black, black....)  

6. Link: If you've been looking for the interview I promised of namelos art director Helen Robinson, it will be up on April 13th (special Tuesday edition) as part of the blog tour for WARRIORS IN THE CROSSFIRE by Nancy Bo Flood.

7. Link: Four pages (four pages!) of "Classic Cars" covers for kids. Really delightful stuff. Thanks to Sarah Johnson over in Germany for this one! Sneak Peek:


  1. on the issue of libraries and updated book covers... what i don't understand is why publishers can't provide libraries with free, new dust jackets for old hardcover editions of their books. yes, they lose that money they would make in re-sales, but if a book is more widely circulated because of the cover, then it gets replaced sooner, and the librarians i've talked to will lean toward replacing with paperback copies (which in turn get replaced faster).

    but as it stands now, an older book with an older cover, and libraries strapped for cash, means that the older book doesn't get read, doesn't circulate, doesn't show any need for replacement, and so the book becomes a discard, is never replaced, and everyone loses out.

    going for the short, quick dollar always loses out in the long run.

  2. Good points, David. Thanks - I hadn't really thought about the pickle libraries get into with the cover conundrum - you're right: free and updated cover replacements would make a lot of sense.

    (Is it legal to have the words "pickle" and "conundrum" in the same sentence?

  3. Thanks for mentioning me.
    I love that cover of 5 Go to Smugglers Top. I read that book a lot when I was a kid.

    I'll be looking at a lot of covers at the Bologna Fair this week. :)

    ~Sarah Blake Johnson

  4. often times, the book that gets a new cover is the paperback. there are no new jackets because the hardcover is not rejacketed

  5. Right, Jen - but what if publishers started something new, making new jackets just for libraries - jackets with the new design for already purchased hardbacks? Even if they weren't free, a small fee for them would offset printing costs and would keep the book popular. Or they could be offered free with an order of a certain number of the newly re-designed paperbacks....seems like there are lots of possibilities that might interest both the publishers (increased sales for paperbacks) and libraries (no need to discard the old hardcover, because it would have the new look....)Since the re-design would already be budgeted for the paperbacks, the publishing cost of new jackets for old hardcovers wouldn't be very expensive, and it could be advertised to libraries that way - "Just check this box if you want up to X-number of new jackets for your old hardcovers." A nice gesture, and good business, seems to me.