Cover Art. What's the point?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Davis Ashura, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. Davis Ashura

    Davis Ashura Would be writer? Sure.

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    Anyone wonder about why publishers put cover art on a book? Is it more likely to make you purchase it? Does it influence your decision at all? I know that whenever I see a Daryl Sweet cartoon, it makes me less likely to purchase it.
     
  2. Iskaral Pust

    Iskaral Pust Registered User

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    What would you have instead?

    Personnally I have, and propably will again, judged a book by its cover. It adds a lot to the presentation of the novel if the cover is appropriate.
     
  3. Eurytus

    Eurytus Banned

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    If the cover did not matter then they would be blank. That's the bottom line. Cans of Coke would be plain. DVD cases would be blank.

    People must buy on the say-so of the cover. Take a look at how many covers emulate the older covers of the WOT. That linked with a blurb on the back describing the book as akin to Jordan does the job.
     
  4. Spears&Buckler

    Spears&Buckler MJ Dusseault

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    The old adage says "Never judge a ook by its cover" but we've all done it. I do it all the time, and more often than not if the cover is good then the book is as well. This does not work in reverse, however. Sometimes the cover will be really bad and the book is excellent.
     
  5. Dominus

    Dominus Acolyte of Cainism

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    Cover art is usually an indicator of how much a publisher thinks of a book, the better the art, the more expensive the artist, and generally, the more a publisher thinks the book will sell. This is all according to the publisher though. :p If I'm just browsing, cool looking covers are always going to catch my eye before others, but I usually go in looking for something that someone has suggested here, and in that case, I could care less what the cover looks like. So all in all, it really doesn't influence my decisions on books, but I'm sure it does with people who just go and pick out stuff.
     
  6. Davis Ashura

    Davis Ashura Would be writer? Sure.

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    I guess I must be in the minority on this one. Covers just don't impress me enough to buy or not buy a book. Although seeing Daryl Sweet cover comes close.
     
  7. Fader

    Fader New Member

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    I intentionally try not to relate the book cover with the content.

    I think that blank covers (no art) can be incredibly effective if done well. For example, I never bought a copy of LOTR until one day at my local used bookstore I saw an older copy actually discounted because of the missing slipcover! The cover is pure black, with LOTR written in cool writing in silver. That is all, and it looks real damn cool. On the other side of the spectrum, we have books like the Farseer trilogy with the most ridiculous covers. Is this a fantasy novel or a cheesy romance novel? (I really, really hate the cover of Assassin's Apprentice)

    The only thing about cover art that I do like is that it gives you some idea as to what kind of book this might be. A military fantasy (Grand Design), a sexual charged fantasy (Kushiel's Dart), or a light hearted fantasy (Redwall). But since so many of the covers don't accurately convey this information, you really can't use this criteria alone.

    Overall, I think most fantasy cover art is ass-awful.
     
  8. Iskaral Pust

    Iskaral Pust Registered User

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    The UK or the US covers? Cause the Uk covers of the Farseer trilogy are excellent.
     
  9. kegasaurus

    kegasaurus I smell BBQ

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    The only two things that interest me on the cover are the name of the book and the price tag. I buy the book to read, not to admire the pictures which are generally second rate. Having said that, love the cover to Perdido.
     
  10. Evil Agent

    Evil Agent Saturn Comes Back Around

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    There is no point.

    Besides making money. That's about it really, it's a market for Fantasy art... no one really buys much in the way of books of Fantasy art (well, besides stuff like Heavy Metal), so it's just a market..

    That being said, I DO appreciate some sweet cover art. I like John Howe most of all, and Michael Whelan is good.. Stephen Youll is decent. But I can't stand Darrel Sweet! Poor guy, he probably knows that everyone hates his art....

    TOTALLY unrelated, I ALSO feel sorry for Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks)... he was so psyched for the role, but now he's known as the "guy who ruined Star Wars"... I wouldn't be surprised if he kills himself one of these days (j/k)!
     
  11. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper What's taters, Precious?

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    A cover may not "make" me buy a book, but it is nice to see an artist's interpretation of a single scene in the book. For me, it's an appreciation, not a hard core, black and white thing.
     
  12. Thekherham

    Thekherham Auburn-furred Alien

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    A book may have the best cover in the world, but if the story inside doesn't appeal to me, then forget it.
    And, if the story inside is humdrum or mediocre and the cover is a really good one, done by a great artist, then forget it.
    With me, story comes first, art comes second.
     
  13. Miriamele

    Miriamele Witch of the Woods

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    I certainly don't judge a book by the cover alone but it is usually the cover that will get my attention and get me to pick the book up and read the back cover. Even when I'm browsing online I might be more interested in a book with a nice looking cover. (Although primarily I go by recommendations.)

    And maybe if I'm trying to decide between two books which I want to read equally I'll pick the one with the nicest cover art. After all, I'm going to be looking at that cover every time I pick up the book.

    So assuming that the point of cover art is to sell the book, I think it usually works--providing it's good art! Bad art can detract buyers from a book no matter how good it is.

    On a side note, I enjoy seeing the artist's interpretation of the characters' appearances, but I HATE it when the painting on the cover looks nothing like the author's descriptions! Sometimes it's really obvious that the artist hasn't actually read the book.
     
  14. mistri

    mistri Special Member

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    I won't buy a book based on artwork alone, but nice artwork might make me pick something up that I would have otherwise ignored.

    China Mieville's books have lovely artwork, and I think that's what first drew me to them before I'd even heard of him. The book sounding great was a bonus, of course!
     
  15. Obtuse

    Obtuse ‪Ominous, I'm In Us

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    I've found that a good cover won't necessarily sell me on a book, but a bad cover can turn me off to one. For example, I avoided buying Carol Berg's Transformation books for the longest time because the cover art is just awful IMO. Incidently, I did eventually buy the books based on recommendations here.
     
  16. Iskaral Pust

    Iskaral Pust Registered User

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    Yes, but what if you're just browsing? You see two books that you've never heard of, one with a crappy cover one with an excellent one, which do you choose? What is it that first makes you pick a book up off the shelf?
     
  17. Davis Ashura

    Davis Ashura Would be writer? Sure.

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    In that situation, I'd read the back to see what the books are about, look to see which authors are recommending it, and buy the one I think is the more interesting. The cover art is just not much of a factor at all.
    The only time I really take a good look at the cover is after I've read the book. I'll go back and try to ID the scene the artist painted and see if it jibes with how I pictured it.
     
  18. Fader

    Fader New Member

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    I don't know what the UK covers of Farseer look like, but the US cover of Assassin's Apprentice show a very muscular Fitz, in ripped clothing, howling at the moon with Nighteyes next to him. It is awful, and does not properly convey the feeling of the book. I hope the UK covers are better!
     
  19. Iskaral Pust

    Iskaral Pust Registered User

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    I can't find nice big ones, but these are the Uk covers:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Fader

    Fader New Member

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    Thanks for posting those!

    Ummm... Can you tell me how to insert images into your message? Then I'll show you the supreme shittiness that is the US covers.