I have always been fascinated by book covers. I love to draw and I earned my bachelor degree in graphic design. Although I didn’t get much use out my degree as a career (I worked in a custom framing shop for 3 years and then was a gym teacher for 10 years) I have always enjoyed it as a hobby. I would never buy a book because of it’s cover but they attract my attention every time. It’s always interesting to learn how a cover comes about and it surprised me when I first heard how little influence an author usually has in the decision making process. Sometimes this presents a problem when it doesn’t match the story being told.
Recently, there’s been another cover change in the world of YA books. Here is a brief description from an article at guardian.uk.com
Bloomsbury USA's decision to feature a white girl on the cover of Jaclyn Dolamore's debut novel Magic Under Glass, which stars a dark-skinned heroine, has sparked controversy across the internet and accusations of "white-washing", just five months after the same publisher was forced to back down over a similar controversy.
Magic Under Glass, a young adult novel, is the story of a "foreign" music hall girl, Nimira, hired by a sorcerer to sing with a piano-playing automaton. But she finds that a fairy has been trapped inside the clockwork automaton, and the two fall in love. Although Dolamore's heroine is described in the book as black-haired and brown-skinned – and the official trailer for the novel shows her as such – the cover chosen by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books shows a white, brown-haired girl. The choice has provoked outrage from bloggers and commentators, particularly following the publisher's decision (later reversed) last year to feature a white girl on the cover of Justine Larbalestier's novel Liar, about a black girl.
I haven’t read these books yet but I’ve seen both of the covers and followed posts about these issues from The Shady Glade, MotherReader, a teen blogger at Reading In Color and many other sources. They all include links to even more information. If you haven’t heard about this yet check it out. I wasn’t aware of any of this myself until recently.
So, I was just wondering what do you think of this? Were you familiar with the issue of “white-washing”? And as for covers in general, do they affect your decision when choosing a book? Do you care what the cover looks like and is there anything that attracts you or annoys you? I’ve combined the issues a bit here but it all comes back to covers. Comment on whatever you like but I’d love to hear from you! And if you can think of any covers that stand out for you, good or bad, mention those too.