You can’t judge a book by its cover(s).
I think when that adage was hatched it was absolutely true. Back in the day, the covers of a book might reveal many things, including the wealth of the person who owned them, but they weren’t really intended to reveal the story.
That Was Then, This Is Now.
Consider the evolution of one book, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders
The book has come in for its share of facelifts during its lifetime. Arguably, it doesn’t matter what is on the cover of this particular book; it is going to be read. Often involuntarily. And I think “Design your own cover for The Outsiders” remains a pretty common assignment in English classes.
Given this book’s long history, especially in the classroom, it made me happy to see Mikey Burton's process of revisioning and discovery that resulted in the cover pictured at the top of this post. That cover is, I think, is both a new vision and very evocative of the book's past. As long as spiral notebooks are part of life, that cover has something to say about the book to its readers.
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Editor Andrew Karre recently wrote about the challenges of creating covers for YA books--especially covers that will endure. Andrew makes it very clear that an effective cover can help a good book reach a new generation of readers.
Hopefully, having written this will discharge my need to perseverate over book covers—at least until the next installment of Jacket Whys sets me off again….