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Good books, bad covers

I subscribe to a number of e-zines, and this article particularly caught my eye recently.  
Bad covers slapped on on classic books.

https://lithub.com/50-very-bad-book-covers-for-literary-classics/

At first I was incredulous — some of these are so very bad and so incredibly far off the mark that it was obvious that the cover designers hadn’t read the books.

But then I started to get suspicious. Some of these classics were so well known that I couldn’t imagine how anyone could get the covers so badly wrong.

I mean, look at this one on the left.

Little Women in Maoist China? Really?

They’re soooo over-the-top bad and inappropriate that I suspect it’s deliberate.

Sheba Blake is printed on a lot of the covers, and I looked the name up and it’s a “publisher”.  The thing is, once a book is out of copyright, anyone can do anything with them — it’s the reason people were able to write and publish mash-ups of classics, like  “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and others of that ilk.

My guess is that they made the most outrageously silly covers — and their name on them — to give them some publicity. 
It obviously worked.

 

And maybe “any publicity is good publicity” — I don’t know.

Or maybe the idea is to sell these editions as a joke.  I can imagine some people would love to get classic books with outrageously silly covers.

What do you think?

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theo
theo
11 months ago

For me, they’re appalling. But that’s me. I refuse to spend money on a book so obviously wrong covered because who knows what the quality of the book inside will be like? And it’s a shame.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
10 months ago
Reply to  theo

I tend to agree with you. It makes me cross that after an author has put so much time and effort into crating a book — especially one that has gone on to become a classic! — and then use it to make a cheap joke.

Constance
Constance
11 months ago

I find it hard to believe that anyone who cares about good books/good literature would put money in the pockets of publishers who do this! But then, I find lots of things hard to believe about publishers these days (primarily the apparent lack of good copy editors!).

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
10 months ago
Reply to  Constance

Constance, copyeditors are very variable. Mine are generally wonderful, but they can be incredibly picky over some things, but indifferent to others that I think are important. I almost never get the same one twice, so it keeps me on my toes. One thing I do battle with on occasion is their desire for perfectly correct grammar, especially in dialogue or thoughts, because people don’t speak with perfectly correct grammar or in thoughts. As well, there is a slight difference between US grammar and Australian/English. A lot of “indie” (self-published) authors don’t use professional copyeditors at all because of the… Read more »

Binnie Syril Braunstein
Binnie Syril Braunstein
11 months ago

Anne –

Truly appalling covers. I just Googled Sheba Blake and found that they also produce coloring books and who knows what else based on the covers. Who knew? BTW – I love what can be found in Literary Hub. I get it every day, and the range of articles is amazing.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
10 months ago

Yes, it’s a good e-zine, I agree, Binnie. I get it every day, too and always find something fascinating to read with my morning coffee.

Marianne
Marianne
11 months ago

My mother paid for more than one school copy of Jane Austen’s works due to the cover art, She feared they were the “bodice rippers” popular then and threw them out.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
10 months ago
Reply to  Marianne

LOL Marianne. I have a few different copies — some were my sisters’ or my mum’s and one was the copy I bought for university, where the page numbers were the same as the tutor’s.

Robin
Robin
11 months ago

Obviously not the right cover for Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but wouldn’t that be a great title and cover for a romance set in Rome in the 50’s, maybe with a little espionage mixed in?

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
10 months ago
Reply to  Robin

That’s exactly the kind of cover I’d want for a romance set in Rome in the 50’s, Robin. And it would be fun! But Gibbon’s Decline and Fall? That’s in a collection of books my father inherited from his father and grandfather, called “The 100 best books of the century” — the 18th century (or it might be the 19th, I’ll have to check. Certainly Gibbons was18th century, but it also included Darwin’s Origin of the Species, with was 19th. I tried to read my way through them all when I was 18, but never finished.