Monday, May 10, 2010

Judged by Your Covers?

There's an extremely interesting article in yesterday's Observer about the different covers given to the same book in different countries - and a fabulous colour spread which, in the print edition, makes you so glad of the day our newspapers took to colour!

The difference in designs is staggering - Everything Is Illuminated represented in France by a man fondling a woman's breasts, for godssake (?!). Perhaps the most interesting point is that, according to designers interviewed, in both Europe and the US there's less of a sense of the need to hide 'literariness' - covers for literary fiction in Europe are plainer because literary fiction sells better than in the UK, and in the US 'literariness' is deliberately and proudly flagged. What a philistine lot we are in Britain, and no wonder Nick Clegg got it in the neck after claiming a fondness for Beckett!

On the other hand, one commentator believes that there's no real need for these geographical differences, and that it all comes down to 'bloody-mindedness' and pride.
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