Book Cover (and Toy) Notes

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Every few posts, I gather a few things that have crossed my screen and share them with you. Here’s a round-up of news from near and far…

First, about the toys. I’ve been reading that Barnes and Noble is in trouble. Countless articles report that stores will close and an increasing amount of floor space in existing stores will be dedicated to products other than books – basically things like coffee and toys and cards that they can sell at a higher profit margin. I saw this first-hand in a New Jersey store recently. There were books, but not many. A third of the store was under a big sign announcing its mission. Here it is:

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By now, you’ve probably heard that 15 years after the first Harry Potter novel was published in the United States, the books are getting new cover artwork for the next generation of Wizards and Muggles. The covers are designed by the graphic novel artist and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi. The artwork for the first book has been unveiled:

Mary GrandPre’s original covers will continue to be used on the U.S. hardcover versions of the series, but Kibuishi’s will be on the paperback versions.  On Good Morning America’s website, there’s an interview with Kibuishi in which he says: “I wanted it to feel whimsical,” Kibuishi said, “Like an entrance into a fantasy world, but also like a perennial classic.”  I think he’s achieved that. I like the cover, but I wonder about this project in general. In general, I tend to be a traditionalist in the matter of book covers. Charlotte’s Web would not be the same book without its now iconic drawing of Fern and Wilbur. Movie tie-in covers are the worst. As crazy as it sounds, I don’t want to read Tuck Everlasting with the cover below. For me, it detracts from the book.

Book covers are serious business.  They form first impressions, establish a mood, and are an important marketing tool.  Think about the cover of The Giver. Sometimes, just catching a glimpse of the old man’s gentle face in a bookstore is reassuring.

One last thing. My sister sent this to me, and I thought it was great:

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