Jan 22, 2010

CoverFail or CoverWin?

Just playing Devil's Advocate here but with the latest CoverFail regarding Jaclyn Dolamore's Magic Under Glass and Bloomsbury's subsequent apology and promise of new cover art, is this really a CoverFail for Bloomsbury? Or more of a strange CoverWin?

Now certainly Bloomsbury looked bad (especially after the Liar debacle which was handled similarly only a few months ago) but at the end of the day, what were the results?

1) New covers for Liar and Magic Under Glass
2) Tons of discussion and publicity for the two books and authors (that people actually read)
3) Bloomsbury apologizes and saves at least some face

How many people are now aware of Liar and now Magic Under Glass because of the cover controversy? I am certainly aware of the books, authors and content at a much deeper level than if there hadn't been such a controversy. Taking nothing away from Jaclyn and her work, I highly doubt that Magic Under Glass would have been featured on so many book blogs, publisher sites, and message boards if not for the CoverFail. [For reference, here is a site to with no less than 38 articles]

I'm not saying that it's on purpose (for every 1 book that gets highlighted for a CoverFail there are probably 50 that don't) but in the long run, Bloomsbury didn't come out so bad on the other side of this. They don't end up looking like the bad guy because they again admitted their mistake. I don't think that anyone is imposing a blanket boycott on Bloomsbury (or at least keeping it now that the book is being recovered). That particularly wouldn't be fair to the authors. Bloomsbury also got a lot of free publicity and coverage of their book in exchange for the price of some new book jackets.

Now misrepresentative covers shouldn't happen in the first place. Authors and cover artists should ALWAYS talk and collaborate on the cover art. How hard is it to e-mail someone a rough sketch or early draft? While the whitewashed covers shouldn't happen, CoverFail discussions are something that should and it's great when the debate produces a satisfactory conclusion. The only other option would be to ignore a CoverFail and that isn't an acceptable option for anyone.

But if Bloomsbury does this again in 4 months you can mark me as officially suspicious...


  1. In reference to the Liar cover art: If the cover on the left is the first one and the cover on the right is the final one, I'm going to have to say I much preferred the first one. Aside from the low contrast nature of the photo it has an ethereal quality that gives it a more painterly artistic quality than the one on the right that looks like a photo taken for a weekly Kohls ad. Up the contrast on the first one and throw a darkening vignette on the edges to direct the focal point and I think that the first one has much more potential. That being said...I haven't read the book to know whether it actually complements the story or if it was just a slightly botched effort to describe the title.

  2. The issue was that the protagonists in Liar and Magic Under Glass are both non-white, darker-skinned women. The women photographed for the cover are not. Publishers "whitewash" covers because they believe the books will sell better.

    While the cover on the left might be more artisitic from a photographic perspective, it's not portraying the work within accurately


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