Tim Holman, Publishing Director at the US branch of Orbit Books, recently put together an interesting post on why US and UK covers for novels differ and also pulls back the curtain a bit on the process.

This is the issue, I think, at the heart of the Great SFF Cover Debate/War. It’s nothing to do with where the book is being published in the world; it’s to do with the question that every genre publisher has to ask themselves: do we want our books to stand out or do we want them to fit in? Most genre publishers would say both: they want their books to stand out by looking exceptional, but they also want them to fit in by being immediately recognizable to readers of similar books within the genre. Depending on where you put the emphasis, though, the cover for a particular book can go in some very different directions.

The Orbit covers for several books by Iain M. Banks.

Of course there are always exceptions, but I think it’s safe to say that the UK editions of novels generally sport better cover art. It’s interesting to hear from Orbit, who publishes both in the US and the UK, and just why they change the covers for each region, sometimes just subtly, sometimes quite drastically.

You can read the whole thing HERE.

  • J.Cormier March 27, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I’ve always wondered at the sometimes vast differences between cover art different published versions of a book. Some authors (Tad Williams comes to mind) have entirely different artwork on a foreign cover than they do on the US cover. Other than fairly abstract marketing concerns, the only explanation I could think of had to do with supporting local artists.