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[Pet Peeves] Things that will put me off buying a book: Cover Edition

I said this year I wanted to branch out a little more, so today I’m posting a bit of a rant (something totally new to me!), on the one thing about covers that will put me off buying a book.  Warnings for book snobbery and rantiness (which is totally a word).

As I’m on a gap year, saving up for my MSc, my book budget is pretty small.  Recently though, I had a WHSmith voucher, so I went wandering in, browsing with intent.  I was there with my boyfriend, (who’s a reader without being obsessive in the way that we book bloggers are), and while we were there, we spotted the new Game of Thrones covers.  We’re discussing how they compare to the old covers etc, when my partner spotted the ‘sticker-like’ label “The books that inspired the TV phenomenon – Game of Thrones”.

Oh dear.

You see, it’s not a sticker, it just looks like one, and it’s a serious pet hate of his that’s rubbed off on me severely.

Perfect covers – simple but gorgeous and they have a real impact. Not a sticker in sight! (Although, maybe this also shows a serious love for HarperVoyager)

I’ve never really been a huge cover junkie, and my favourite covers are usually the simple but gorgeous ones, like those above. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve started paying a little more attention to covers, but aside from aiming for vaguely matching covers, a cover has never affected my book buying habits, or put me off buying a book…until now.

See, my partner hates these ‘Now a major film’ etc stickers. Like, hates them with a passion. A very vocal passion. And once he started pointing them out, I couldn’t help noticing them either, and somewhere in the last five years of him complaining about them, it’s become one of my own pet hates.  He’s right, they are annoying. I can understand they’re there to draw attention from people who’ve seen the film or show, but at the same time, WE KNOW the books are now a film or tv show, because we’re fans of the books – and the book came first.

My partner hates them because they’re ugly, and the fact that they look like stickers but aren’t drives some part of his brain strangely crazy.  I think my issue is more like book snobbery, and I don’t mind admitting that to my fellow book bloggers!

Take The Mortal Instruments series for example – they now have these fake stickers on about the film. And they’re not small either! I read Matt’s copies of the first three books years ago, before we even left school, but when I went to buy books four and five, and they had those stickers on, it genuinely put me off.

  • The first three don’t have them, so if you put all five together it’d look frustrating
  • The stickers are ugly and annoying
  • (and the book snobby part) I hate the fact that anyone looking at the book will assume I bought the book BECAUSE of the movie.

Offending covers – see the ugly black stickers?!  (Look at that gorgeous photo on A storm of Swords Part 2, interrupted by what looks like a sticker that’s been stuck on randomly)

Similarly, it would (let’s be honest, it probably will) drive me crazy to buy a copy of The Winds of Winter only for it to have one of those stickers on. As a serious reader and geek, I love knowing that I read the book before it turned into a crazy phenomenon, and I feel like these stickers say I’m part of the other side, the side who read the books after seeing the show or the film. (Which there’s absolutely nothing wrong with, sometimes I AM that side, I just don’t want to look like it when I’m not!)

The book snobbery definitely isn’t the only problem though, because this copy of Dead Until Dark doesn’t bother me half as much as the stickered covers above, even though it clearly references the TV show.  I think it’s because the TV mention blends into the cover, rather than sticking out and interrupting the look of the cover.  It also wouldn’t make my partner try and peel off a non-existent sticker everytime he looked at it which is also good…

Do you agree with my opinion on the covers? (Or do you think I’ve finally lost it?!) What puts you off buying a book?


3 thoughts on “[Pet Peeves] Things that will put me off buying a book: Cover Edition

  1. I’ve never really noticed the fake sticker thing before (though I have a horrible feeling that I not will forever more!) but it’s a definite pet hate of mine when books are republished after an adaptation with a scene from the film/TV as the new cover. I think it comes from the same sort of “I liked it before it was famous” issue.

    The other thing I hate is when a book that is broadly similar to one that has become popular is given an almost identical cover. At the other extreme are those covers that make the book look like it belongs to a totally different genre or is much, much trashier than it actually is!

    On the specific subject of Song of Ice and Fire covers, have you ever seen these bizarre original UK editions? They make a sticker or a photo of Sean Bean look much more palatable:

    1. Oh dear, you are absolutely right, those covers are…not good. Not good at all!

      I hadn’t thought about the genre-matching covers but it’s so true. I think the big one at the minute is the Fifty Shades esque covers. Seems like everywhere I look I’m surrounded by black covers with a single vaguely suggestive element!

  2. Gaaah I HATE it when they put those fake stickers on there! It’s bad enough trying to get the actual stickers off without leaving some of it on the book, but then putting those ugly fake ones on there… 🙁 No!

    That ‘sticker’ on City of Lost Souls is ridiculously huge o.o

    You’re right about the Sookie Stackhouse novels though. I have them all, and the ‘now a hit TV series blah blah’ bit is way more subtle, so I don’t mind it.

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