One of the surprise fiction hits of last year was the grandma-pleasing story of friendship and reading, Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. The first format, a beautiful textured cream hardcover was both simple and identifiable. Once you tore the Women’s Weekly sticker off its cover, you simply had to sit back and watch it sell.

First Format, released August 2008:

But why stop at great success? For the paperback format, some bright spark at Allen & Unwin decided to shake things up a little. Simplicity is so 2008 … so why not take the best elements of the story (the 1940s, staring blankly, postage marks) and represent it, in pictorial form, on the front cover? Taking that brilliant tack, what you get is this:

Second Format, released June 2009:

Mmmm boy, shite pie! I have to say, if they’d taken either half of this cover (top or bottom), it would have made at least a cover with some sense of purpose. As you may realise by now, I realy really really hate covers with too many elements to them. But what do I know? The six dollar difference between hardback and paperback and Maeve Binchy-lite cover will probably translate into a few more presents for grandma.

*Tomorrow’s Format Folly — How to Kill a Great Author’s Sales, or, The Ol’ One-Two…*


3 thoughts on “FORMAT FOLLIES, PT 2

  1. >Yeh, the “attractive woman super-imposed over exotic location” (or in this case, just the stamps therefrom) does seem to be the trend, but why?? is it because female-readers-of-a-certain-age are hanging out for adventure? look, sure. but the blank stare? puh-lease! it’s not soft and romantic. it’s bland and annoying.Right on, Chris, keep serving up the cover crits.

  2. >You know if a god-awful book like Gurensey gets a god-awful cover I am kind of relieved. The first jacket was deceptively tasteful. Should have been reserved for a subtle but heartwarming read, not a sledgehammer exercise in chliche that is the faux-literary potato mash stodge that got served up within

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