Why UK and US book jackets are often so different?

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Why UK and US book jackets are often so different?

Oct 01 2017

The Guardian looks at the question that puzzles many readers: Why are books published with different covers in different countries, even those that share the same language such as the UK and USA?

According to jacket designer, Stuart Bache: "The gulf between British and US design has narrowed in recent years, especially in literary fiction. Traditionally, US design tended towards literal interpretation, driven, Bache believes, by the complexity of the US market: the image that motivates readers in southern California to pick up a copy of a book is likely to be different to what appeals to readers in South Carolina. As a result, US jackets have tended to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and that does not make for good design."

"It's a complicated [market], so the design becomes simpler and focuses on broader appeal. However, things have shifted in the last few years. There are a lot more similarities now, particularly in literary novels where the luxury of creating much more elegant, beautiful covers has been afforded to the books."

Designer and illustrator Neil Gower believes US designers have upped their game because of the explosion in digital books. "I think ebooks and the internet have definitely focused publishers' attention on making books beautiful, covetable objects again. Publishers on both sides of the Atlantic realise that to justify the cost of a hardback, a book needs to be more than a container of words. It has to be an object of beauty in its own right, he says."

Source: The Guardian

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