12 April 2008


Remember in February how I decried a bad-decision cover redesign for THEN WE CAME TO THE END's paperback edition? Finally, I have two examples of really nice-looking redesigns. One is a book I have read (and very much liked), and one isn't.

We'll start with FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES. My trusty library copy (and later-obtained paperback advance copy) bore this illustration:

The main character is a hatmaker by avocation and has a part-time job in the hat section of an upscale department store, hence the hats. Of course, you wouldn't know that, which makes this perhaps a bit of a hard sell for casual buyers. I like it, but I see where some people might be confused. The paperback cover picks up on this while emboldening the image:

I swoon. A mystery woman! And the black and red are very striking; I think giving this book the chick-lit treatment (a pair of shoes, a woman with a handbag whose head has been cropped out of the picture, eentsy-weentsy cartoon hats) would have been a mistake. There is a way to do good chick-lit covers; I'm just giving some offensive examples.

Now Vikram Chandra's SACRED GAMES, loaned to me in hardcover by my mom about eight months ago, has been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I want to read this book, but I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that a 1100-page hardcover is not in my commuting powers. It sure looks nice on my shelf, though:

When I look at this cover I think Bollywood. I think exotic. But I know from reading reviews that SACRED GAMES is actually a Bombay-set thriller, with a detective chasing an organized-crime boss. The crime angle is what I believe the designer of the paperback edition was working when she or he came up with this:

I'm not in love with the string of blurbs on the front -- in general, blurbs smacked onto a cover feel like desperation and I'm sure your friendly neighborhood graphic designer loathes them -- but the mysterious woman and the street-sign design of the title? Lovely and cool.

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