Tuesday, 26 February 2013

CJ Says #1: Classic Book Covers vs. Film Book Covers

Classic cover

Picture this: you see a soon-to-be-released-in-cinemas film is based on a book. For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. You think, “I like reading the book before I see the film”. You recently read Life of Pi and re-read The Hobbit in preparation for the films. So your train of thought chugs along until it reaches its station: “I’ll buy Cloud Atlas to read before the film”.

Film cover
Now imagine yourself walking into your local bookshop. Let’s say that bookshop is called Dymocks. You walk in with one mission in mind: find Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. And lo and behold, with the movie around the corner, you find it. But it’s not what you expect.

In honour of the up and coming motion picture/ blockbuster coming to a cinema near you, every single copy of the book is covered in images from the film. And I mean every last copy in the entire shopping centre. Not just Dymocks, but everywhere else that sells books as well.

Imagine your disappointment. You don’t want a DVD cover on your book; you want a book cover on your book. The cover that came before the movie, because this book was around before the movie version needed promoting. What happened to all the classic covers?

And it gets worse: it will take two to four weeks to order it in. Did I mention you really wanted this book in the next few days for an aeroplane trip you had planned? Two weeks is simply unacceptable.

So you go home, defeated. What else can you do? You try www.fishpond.com.au. There is the classic cover, on your computer/laptop screen. Just as you thought, it looks infinitely better than the film cover version: there are no moody profile shots of Tom Hanks and Halle Berry adorning this cover, just the original, proper copy before a Hollywood adaptation was even thought of.  Add to cart, and check shipping. Typically, it will take anywhere between two to four weeks.

The situation is hopeless. All you’re left with is an unspent $20 note, a feeling of betrayal, and a computer/laptop with one extra dent in it than before.

Why can’t they just sell the classic cover when you want it? Why do they insist on shoving those movie images down your throat? Yes, if the book is enjoyable and the reviews are positive, you will see the film or buy the DVD. You don’t need that much convincing! Is a classic cover to the book you’d like to read on a plane within the next week too much to ask for?

Unfortunately there is only one solution to the problem: fold and order the book. In the meantime, you’ll have to read something else. And quietly loathe inside whoever makes the decision to suspend all classic covers on a book in the months leading up to the film adaptation. 

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