Hardcover vs. Paperback: Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love

One of my favorite (dorky) pastimes is awaiting the paperback releases of books I love.  Sometimes I read a book and think, Wow, what a terrific book with a slightly unfortunate or odd or confusing cover. Paperback reissues to the rescue!  Occasionally, if a children’s book is lucky enough to be reissued as a paperback, new cover art can give it new life.  I found this to be true in the case of Jacqueline Wilson’s Candyfloss.

Let’s do a side-by-side of the cover art for the hardcover and paperback release of  Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love:



So, what do we think?

Personally, I love the hardcover artwork.  I love the vibrant colors, the play on “birds and bees” and the fact that it is undeniably girly, without being derivative and without actually showing a girl on the cover.  It’s beautiful and clever.

I’d not count out the paperback, however.  Is it as lovely?  Perhaps not.  It does pay homage to the original color scheme while evoking a sense of movement and energy very unlike its hardcover sister.  It is certainly less ambiguous.  A child picking up the hardcover (unless having read the first book) would need to read the flap or ask a librarian for some more information on the plot and characters.  I venture to say that the paperback is slightly more kid-friendly, no?

I’m curious how publishers and editors decide on new cover art for paperback reissues.  Is the author ever involved?  Do most children’s publishers generally strive to make paperback covers more universally appealing then their hardcover originals?  Is the idea to make them as marketable as possible by producing covers that are less ambiguous and more illustrative of the plot?  That’s just my rationale, but I’d love to know from any children’s editors out there.  How does this work?  Is it a book-by-book call, or do you follow a general set of criteria when commissioning new artwork for reissues?


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