Can you judge a book by its cover?


For every Wolf Hall or Life of Pi there’s a shelf full of books given generic artwork that’s simply shorthand for shoppers
文章來源: Alison Flood /, Thursday 20 January 2011 12.00 GMT


‘Just as there are dreadful books, so there are dreadful covers; ditto trashy, ditto boring and ditto brilliant’

正如有糟糕透頂的書,所以有糟糕透頂的封面;有無價值的書就有無價值的封面,同上無趣 同上精彩輝煌。

Can you imagine the fun they had coming up with this truly revolting cover? The proprietors of this excellent website collecting dire old science fiction covers have done just that, picturing the conversation that went on at the design meeting: “Ever seen a baby staring at bright flashing colours or the TV? Well draw that type of face! Except, floating disembodied through space." Indeed.

你能想像他們擁有的樂趣是來自這個真的(The Twilight of Briareus )令人作嘔的封面?這個優秀的網站經營者就只收集可怕的老式科幻封面,想像在設計會議進行的對話:“你看過ㄧ個小孩子盯著閃爍明亮的顏色或電視?除了漂浮脫離軀殼的穿過空間之外,這臉很傳神!。“的確如此”

I must admit to having a bit of a thing for vintage science fiction covers – they can be so unashamedly nutty, so gloriously unselfconsciously zany, that they make today’s collaborative, carefully pitched jackets look boringly sane. Of course, there are great jackets out there – in recent years Life of Pi, Vernon God Little,The Corrections and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, to name but a few, are all instantly recognisable; all stand out from the crowd.

我必須承認有如此陳年科幻小說封面還有點ㄦ回事- 他們可以如此瘋狂不知可恥,可以無所忌諱極其古怪滑稽,他們把今天的協作,仔細搭配書本封套看起來 無謂理智。當然,有很多很棒的書封在那- 近年來有少年PI的奇幻漂流,維農少年(這一本黑色幽默的小說,因為描繪邪惡世上的天真無辜與單純人性),強納森•. 弗朗欽《修正》一書(有關美國的社會問題),深夜小狗神祕習題,僅舉幾例,但都可從群體中脫穎而出。

But the major tendency these days is for jackets to act as a shorthand for the kind of book you’re getting. White background and child’s face? Misery memoir or Jodi Picoult-lite. Foil lettering, giant author name? Thriller. Pair of shapely legs? Chick lit. In fact, legs, shoes/and feet can cover the gamut of genres, as this great piece of analysis from Galleycat shows.

但最近書封設計的趨勢是你從封面就能辨識出這本書的類型。有著白色背景和孩子的臉?這是一本苦難回憶錄或作者Jodi Picoult的縮影。巨大的作者姓名書名用刻字襯托?驚悚片。一對勻稱的腿?小妞文學(指旨在迎合年輕女子口味、主角常為單身少女的小說)。事實上,腿,鞋/和腳能函蓋的世態的類型,因為這個部位讚嘆分析是來自Galleycat節目的傑作。

But what looks like a lack of originality can’t be blamed entirely on designers, who’ll have been briefed by the book’s editor, marketing and sales people before coming up with a range of options. And even once a cover has been agreed in house, everything is subject to change if a retailer feels an approach doesn’t work – and retailers, particularly supermarkets, are generally going to want a crime novel that looks like the last bestselling crime novel, a romance that clearly shows it’s a romance. If a major bookseller says they won’t stock a book unless the cover changes, then what’s a publisher to do? The author, by the way, is unlikely to have any say in this at all unless they’re a big name even though, a publisher friend tells me “they do get the chance to comment, suggest changes, etc and we (usually) listen to them".


Although the shorthand obviously helps shoppers in a hurry – and can even, if a publisher’s clever enough, get a teenager to pick up a classic novel – it can also missell what lies within. Witness Lionel Shriver’s anger at being given a girly cover, or the justifiable disappointment of OZKT29B, about the cover of Andrew Davies’s The Gangs of Manchester: “While the book is a serious, scholarly affair the jacket is a mock-up of the Gangs of New York film poster." Well, yes.

雖然速記在匆忙中甚至可以明顯幫助消費者做出選擇-,如果出版商夠聰明,也能讓青少年選取一部經典小說- 它也能在範圍內錯賣。目擊萊昂內爾施萊佛對關於他的書被賦予一個少女的封面感到憤怒,或正當性合理理由的對” OZKT29B(留言版)”失望 (What do you want to talk about?Post your suggestions for subjects you’d like us to cover on Comment is free. Want to write for us? Follow this guide),關於安德魯戴維斯 ”曼徹斯特幫派”的封面:“雖然這本書是一個嚴肅的,學術研究事件,但封面卻模擬成紐約黑幫電影的海報。“嗯,確是。

And it might be more prevalent today but it’s not like this misselling is something new: I’m currently reading Harnessing Peacocks, an old Mary Wesley novel I picked up in a charity shop. It’s the usual biting, acerbic, amusing writing I expect from Wesley, but the Aga saga-style cover provides no clues that Wesley’s heroine is, in fact, a prostitute. Instead it’s Joanna Trollope-esque, cosy, safe – far removed from what the book actually is. Its publisher at the time obviously decided that taking this route was the best way to lure readers in (and, in fact, today’s version isn’t much more honest, taking a Picoult-ish, triumph-of-the-human-spirit sort of approach, which I’m sure Wild Mary would have rolled her eyes at).

這在現今可能很流行,但它不是像銷售不適當的某物給某人這般新:我現正閱讀"駕馭孔雀",這是我在一個慈善商店揀選的一部老瑪麗韋斯利小說。這本有著我所期待作者一貫諷刺,尖刻,有趣的寫作風格,但阿加傳奇式的封面未對韋斯利的小說提供任何線索,實際上,有點糟蹋濫用。相反,它的喬安娜特羅洛普風格式的,愜意,安全-遠離書實際的樣子。其出版商在當時顯然決定採取這條路線是最好吸引讀者的方式(而且,事實上,這本書現今的版本也未必是更真實,採取 Picoult式的,有那麼點人類精神勝利式的方式,我敢肯定,Wild Mary這本書也會受到關注)。

But, even though it’s immensely fun to look at some of the dire jackets out there (and this one, for Manhunting, makes me especially happy), I don’t want to dwell on the negative. Just as there are dreadful books, so there are dreadful covers; ditto trashy, ditto boring and ditto brilliant. This blog picks out some gorgeous creations; OZKT29B loves the Wolf Hall paperback cover, and I am besotted by these Penguin science fiction jackets, as I’ve said before. Which book covers do you really love? And go on then – show us the worst you’ve seen as well.

但是,即使在那裡看看一些極糟的封面非常有趣,(這之一,擄獲男人,讓我特別高興),我不想老是停留在消極面。正如有可怕的書籍,也有可怕的封面;有沒用枯燥的,同樣也有輝煌精采的畫面。此博客挑選了一些華麗的創作; OZKT29B愛狼廳平裝版本,而我沉醉在這些"企鵝科幻外衣",正如我以前發表過的文章。哪本書的封面是你真的喜愛的?繼續並 –也告訴我們,你所見過最糟糕的。

This article was commissioned following a suggestion by OZKT29B. If you would like to propose your own topics for us to cover, please visit the latest You tell us thread.





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