Book cover and title changes – ranty discussion, sorry!

Ok so I know that sometimes when a book is published it gets different covers and titles in the different countries its published.
I don’t usually mind this. A different cover makes sense as often the targeted audience have different things they look for on a good book cover. It’s usually understandable but sometimes I will prefer another countries cover.
A different title however annoys me as it’s a bit confusing to work out what the equivalent to a US book, for example, is over here in the UK. I think that unless a title doesn’t translate from a different language very well or uses colloquialisms from the country the story originates from that won’t work well here then we should just keep the title.
This has only recently started to really annoy me. I don’t usually judge a book by its cover, or at least I try not to, but sometimes you see a cover and just think “yes!” This has happened to me twice recently, with two different books, one from the US and one from Australia. These books appealed to me because of the covers I saw them sporting, then I saw the UK covers… and was seriously, seriously disappointed. I want to discuss them a bit so here goes… 
Pink – Lili Wilkinson
I actually believe that the cover I hate is actually the one that this book was first published with. (If I’m wrong please let me know!) However the one I originally saw was the hardcover (left) and it just shouted “YES YOU NEED TO BUY ME!” I checked out the summary and loved the sound of it. The cover was so apt and I wanted it so bad. So I looked for the paperback (right) and was seriously disappointed. It looks like a ten year old girls’ “fluff” read. A happy sappy quick throw away read and I honestly wouldn’t even looked at the summary of this version of the book unless it was pointed out to me by someone I trust. 
I HATE it. I rarely feel this way about covers, they are the front of the book and I don’t mind what they look like… I don’t know what it is about this one but I just don’t think its right, I don’t think it fits!  
I know Lili Wilkinson’s whole theme in this book is not to judge someone by their cover so it’s a bit ironic that I’m so set against this cover. But I am seriously considering spending like 3 times as much just for the hardback of this book!
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) – Sarah Mlynowski 
This is the US title, and that on the left is the US cover. I saw the title and was instantly intrigued, I wanted to know the ten things were and the fact that they “probably shouldn’t have” really got me interested! Then I saw the cover and it shouted out to me, I saw something in it that just spoke to me, I needed to read this book and headed over to amazon to add it to my wishlist. I was gutted when I realised that it was a US only (for now) book, but I added it anyway with the thought that if it doesn’t get a UK publisher soon I’ll get it imported.
Then I met Keris Stainton at the Book Blogger meet up in Manchester on Saturday just gone. She’d seen my “on my wishlist” post that morning when I highlighted the US cover and title of this book. She pulled out a copy of her next book Jessie <3’s NYC and showed me that her publishers, Orchard Books, were publishing “Ten Things” in August and there was a blurb and cover image in the back of “Jessie”. Imagine my shock when I realised that they’d changed the two things that made me love the sound of this book; the title AND the cover.
I hate the UK cover… HATE it. It looks like a teen romance, with none of the tension that I saw on the US cover. They have also changed the title to “Ten Things We Shouldn’t Have Done” which to me doesn’t draw me in, it sounds like “they” don’t care about the things the shouldn’t have done, like the things weren’t even that bad, like silly little dares maybe.
I think the UK cover (right) and title has lost the tension and seriousness of what the summary suggests is held within the pages of this book. I probably would have picked the UK version up in a store but not in the same way I would grab the US one off the shelf and rush to buy it. I have to wait til August to read the book if I get the UK version, but I may still get it imported. I know covers and titles don’t matter too much but with this one, I dunno, I fell in love with the US version and the UK one just doesn’t have my heart as much.
I don’t think I would be as opposed to the cover had the title not been completely changed and I really would love to know the reason for it!
Have you come across any books where you have felt strongly about the cover/title? Please share so I don’t feel like I’m the only one!! 


  • Jules (The Great, The Good and The Bad)

    I agree with how annoying it can be to find a cover you like and then not be able to get that one. I have to admit that I like the UK cover of ‘Ten things we shouldn’t have done’ but I completely agree with you about Pink. I doubt that I would even have looked twice at the UK cover, it does look very young girlish.

    I just reviewed Angel – or the now Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly and it is an example of a cover and title change. It had me confused at first as to whether Angel Burn was the second in the series as opposed to a re-vamp for the American market.

    Interesting post.

  • ComaCalm

    I definitely agree with these. I really hate the sneaky ones, for example the UK version of The Demon Trappers Daughter is The Demon Trappers: Forsaken. I would imagine quite a few people would have thought this was the sequel and I think they designed it that way.

    The US cover of Uglies is amazing, I love it. But one of the UK covers is so weird, everyone I asked about it though it was about Spies…

    ComaCalm’s Corner

  • The Slowest Bookworm

    Great post! One book that annoyed me with a title change was Little Bee. I looked for this for ages before I found out it is called The Other Hand here in the UK.

    I do wish fairly often though that it was easier for us to get US covers.

  • Phanee

    I agree on both counts… The new Pink cover honestly looks like something you would buy for a 6 year old girl… And I really hate the title change for Sarah Mlynowski’s book… The main reason I liked the title was the bit in the parenthesis underneath the 10 things we did!!!

    I read Little Bee as The Other Hand (I have the UK version). I didn’t know about the change at the time, and I think that both titles make sense (in a way), but I really prefer the US title. Little Bee sounds a lot more interesting than The Other Hand…

  • leanne_luce : YA FOREVER

    Totally agree, things like that are so annoying!! It so annoyed me that they changed the covers for the Vampire Academy books on the very last book ARGH!!!

    I love the UK covers of Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament & Ballad, but really don’t like the US editions – glad we got our ones!!!

    Awesome post hun!!

  • Lauren

    See, I *love* the paperback version of Pink. I think it’s a stealthy, Trojan horse kind of cover that might sneak in under the radar of readers who wouldn’t usually pick up a read with so much of importance to say, but who will actually enjoy it and learn something. I do appreciate that it might be off-putting to some readers though, and I wish that weren’t the case.

    I really agree with you about the title change for Ten Things We Did though. Ugh. Love the US version, but the UK title loses a lot in terms of quirkiness and tone. Bummer.

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