Why are US covers so fugly?

With examples!

Unseen Academicals
At left, the American cover for Terry Pratchett’s latest Discworld novel Unseen Academicals. At right, the British/Australian cover. When I was in the States in October I stumbled across Unseen Academicals for the first time and came thisclose to buying it… but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. That US cover, while not completely awful (love the skeletal hand and orangutan paw), is still pretty awful. The British/Australian cover, so pretty!

(For the record, my copy of Unseen Academicals and its so-pretty cover arrived in the post today! Even though it is yet another book to add to my already teetering pile of unread books.)

You know who is one of the worst victims of bad US covers? Jasper Fforde, whose American covers are so dreary compared to his oh-so-stylish British/Australian covers, here and here.

Of course I’m ranting very generally (and subjectively) here. There are loads of stunning US covers made by very talented designers, some of which I have written about here. Nevertheless…


Sam Downing


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