One of these things is not like the other ones

In my on-going skim of the In Death series, the book as object is something I’m more conscious of than I used to be:  the cover art, the author photo(s), the blurbs, or recommendations.

I find the Stephen King quote (“JD Robb is cool.”) on the cover of Strangers in Death to be too personal, directed toward the author rather than the work and also just a little weird.

Salvation in Death has blurbs specific to the book from Lisa Scottoline, Andrew Gross, Linda Fairstein, and Kathy Reichs.  Plus a general endorsement from Janet Evanovich…which seems out of place in context, both in terms of content and author-type.

Why do the back covers of some books have passages from the book, while others have author photos?  And the author photos themselves — has anyone ever done a survey of the evolution of NR/Robb’s author photos?  Because they are fascinating and say a lot about the content of the books and the marketing approach (even without the brouhaha of Robb possibly trying to look Dallas-ish in a long leather duster).

I have (had) the entire series but for the most recent book; I’ll be keeping about a dozen early books in the series that were originally published in mass market paperback, plus two later books following the move to hard cover. The rest of the hard covers and a few paperbacks will be heading to the donation bin.

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5 responses to “One of these things is not like the other ones

  1. I almost always wish covers were more simple and informative. I’ve got to the point where I will not buy a book that does not describe its content (unless it’s an auto-buy author or a book I picked before seeing the cover) as I think it’s ridiculous to only see a giant picture of the author or to only have a paragraph describing the author’s awesomeness or success with other titles.

    • I feel the same about author photos; it says to me that the publisher is more interested in marketing around the author’s persona than the book’s content.

  2. I have the first four in original paperback. I quit the series long before it went to hardcover. OT: I’ve also seen people look for the paperback original for Dead Until Dark. I have that one, too. Since when did paperback originals become so valuable? I think both series started putting the early books in hardcover. At any rate, glad I kept my paperback originals.

    • I think for the Charlaine Harris books the original paperback covers have value because of the folk art covers. And because of all the reissues since HBO’s True Blood have the actors on the covers rather than the original art.

      Missed opportunity there — I had the first several Sookie books with original covers but got rid of them very early in the book purge. I suppose Good Will will reap the benefit, or a thrifty buyer will get lucky.

      • Yes, about the reprints but people sought out the paperback well before True Blood. Sometimes I will personally go out of my way to find a book that doesn’t have actors faces on it tied to the movie type book covers. Look at the Twilight covers. Ugh. I loved the first book, the rest were meh.

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