Wednesday, July 9

Movie Tie-In Book Covers

I judge books by their covers. It's not a logical thing to do, but I'm in company with many. While it is no question that a book's contents are the most important factor, there is nothing wrong with wanting them to look nice too.

One of the most popular trends is for books to be repackaged with new covers, either leading up to or after their film adaptation has been released. This is an intelligent way to capitalise on media promotion. It is no secret that marketing for visual media is a lot more prominent than it is for books, which still relies heavily on word of mouth. So when a book is geared to be played out on the big screen, it makes sense for publishers to reel it back to the original source by printing the book with a movie tie-in cover.

Some people hate books with film covers. I wouldn't count myself one of them, because sometimes they can be visually appealing. However, I can see where readers are coming from with their distaste. Plenty of readers don't like to have characters blatantly portrayed on the covers of books. They like to be able to imagine the characters for themselves. This is the reason you see so many books with long haired women turned away, or shirtless men with their heads cut off.

Then there is the fact that film adaptations do not stick to the physical portrayal of the character. You can purchase 'The Princess Bride' by William Goldman with the film cover, yet Buttercup won't be blonde within the pages. While it's understandable that a film may not have the character's physically match the author's depiction, the juxtaposition of having an actor on the cover who doesn't represent the character's description in the text is a little nonsensical.

When it comes to my preference for books with film covers, it really comes down to how attached I am to the story, the price of the book in question, and aesthetics. Yet, what I recently discovered is that I do have a peeve when it comes to movie tie-in books. Not because of their covers...but because of inserts. There is nothing so jarring to the immersion of reading a novel than having it cleft down the middle with scenes and captions from the film adaptation. It's one thing to slap an actor on the cover of a book, but to invade the imaginative freedom of the reader during the story seems invasive to me, regardless of whether I like the adaptation in question.

What are your thoughts on books with movie tie-in covers and inserts?

1 comment:

Tyler Jolley said...

I agree. I'm not a huge fan of the inserts. I don't mind when they redo the cover with the film because it makes my original copy feel extra special.