POST #800: Weekly Geeks 2009-05: Cover Story

Weekly Geeks 2009-05

This week’s geektastic task comes from Becky of Becky’s Book Reviews :

This week it’s all about judging books by their covers! Pick a book–any book, really–and search out multiple book cover images for that book. They could span a decade or two (or more)…Or they could span several countries. Which cover is your favorite? Which one is your least favorite? Which one best ‘captures’ what the book is about?

LibraryThing has 80 covers for John Steinbeck’s East of Eden in its database, and I suggest you go there to see most of them, but I’ll show you a few. There’s so much in this novel that it’s hard for a cover illustration to capture it.

This is the cover of my copy, which I’ve had since college. It’s not much to look at, but it’s a sentimental favorite:

This is the cover of the more recently-published Oprah’s Book Club edition:

I like all three of these covers, but I think the one on the left may be my favorite:


This one is very simple, and I find it appealing:

This is actually the cover of the movie’s DVD package – it’s not a movie tie-in edition; I’m not sure they had those in the early 1950’s. The movie was based on the last third of the book, and is best known for being one of the three movies James Dean made before his untimely death.

I’m actually glad this isn’t a book cover. Like Erin of Crazy Comma Momma, I am not a big fan of book covers that are changed for a movie. When I bought Marley & Me, I did end up to get a tie-in edition, but I chose a different cover when I listed the book on LibraryThing (my weakness for Owen Wilson aside – he didn’t have anything to do with the book.)

Do you pay much attention to book covers? Have you ever bought another copy of a book because you found a cover you liked better?

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  1. Actually, I pay a lot of attention to covers. Some of the books I read have quite elaborate covers; you know how that genre stuff is. I also try to avoid movie tie-in covers where I can. Luckily, not much of what I read gets made into movies. 🙂

  2. Chris – It’s one of my all-time favorites, and one of very few books I’ve rated 5 stars on LibraryThing. The story has just about everything.

    I like that next-to-last cover too; if I ever replace my old copy, I may look for that edition.

    Mike – This is true; as you know, I don’t read a lot of genre stuff, but SF and fantasy in particular do tend to have pretty impressive covers.

  3. I don’t like buying movie tie in books either. Although I have the Oprah edition of the East of Eden, one of my favorites, cause it was on sale.

  4. I haven’t gothe Wg this weeks yet, but hopwfully I’ll find the time tomorrow. If not, then I’ll just have to join in on another “task”. I have an ancient Danish copy of East of Eden which I think I will photograph later and post, perhaps for a Wordless Wednesday or something like that.

  5. book covers definitely influence me. i hate buying movie tie-in covers for example and if a cover looks interesting or catches my eye i will at least stop and look at the book. i love all the variations you found for East of Eden- neat! 🙂

  6. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – And it’s just over a month till my second Blogiversary :-)! I went through a multiple-posts-per-day phase during my first year, which contributes to that total – I’ve dialed it back a bit since then.

    Linda – I’ll buy movie tie-in editions if they’re all I can find, but I won’t enjoy it :-).

    Serena – That is a pretty nice cover – quite dramatic. But this is a tough novel to distill down to a cover image.

    Marie – I’m not sure how much book covers really influence me, but they do catch my eye. I’m not sure I’ve ever bought a book because of the cover, though, unless it was because it wasn’t a movie tie-in edition :-).

    As I mentioned, this is just a small sample of the East of Eden covers on LT, although some aren’t unique; there were a few with the same image, but in different languages or different fonts.

    Louise – There were several foreign covers in the collection on LibraryThing – I don’t know if any were Danish, though. I didn’t post any of them here because I only speak English :-).

  7. I know I wouldn’t willingly buy something that said “the book that brought Oprah’s book club back.” It’s like the book ends up being secondary to Oprah.

    I like #3 and #5. #5 is a little quirky, and #3 has countryside and an old building. Is it a barn? I love barns.

  8. Jill (Softdrink) – I get your point about the Oprah imprint. I think that was one reason Jonathan Franzen didn’t want The Corrections to be a Book Club selection a few years ago.

    I THINK that’s a barn…it’s in shadow, so it’s kind of hard for me to tell :-).

  9. I think I like the Penguin black classic cover best, but there is a fun variety of covers.
    I do pay attention to covers quite a bit. One of the nice things about living in Japan is that Amazon Japan sources from both the US and the UK. The price is sometimes quite different depending on the exchange rate but it’s fun to be able to choose my favourite edition.

  10. Tanabata – That is pretty cool to be able to have those options. I don’t pay all that much attention to cover design, but if there are several options on the same shelf, I probably would check them all out and pick the copy whose cover I liked best.

  11. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I wonder if that’s a quirk of more serious readers; we avoid tie-in covers. For me, I think it’s a case of not wanting to look like I’m only buying the book because it was made into a movie :-).

  12. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one turned off by the movie tie-in covers! 😉

    I have the Oprah’s Book Club edition of East of Eden… but mine doesn’t have that huge splash of red on it (and that doesn’t do much for me either, lol).

    I don’t usually pay that much attention to covers (although after this WG assignment, I find myself paying more attention to them NOW!). I think the only time I purposely search for a different cover is when there’s a movie tie-in one… just HATE those (no matter how cute the actor is!).

  13. CrazyCommaMomma – Funny, this assignment seems to have made me more attentive to covers too. And I was interested to see how many of us DON’T like tie-in covers :-).