Don’t judge a book by its cover. We hear it all the time, but usually in a more figurative sense. The saying usually is invoked when reminding us that we should judge our co-workers, classmates, etc. not by their physical appearance, but by how they behave and how they treat us.
While that’s a great lesson, a couple of new covers bring new meaning to the more literal sense of the old cliché. Take the new cover for Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. If you’ve never heard of the story before, take a minute or so and write down your gut reactions to the cover. What would you say is the plot of this book from looking at that image? Now, check out what the book is actually about. Yeah, not even close.
A similar phenomenon is happening with the new cover for the classic novel Anne of Green Gables. Even though I am only familiar with what the book’s about from a few episodes of Avonlea, I know that that cover is completely and totally wrong. That cover makes me think modern romance, not a turn-of-the-century tale. Why on earth would Powers that Be use these covers? Marketing, most likely.
Sex sells, and it looks like they’re trying their hardest to use that principle to their advantage, even when the covers are a detriment to the content. My guess is they’re banking on people snatching these up for the covers without bothering to read the synopsis or any reviews. Sadly, I’m sure that more than a few will fall prey to tactics like that and, really, whose fault will that truly be?
What can we do about this? Speak up, for one. If the covers bother you, say so in the articles and refuse to purchase any copies that use the new covers. Tell people about it. Make sure to stress to people how important it is for us to use the tools Amazon and other retailers give us to protect ourselves as consumers. With a synopsis, several chapter previews, reviews, and other things, we have everything we need to decide if a book is right for us. We just need to make use of them and take the power back from people who may, either purposefully, or inadvertently, trick us with pretty packages.
What do you think of these covers? What other misleading ads have you come across, and what have you been doing to ensure you’re getting what you are expecting out of a purchase?