Monday, April 30, 2007

Book Cover Deception at Vintage Publishing

Fun! South Beach! Time Travel!

These are just a few of the things I associate with the cover for the paperback edition of Philip Roth's award-winning novel Everyman. Now this wouldn't be a problem if any of these things remotely related to the "candidly intimate yet universal story of loss, regret, and stoicism" the back cover describes it as. Basically, Everyman is a story concerned with death, which makes the cover highly strange (and kind of disturbing). My interpretation as follows:

Imagined conversation between the PR/Marketing Team behind this cover

A: Okay, so the critics love it, but the thing is people don't really like "death."
B: He's right, our polling shows 90% of book readers don't want to die.
A: How can we spin this so it ends up being a Cold Mountain and not a Thirteen Moons?
C: Orange Mocha Frappacinos?
A: Quiet C. Well one thing that has to go is that horrendous cover from the hard copies.

B: Yes, all that black is a problem. People associate black with death don't even want to know what our polling says about red squares.
A: Hmm...what about a nice teal. Teal makes people happy.
C: Yes, we have have seen successes in the past with distracting from depressing content with flashy covers.

A: So we dump the black and go with the teal. How about a nice icon too?
C: A Grandfather clock?
B: No grandfathers equal old, old equals uncool.
C: Maybe a pocket watch then? They're cooler and younger. What do you think?
A: I think I've got cocktails with Bret Easton Ellis in twenty, go for it.

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