I hate ’em.
I doubt more books are being made into movies now than previously, but over the past couple of years there have been a large number of books I’ve personally read adapted for the big screen. That in itself gets annoying, but what’s starting to really get on my nerves are the book covers that change after the movie is made.
For example, this is what the book looked like when I read The Road:
This is what it looked like when the movie was made:
This is what Water for Elephants looked like when I read it:
This is what it looks like now that there’s a movie:
Seriously…I. Hate. Them. I hate them for three reasons.
1) The artistry of the cover is lost. There are generally covers designed for various editions and/or countries and each has its own charm. The movie tie-in covers are often no more creative than taking a frame from the movie and slapping some text on top of it.
2) The movie tie-in cover shows the emphasis of the movie script, which is often completely independent of the plot of the book. There are very few film adaptations that are true to their books. Misleading covers are the result.
3) Using a frame from the movie forever associates a book with the stars on its cover. I understand that the new covers are being marketed to people who probably won’t read a book unless it has been a movie first and they’ve already seen it, really I get it. But the actors are playing a role and they’ll move on; the book’s character lives on without changing. Half the time the actor cast in an adaptation doesn’t even remotely resemble any description of the character they’re portraying.
I’ll own up to being a bit of a snob: Those of us who read a book for the sake of reading it and NOT because it became a movie already have an idea of that the characters look and sound like before script and casting ever happen. It’s entirely possible that my deep dislike for these covers is tied in to a general dislike for film adaptation. But I don’t think so.