Article in Reedsy on the impact of changing book covers


Senior Member
Jan 2, 2008
Up the clum
I actually heard of this via the newsletter from The impact of changing your book cover on clicks - in a very specific test bed to readers already interested in your genre.


What interested me was that:
The original covers were all done to a good clean standard - as in I wouldn't have leapt up and said done by an amateur.
Almost all of the remakes were paler/lighter/brighter than the original.

I work in a library*, and I suspect it's not necessarily that the remade covers are better, simply that they fit with current cover design trends in the different markets (kids, mystery, etc). If the consumer has been seeing multiple covers with a particular look on the shelves (virtual or real), they'll naturally gravitate towards that style I imagine.

So I guess the real message is maybe not 'don't do it yourself', but 'research the h*** out of current cover trends first'?

*as in, I see all the new stuff that circulates in different genres.
I have researched book covers via Goodreads, and going back to see older covers and long selling books get recovered every few years. After Rivers of London by Aanovitch was such a hit, there was a sudden outbreak of R of L cover clones.
A striking cover, regardless of trends, is a striking cover.
Oh yes, absolutely. Personally, I love a great cover that stands out from the rest. Unfortunately, it feels like a lot of publishing (trad, specifically) seems to like to play it safe and stick to whatever trend is currently en vogue. Mind, I'm not a graphic designer or publishing expert, this is just from what I'm seeing on the 'new books' shelves in my local library.

I definitely think an amazing cover will stand out. But it is a risk, in that readers may just go for whatever feels familiar.
From what I can sense, most of the new covers minimized the area of the "blurred" background or got rid of it. It could be the blurred background confuses the eyes like what happens when a pictures doesn't have any negative space in it and the eye ends up looking at everything without locking in on anything in particular. The eye gets tired of that and the decision is made to quit looking at the picture. The one with the least improvement added a blurry looking background instead of clearly defining everything on the cover like the other redesigned covers. If the only format for the book is digital you can change the colors every 6 months, or change the cover colors more often by picking seasonal colors. It could be psychological where the color combinations are "telling" people where to focus their eyes when confronted with a bunch of thumbnails to look at on the same page.

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