Compare and contrast (cont.): Or, the faux-retro takeover

So here’s what I think happened. A suit, somewhere high up at Hodder saw the Nursery Crime covers and said ‘I love it, baby! Let’s go with it!’ which is suit-speak for ‘Let’s retro-fit the Thursday Next books (which previously looked like this):

and make them match the faux-retro Nursery Crime series.’ Hence, the following eyesores oddities:

Notice how there isn’t a Thursday Next: First Among Sequels that matches the original coverwork? The version of Something Rotten that matches is officially labeled as a Collector’s Edition and I haven’t been able to find a picture of the most recent book that matches. I may be wrong, it may be out there…

Again, I see where they were going with it. I do like that everything is uniform (the placement of his name vs. the title, the split slant within the title, etc.). What I’m not clear on is why they decided to make them look exactly like the Nursery Crime series. Sure, they are in a similar universe (or rather a subgenre of universe, I suppose), but there aren’t crossover characters (at least not that I can think of), so I’m not sure why they wanted Thursday Next’s books to look like Jack Spratt’s. I suppose, they’re all really Jasper Fforde’s, but the two series are different and I would have thought they would take the cover art in maybe related, but different, directions to be sure to keep them separated.

Now I have to admit that, while I don’t like the cover art, I do like the ragged, well-read effect they’ve got going around the edges. I doubt you can see it very well in such small pictures of them, but you know that look that very worn paperbacks get, where the edges start to sort of separate and curl up and the color fades or cracks on the cover? That’s what they’ve done here, which I like. If only they hadn’t gone and changed around the cover art…

Here’s what the US versions look like – Claire, you’ll have to let me know if you think they’re any better – I definitely like them better than the new UK ones, but I can’t decide between these and the original versions (which were very cute…):

So there’s my thesis on the book covers of Jasper Fforde. What do you think? What are your favourite (or most unfavourite) book covers?

Compare and contrast: Or, judging a book by its cover

Okey-dokey. This is going to be a fairly image-heavy post, so for anyone on dial-up, you may want to avoid it!

Claire left a comment on my post about the latest Jasper Fforde book, lamenting (and I totally agree) the state of the covers (and the internal illustrations, but I think that’s a different post as it will involve some scanning instead of just left-click, save-as-ing). Now, I have to say that, for once, I actually prefer the American covers. I do like the old/collector’s editions of the UK versions, which, Claire, I think were the ones (or at least fairly similar ones) that you got in Australia.


With the new Nursery Crime series, came a different style of covers. Fair enough. And again, I really like the ones that the American versions have – a sort of cross-hatching kind of drawing which makes it seem sort of noir-ish. But. The UK (and, again, I’m assuming that yours are like these, Claire) went for sort of a retro 60s look in an attempt, I expect, to recreate the feel of the recent uber-cool Stephen King mystery books or, of course, the super retro (now) Nancy Drew covers:

Which I think are fantastic in a pulpy, spy novelly, girl detective kind of way. What they got was this:


See what I mean? I think I get what they were going for, but they ended up with something that was definitely not as retro-cool as they could have been.

To be continued…

But first, p.s. – Here are the US covers:

See? Aren’t they sort of jazzy-cool? Okay, now to be continued…