Same story, different cover

Ever hear the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? This means you should not judge a person by their looks. However, a person is like a book. And books change their covers all the time. Authors and publishers tend to change the covers of their novels to sell more books by an updated feel. This draws new readers in to a series or gives current readers a chance to update their bookshelves and buy new covers, according to Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series.

Cover changes are not always the author’s fault. According to Wesley King, author of The Vindico, publishers are the ones who choose the cover scheme. So the authors, mostly, do not have a say about the style of their books.

Sometimes the changes happen after the series has already been published and sold many copies. Two such series include the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling and The Mortal Instruments/ The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. And some covers get changed because they have been turned into a film and the novel has a movie front cover of the actors.

However, some cover changes happen in the middle of a book series, once a cover theme has already been established.

For example, Across the Universe by Beth Revis changed its cover scheme with the last book causing an outrage by readers about how different and ugly the trilogy looked on their shelf, according to a review.

If the covers get changed after the series is done, that is fine. But if it is right in the middle of the series or even with the last book, there is no going back. Now book readers who love to make their shelves look good with the pretty covers they own may have to go out and buy the new covers of the first couple books.

However, when stand-alone novels get cover changes, it is to increase sales as well as show a new vision of the story to the reader, according to’s post about cover changes.

Russell Blake, the author of Fatal Exchange, has changed the cover of his novel four times in the span of two and a half years. According to, Blake said he changed the cover in order to “find one that resonates with my readership – as expressed in increased sales.”

Covers are supposed to draw the reader to the story as well as visually let readers know what the story is about, according to Russell Blake.

In general, cover changes draw readers to the book in the bookstore. So, next time you think about judging a book by its cover, remember that looks always change.