This week Anne with an “e” fans got riled up, and it wasn’t because someone called her “Carrots”. In fact, it was precisely because she couldn’t logically be called “Carrots” based upon the release of an alternate cover for L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series.
“Renaissance Classics” owns the copyright of a newly generated set of the first three books in the Anne of Green Gables series. The set was created through CreateSpace, Amazon’s primary self-publishing imprint. For each new printing of a book, it is common for the cover art to change for any number of reasons. Marketing is likely one of the key reasons. That this newest release has new cover art is not the issue, it is that the cover art is so completely out of touch with the set of novels it is meant to represent.
< — This is NOT the Anne that we loyal and dedicated fans know.
- Problem #1: Wrong color hair. This wouldn’t be such a big deal, except the fact that Anne’s hair is a vivid red is a huge part of her character AND a part of the plot.
- Problem #2: Age. While it is true that by the third book, Anne is much older, the entire first book she does not (or barely does) reach her teens.
- Problem #3: Period clothing. This photo looks like she is a glamourous country girl in 2013. However, the book was first published in 1908.
I could go on. In fact, you should check out Josie Leavitt’s reaction on the Publisher’s Weekly blog in which she says, “The Anne in this cover looks like she just snuck out of boarding school to smoke with a teacher.”
Well, at least “Renaissance Classics” (whoever they are – I can’t find anything on the web about them) didn’t use THIS version from the stock photos which would not only assume Anne snuck out to smoke with that teacher, but to do, um, many other things:
Authors, least of all those who are dead, do not necessarily have any direct control over cover art. They have a say, but the initial designs come from the art departments at publishing houses. These designers have not necessarily read the books for which they are designing the cover art. But, as some have lamented, do they even read the book jackets? The synopses?
Well yes, they do, which is why even though not all covers are ideal, they are usually not ridiculously off the mark.
Cover art is important! We all know that the adage about judging does NOT apply to actual books. It’s a metaphor, y’all, which is one of the reasons why that saying retains such longevity. The big mistake the mystery copyright holder made was to think that just any old stock photo would work with a cult audience.
To me, this Renaissance Classics gambled on an opportunity. Unless a family member intends to retain rights, the public domain rule has gone into effect for L.M. Montgomery’s works as of last year. Perhaps Renaissance Classics thought repackaging the first three books would be a big seller (and maybe it is), but not so much as to reduce the profit margin of hiring a designer for the new cover. Sex sells, sure, but unfortunately inexperienced buyers of this set will be in for a huge letdown when they realize that the story will not lead them where they think. All in all, it’s an odd choice to create a cover without knowing anything about the book except the title, isn’t it?
Outrage loves company. I’ve loved all of those around me who felt the same response to this new cover as I did. “SO WRONG” and if you want more of that, Amazon reviewers will not let you down.
Perhaps Anne could appreciate this “scrape”, but maybe only if the cover at least portrayed her imaginary self of Cordelia – but they didn’t even get THAT right.
Mess with our Anne?
Not on OUR watch.
What covers have you seen that made you think it was all wrong for the book?