Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'Liar' Cover Redesigned

Previously seen in the last "Jacket Blurbs," an author was rather disappointed in the book cover picked by her publisher. It wasn't an aesthetic choice: the book was about a black girl, but a white girl appeared on the cover. It's all business, she was told: "Editors have told me that their sales departments say black covers don’t sell." Regardless of the empirical evidence of 'he said that somebody told him', the low-key racism was still evident in the sentiment, especially since the book, specifically, identifies a character who looks nothing like the cover. Put a Native American, eyeglasses-less, burly kid on the cover of Harry Potter and claim it goes over better with the target audience, right? And, of course, forget that if you based the American population on toy commercials from the past twenty years, you'd know that we're ⅓ white, ⅓ black, and ⅓ "miscellaneous" (possibly including the opposite gender of the other two). But, who's to do anything different from what the book industry has already decided is the way things are done?

Well, the blogosphere spoke, and the Earth moved: Bloomsbury has revised the cover to properly depict a young black woman. Personally, I think it's a world of improvement from a design standpoint, too — the color really pops, and it looks far less like a re-cropped Getty boilerplate girl than the original. I did like the smaller "LIAR" in the original, less accusatory than the full-width text in the new one, but, hey, the cover change crossed a subtle racial barrier in publishing, I'm just splitting hairs. We can only hope that somebody learned a lesson here.

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