Topics/Discussion

From US or UK Cover to Dutch Cover

If you are very involved in the book community you will have often seen that the US and the UK can have very differing covers. So often we talk about what we find the prettiest cover. Even Australia pops into these from now and then. The battle of the covers.

But when books are translated to other languages, when publishers buy the rights, the packaging also can change. Looking at my own country, the Netherlands, there is a divide. Every now and then they use the cover that is used initially (mainly the us one from what I can see). And then they completely change it up and change the cover. In some cases they even change the title in more ways than just translating it. The book does a complete 180.

Why is that?

There are about three reasons I can think of as to why Dutch publishers do this. One of the biggest ones I’d take a guess at is that buying the cover along with the book can be pretty expensive. They might want to outsource it to a Dutch illustrator or designer. I can’t imagine that buying the rights of the book comes included with the cover.

Another thing that I hear often said is that the market is different. This is a cultural thing. While US and the Netherlands are both western countries, we do have a very different kind of society and attitude overal I think. There is nothing wrong with that. Publishers feel that this influences what Dutch buyers might end up picking up.

My third reason goes hand in hand with the second one in a way and that is that one can interpretate a book in different ways. When someone reads a book they can get very different ideas. Their society and experiences have shaped their world and that influences how they can interpretate a book. This can also be a reason for a cover to change, drastically, because the publisher might not be feeling it for this reason.

Titles are often changed for reasons similar to the second reason mentioned above. Added on to that is that English titles don’t always translate that well to Dutch.

Examples

Let us head into what you are here for though. Examples of this. I have a few. I will point out that these examples are pretty much all young adult except one which is middle grade. I also choose covers that are very different and not just has little tweakes.

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As you can see the US and UK ones are different but still seem like they came from the same place. The Dutch ones however have gone a completely different route. There is no girl but a book. While the book granted does play a role I’m not sure if it gives of the right vibe for the series. The Dutch title of the first book doesn’t translate to Dragon’s Green but it is close. The title of the second book, The Chosen Ones, is very different however. The Dutch title translates to The Magicians. That is a bit of a different take. My personal preference goes towards the UK covers.

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It is interesting to see how the first book in US and UK are pretty much the same and that there is such a different choice for the second book. The Dutch covers are completely different. I think the US and UK covers make the book more romantically alluring and mysteriously while I think the Dutch covers embrace the actual events in the book. For that reason I prefer the Dutch covers. They ALSO have a dustjacket with a different illustration on the inside of it and they are just gorgeous all in all.

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I decided not to do all 4 books here. I think no matter what way you look at this, the covers are a mess. Only the UK ones seem to have some kind of continuency. The first time I saw the Dutch cover I didn’t even realize this was the translation of The Darkest Minds. It wasn’t until a nother Dutch blog showed it that I noticed what was on her shirt. I actually saw this is the Australian cover as well. What were you thinking? The title also translates to The Survivors. The title for the fourth book is accurate.

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I don’t understand this change. I think the US cover clearly shows how the main character has a thing with comics and drawing where as I don’t think the Dutch cover shows anything of the book. But I haven’t read it yet either. The Dutch cover translates to Find me between the stars…. Yeah I don’t know either.

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Initially the Lunar Chronicles were translated but stopped after Scarlet because it wasn’t selling well. Then Blossom Books took the rights of the Dutch ones over and published the hardcovers with the us/uk covers. In the last few months however they have changed the covers to these with the paperbacks and can I just say how stunning these are? I wish they’d done it with the hardcovers. I wouldn’t have minded having a double set then haha.

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One of the few times the Netherlands was ahead of the publishing game. Caraval released 2 months before anywhere else. In this cover. The title translates to The Black Heart and despite it being so different it did grow on me. It does show the wonder that Caraval has on the characters. Having said that, they recently rereleased it with the US cover and the second book also with the US cover. Shame. When you change a cover like this, commit to it please.

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And lastly I want to show you The Surface Breaks. The US cover is stunning and detailed. The Dutch cover is pretty simple. It doesn’t compare. I also don’t understand the title change? Why change the title to an English word. At least go Dutch then. This one annoys me the most I think haha.

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29 thoughts on “From US or UK Cover to Dutch Cover

  1. They also changed Everless with the paperback, to the UK cover I believe. And let’s not talk about the change in the Throne of Glass series! However, we stick to the original Dutch covers with An Ember in the ashes, while the US and UK covers got a makeover. I think that’s a good decision. Shadow of the Fox has been published a week earlier here as well, but they kept the original cover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. I decided against doing all the ones with changes. 😉
      While I hate changes in the middle of a series I do kind of understand why they changed the uk/us covers for an ember in the ashes. However I don’t think the change would go well over here no.

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  2. This is such a cool post! I haven’t read The Last Namsara but I agree those Dutch covers are lovely, and the covers of The Lunar Chronicles are really pretty, too. The change that surprised me most when I visited Amsterdam last year was The Miniaturist; it had a completely different title and a completely different cover but, like you said, the markets differ from country to country.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Super interesting post 😁 I generally don’t think about covers beyond how beautifully its made so this was really interesting and made me think! I also reeeeeally hate it when they translate a book but give it an English title all the same thats not the original title! it makes no sense!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I understand how difficult translating can be, but I hate when publishers translate the book title into something completely different from the original. Many times I don’t even know which book I’m staring at after being translated to Portuguese. Luckily, we don’t change the covers many often – Eliza and Her Monsters kept the US cover. I don’t mind if the covers change for better (the Dutch covers of The Lunar Chronicles are gorgeous), but sometimes the cover has nothing to do with the story and that makes me mad.

    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same. When there are small changes I can understand the title not directly translating because that is just the problem with language but going with a completely different title. I’d really liked to know why they decide to do that sometimes.

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  5. You definitely make a good point about having a market with a different culture! In my country, translated books usually keep the original covers and titles, since, if I’m speaking with honesty, many Filipinos still suffer from colonial mentality. Anyway, the Dutch covers for The Last Namsara are freaking gorgeous!!! ♥

    – Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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  6. I have always wondered a bit at the differences between country publications, but I never put this much thought into it. Thank you for explaining your perspective and sharing! Translation sounds difficult… I can understand changing the title to appeal to a different cultural audience, but you’re right, that last title change seems silly. I wonder what inspired such a change?

    While the Dutch covers of The Lunar Chronicles are gorgeous, I’m still partial to the simplicity of the US covers. I think I just don’t like it when women in ball gowns are on book covers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m almost itching to send out an email and ask. Maybe one day when I have enough nerve I will. 😉

      I agree that I quite like the original ones. I think they also more easily capture the kick ass females. Cinder wasn’t exactly a very ball gown girl haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You should! If the publisher answers your question, I think it would be quite an interesting exchange to have. Here’s hoping that you will ask and they will respond some day. 🙂

        Oh yes, Cinder is DEFINITELY not a ballgrown girl. In fact, that’s a huge point of that first book!

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  7. I sometimes read books in translation to practice my language skills and it’s interesting to see how the titles sometimes change. Like Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark is “Las Marcas de la Muerte” in Spanish, which translates to “The Marks of Death”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love this list of covers you’ve showed us! There are some I’ll be showcasing in my own Foreign to Dutch covers in one of my Cover Crush articles, like the Louse O’Neill one. That cover change is something I don’t really understand either… Especially the title, as you said so as well. Why keep an English title and change it entirely? They should’ve sticked with the original title or use a Dutch one. This is so strange haha!

    I mostly find myself preferring UK covers when looking to UK/US and it’s seldom that I prefer a Dutch cover. I mostly always think the Dutch covers are less impressive than the original ones – there are exceptions, which I’ll be talking about as well in my article. I don’t know why they always do this.. Maybe it’s too expensive to use the original covers for our Publishers? I don’t know. But marketing-wise I don’t see why Dutch people Need new covers? Especially when they’re mostly always less stunning than the original ones, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it is so strange. I can’t honestly think of a reason as to why they did that.

      I think in certain ways they can be and in other instances I do think they hit the nail on the head (and then in the case of J.D Robb’s In Death they go and change the covers again which was the worst decision of ever). I do think that we are a bit different from America and Britain regardless of how Western we are. It would be interesting to see a more in depth post from publishers about this though.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. For some reason I usually prefer the UK versions of book covers. Changing the title is weird to me, like how they changed Philosopher’s Stone to Sorcerer’s Stone; for what reason? They said something about Americans not understanding what a philosopher’s stone was, but what’s sorcerer’s stone? 😆

    I still get a kick out of the Dutch Dragon Green cover because that book graphic is a free stock image, and it was my blog header for a few months the first year I was blogging. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Het stoort me minder wanneer ze consequent zijn en er voor zorgen dat de covers een hele serie lang bij elkaar passen. Natuurlijk vind ik soms de oorspronkelijke cover mooier dan de versie de we bij de vertaling te zien krijgen maar af en toe is het ook een verbetering. Maar wisselende covers vind ik echt ontzettend frustrerend. Of verschillende formaten … nog zo’n ergerlijk iets.

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  11. I’m so confused about Eliza and her Monsters. It looks like a completely different book? The US cover is perfect for the story, whereas the Dutch one looks like a sci-fi romance? The title doesn’t help either. Why would they change it to that? It’s been a while since I read it so maybe I just don’t remember it, but I’m pretty sure there’s nothing about stars in there? It also sounds really romance focussed which it isn’t… There is romance, but now it sounds really romance heavy? I’m just so confused haha

    Liked by 1 person

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