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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.