Reissues of older YA works — those that have gone out of print, as well as those still in print but dated — aren’t a new concept. But as YA continues to grow and authors who were publishing before things heated up find themselves becoming more well-known, more older titles are seeing their covers getting facelifts. Sometimes, the reissue/redesigns come at a key anniversary for the book, as a means of introducing it to new audiences, and other times, these can come when a related book to a series appears, and the new look is meant to revive interest in it.
These reissues and redesigns typically fit newer trends in design and appeal to today’s market. Unlike mid-series redesigns, where the second book in a trilogy gets a new look and that new look carries throughout the rest of the series, these books are titles that have been out already but are getting entirely new looks through and through. An example of reissue and redesigned books you might be familiar with are the reworked Ellen Hopkins books, which maintain a lot of elements of the initial book covers, but they also appear new and fresh.
I find knowing about redesigns is helpful and worthwhile because it can help me make a decision when I’m weeding and updating the YA collection at work; if I know something is being redesigned and will have a wider appeal than the books I have, I might choose to weed and replace. Likewise, it’s helpful when I’m missing book two in a trilogy, as I might then choose to weed them all and replace with the updated look. It seems like 2014 is a big year for these reissue redesigns, so I thought it’d be interesting to round up a bunch of ones I’ve noticed recently and talk about whether they hit the mark or miss it.
Did you know this year marks the 40th anniversary of Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War? You might remember last year’s read along, and one of the things I talked about was the evolution of the book’s cover. I think the reissue for the 40th anniversary on the right is excellent. It captures the mood and spirit of the book and doesn’t date it in the least. I love the font treatment for the title especially. The reissued cover will be out in late spring this year.
Though I think that Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series might be more middle grade than YA, I wanted to include this series in my post because the redesign it’s getting this spring ages it up a bit. The original covers above are illustrated and look quite juvenile. While they look appropriate for the readership, they also look dated. They look like books from the late 1990s (and early 2000s).
This isn’t the first redesign for the series, but another one done to keep it fresh and of interest to readers. But this one certainly looks current and maybe helps age up the series too. The lack of illustrations and focus instead on an iconic image helps that. These covers will hit shelves in April.
Did you know that Lauren Myracle’s ttyl turns ten years old this year? It doesn’t seem like they came out that long ago, but they did. The above are the original covers, and this year, in honor of the tenth anniversary, they’re being reissued with new covers. And I think the new covers are excellent.
The covers are nearly identical to the originals — right down to the color — but they’ve been updated to look more clean and modern. The emoticons are in today’s style, and the font used for the titles is much more in line with today’s design trends. The biggest change is that Myracle’s name is much larger, but it makes sense: she’s really become a well-known name in YA since these books came out. Perhaps due in part to these very books.
The original coves of Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series are above. They’ve changed a little bit over the years, though these are the covers which stick out in my mind whenever I think about them — the series came out when I was in high school.
In June, these are the covers the series will be getting. They’re not bad, but they remind me a lot of the “iconic” covers of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series. It’s a smart move since the covers might be more timeless and they certainly fit a trend going on right now, though they might also blend in because of that. I do think it’d introduce the series to new readers since they look fresher than the originals.
If you remember these covers for Ann Brashares’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, you’re probably of a certain generation. They’re illustrated with nary a real girl on them.
A few years ago, they got a facelift to include actual girls with pants that look like this:
These redesigns looked like a lot of other contemporary books featuring female main characters of the time. They also looked a lot older than the original covers, which I think was — and is — on trend with how a lot of YA books are designed.
This series is getting another new look this April, as the paperbacks are being relaunched in anticipation of Brashares’s new YA book.
The redesigns are certainly in line with current cover trends: we have a font-driven design. Aside from the bright colored font, though, I think the new covers are really boring. They’re minimalist, which I tend to like, but I think they blend too much into the landscape. There’s nothing that makes them stand out (that could be said about the second set of covers I linked to, too, which I think still are appealing to teen readers). Is it me or is there some weird photoshopping going on in the third cover with the butt of that girl’s jeans?
What’s most interesting to me is that the author is introduced as the author of The Here and Now. She’s no longer called the New York Times Bestselling author of this very series (as she was in the first set of covers).
The last series of redesigning come from Tom and Laura McNeal. Tom McNeal, as you may or may not know, wrote Far, Far Away last year, which garnered quite a bit of attention. I like the way they’re going to recover and reissue his and Laura’s backlists. The new looks are much fresher and appealing to today’s readers — older covers are on the left with the new covers on the right.
I especially like the new look to Zipped — it has an entirely different vibe and I want to pick it up.
The reissued covers will be available June 10.
These aren’t the only redesigned/reissued covers we’ll be seeing in the new year. Keep an eye out for even more of Judy Blume’s books to be redesigned (the first two have been revealed already over here) and Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver series is getting a bit of a facelift (it’s primarily in color saturation, and you can see those redesigns here).
If you’re a fan of the Anne of Green Gables series, you might already know that Sourcebooks will be reissuing those, as well. It’s worth checking out the covers they’re using, too, which you can see the first two covers of here.
Any of these stand out to you as winners? Any you think were better in their original looks? I’d love to know, too, if you know of other reissues coming out this year.