Monday, March 17, 2014

A little more on covers

I care a lot about covers, and a small selection with very little text might illustrate why. Covers can make every difference in getting a book to jump off the shelf, and I often suspect word- driven editors of slighting the cover's importance. Specialized knowledge of a cover subject can point to things your editor or publisher ignores. I always thought that putting a conventional "street pigeon" on the Pruett pb of Aloft kept all the pigeon fanciers from buying it!

Here I will show three late 20th century Goshawk covers, plus the original and the one that was on "mine", the Wilder Places edition (no, I didn't pick it). You tell ME what would get you to pick one up.

The first, English hardbound, front and back; three paperback editions; then the not very good cover on "mine." Right or double click for bigger.



Finally, for comparison, the excellent Lyons pb of Edge (Quinn's "Blue" my suggestion, but they designed it), and the hapless pigeon.

18 comments:

Matthew MAKAREWICZ said...

I like the Penguin Modern cover and would have been drawn to purchase it over the others. I bought you're version, I'm guessing, sight unseen. I also like the On the Edge of the Wild cover. However, my edition has a different cover. Still, the cover did not influence the purchase.

PBurns said...

Penguin. Far and away. Not the best book, but the best cover. And yes, you are right, we DO judge a book by its cover, like it it not. The old line is a lie. Learning.

Lucas Machias said...

The Penquin. The rest stink to no end.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Goshawk-York-Review-Books-Classics/dp/1590172493

I like the Bruno Liljefors one above even better.

Covers are a pet peeve with me. A good book desires a cover to reflect it and few do. Publishers are cheap and clueless.

Lucas Machias said...

http://pulp-books.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/T_H_Wh-The_Gosh-15901724931.jpg

The infamous falcon edition?

Steve Bodio said...

That is Sir Robert Cheseman's Gyr by Holbein, and the first cover planned by NYRB. I think I caught it before they printed, and none were. They never thanked me either, boo- hoo (;-)).

Andrea said...

My copy of TH White is similar to the first cover, but the title is in a clean serif rather than the jaggy font on yours.

I rather prefer the block print. The Penguin cover is the same image used on the Neville Spearman edition of the "Art of Falconry" by Lascelles, and though it's a good image, it's not my favorite. The block print style I believe was also used on some of White's Arthur books. It's a dated look, yes, but I still like it. The one on the right really just kind of sucks, though.

Steve Bodio said...

Andrea: you have a US 1st I think; I have the Brit.

We appear to be alone in liking the block print, which actually gives a "Gos" impression.

All others but the pb Quinn Edge are worse, but the Penguin, from Salvin & Broderick but I think originally from Traite de Fauconnerie, is not bad.

Moro Rogers said...

I like the red one at the top. The Penguin cover looks kind of mannered and static to me.

Anonymous said...

Many, many people buy books BECAUSE of the covers! And I have been guilty of that myself. But having had what I consider a "starvation" access to good natural history books of any kind most of my life, I would meticulously have checked out ALL of them to see if they were REALLY about Goshawks, and then greedily snatched whatever was available! IF I could have afforded it! The phenomenon of Amazon.com, and the acquisition(at long, long last) of a credit card(for that purpose SPECIFICALLY and ONLY!!), has changed my life forever! Well, until the computer world collapses. But back to the covers--my eye would have gravitated(leading to snatching) the realistic art of the Penguin issue(the one in the middle, 3rd from the top). Which I will NOW be looking for-as-do I DARE admit this here?--I've never read(or even seen a copy) of this book yet!....L.B.

Anonymous said...

I like the original English best and the Viking second, for the reason they convey something of the personality of the bird as expressed by White. They are dated but not unappealingly so. Don't care for the other three, the second to the last being quite awful.

Phillip Glasier's introduction to my copy of Salvin and Broderick says Broderick did all of the plates, including XIX of the young female goshawk.

D

Peculiar said...

I agree with Moro on the Penguin: safe but boring. Count me as another fan of the woodblock. The one on the right looks like The Goshawk by Ayn Rand.

Pity that the NYRB fiasco was never printed. Those would be serious collector's items in 50 years or so!

Steve Bodio said...

Lane: the current in print NYRB paperback has the Liljefors gos striking into black grouse, in my post on my covers below.

Daniel, I'm with you. Thanks for the Salvin & Broderick info-- there IS a brown gos in Traite but I don't have it.

Peculiar, you hit the nail on the head with that 3rd pb!

Steve Bodio said...

Lane: the current in print NYRB paperback has the Liljefors gos striking into black grouse, in my post on my covers below.

Daniel, I'm with you. Thanks for the Salvin & Broderick info-- there IS a brown gos in Traite but I don't have it.

Peculiar, you hit the nail on the head with that 3rd pb!

Matthew MAKAREWICZ said...

As an afterthought, I will buy anything with a Chatham painting on the cover. I have the paperback Querencia on my nightstand and a wall full of Harrison.

Anonymous said...

I looked it up on Amazon--they did show the Black Grouse stooping painting--BUT, in ordering a cheapo copy, there is no telling what I'll end up with--maybe one even YOU(Steve B.) have never seen!....L.B.

Heather Houlahan said...

Penguin. No contest.

Andy said...

Speaking of covers, what about the "Prisoners' Bluff" cover? I spend a good deal of thought about the teaser...connection to Magdalena. The cover seemed very familiar, as if I had, or had had the book. Will you follow up? (Jan 26, 2014 POST)

Steve Bodio said...

Andy-- been busy and have not followed up. I will, though.

Another clue: one went north, and spent Seven Years In....