books aren’t just what we do, they’re who we are

Judging a book by its cover

I’m all about different editions of a book showcasing different looks — I have, after all, over a dozen different copies of the Princess Bride — most of which are differently-styled English language editions. But I thought this article was a fantastic explanation both of why certain covers exist, and why they eventually change.

The hero or heroine of a typical YA novel is trying to make sense of the world and his or her own place within it, but the physical book is a clearly defined object unto itself. Indeed, it’s an accessory, explains Marc Aronson, author of Race and a longtime YA writer and editor. “It has to sit comfortably next to all the other objects in the reader’s world, their magazines and clothes and music. It’s all about a sense of coolness and intelligence. It’s a style — it’s saying, ‘We are exactly who you are. This is the world you’ll feel comfortable with. Nothing about this book is going to make you feel awkward to carry it and wear it. It’s as sleek and cool and as with-it as you are.'”

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