Paperback shiter

Do publishers deliberately give paperback re-issues of their books covers that are uglier than the hardback edition?

Two books that I have been interested in recently both have really skanky paperback covers, but quite nice hardback customers.

Freakonomics hardback cover
Freakonomics hardback cover
Freakonomics paperback cover
Freakonomics paperback cover
Working the Wheel hardback cover
Working the Wheel hardback cover
Working the Wheel paperback cover
Working the Wheel paperback cover

Given that paperbacks are supposedly used because they cost publishers less to produce, surely it is counter-productive to go to the cost of designing a new cover — particularly when you already have a perfectly good design.

Perhaps designing these ugly covers could be a method of shaming people into buying the more expensive hardback editions, even after they’ve waited for the paperback to come out? Or am I thinking too much along the lines of Freakonomics?

1 comment

  1. Perhaps it’s just that the people who buy hardbacks are different from the people who buy paperbacks? The hardback can afford to present something more refined and tasteful, because the person who takes the time to browse the hardbacks and spend the extra cash could be stereotyped with similar adjectives. The paperback needs to shout and scream “LOOK AT ME! OVER HERE! I’m more exciting than my neighbours!” to attract attention in a much more crowded field.