I’m one of those people who sometimes buys wine or beer based on the label alone. I have this little collection of some of them in front of me on my desk. The display currently includes: Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon from Transylvania, Sideshow No. 7 – The Contortionist, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Dragon’s Milk Ale, Moorhouse Pendle Witches Brew, New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, Magic Hat Circus Boy, and Picaroons Dark and Stormy Night.
Um, yeah, there’s kinda a theme.
On rare occasions, I also buy books based on their covers even though that’s perilously close to violating the old adage. It happens under either of these conditions:
- The book is a particularly significant addition to my permanent library and I want a ‘nice’ copy rather than a mass market paperback or poorly designed larger format.
- The book is by an author whose work I’m collecting and I’m similarly fussy about what the book looks like.
A current example of the latter is Joe Hill’s new novel, Horns. I am a fan and admirer of his work and, if you haven’t read anything by him, I strongly recommend you get yourself a copy of 20th Century Ghosts or, if you like graphic novels, dive into the world of Locke & Key.
Anywho. At additional expense, I preordered Horns…in hardcover…from Amazon UK…and will wait longer to receive it…because when I took a look at these two covers:
I just think the UK version (on the left) is a much more interesting and attractive object to have in my home.
Actually, it was an even easier decision with Hill’s first novel. Here are the UK and USA editions:
See, Heart-Shaped Box is a road novel. Get it? A road novel? I’m sure somewhere there is a marketing department that felt great about that one, but it’s just such a painfully obvious and boring choice. It looks like any number of other books. Whereas the collage approach used in both the UK version of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns is more unique, suggestive, and strange. It says, “Herein lie wonders of danger and darkness never seen before! Won’t you come in?”
It’s more honest. More distinctive. Just plain old better.
In this case, I’m happy to defer my reading pleasure to have it arrive in a package I’ll also enjoy.