I think what burns me the most about this is that the original (hardcover) cover is so pretty and unique. It's not like every other YA fantasy on the shelves. The new paperback cover is too much like other books in the genre, and it obscures the fact that this is a historical fantasy, based in China, with Chinese characters. The change is in conjunction with a re-styling for the second book in the series:
The author has posted about this on her blog, and said that the publisher was reacting to the poor reception they got from booksellers with the first cover (Borders wouldn't pick it up for their stores and Barnes & Noble only in small numbers). It seems like the move is an attempt to gain a wider readership (and wider acceptance by booksellers) by making the cover more generic. *sigh* I can't even begin to be as eloquent as others on this topic, so I'll provide some links to reaction around the blogosphere.
The first place I'd point you to is author Cindy Pon's blog, where she discusses the cover change and her reactions to it.
Here's Ari's post at Reading in Color: "Guess What This Post is About?" in which she discusses the author's stance as well as discussing the covers.
Here's a post by bookshop on LiveJournal: "i don't want to be this person. Dear Publishing Industry, stop FORCING me to be this person." Great follow-up discussion going on in the comments, too.
Inkstone has a great post on it called "I guess I still have a post in me", which talks about the publishing industry and book sales in conjunction with this debacle. Inkstone is also gathering a master list of links here: Link Collection: Silver Phoenix
And here are just a few more links:
- "Sad" - written by author Jeannie Lin
- "Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix" at Writers of Color 50 Book Challenge
- Attack of the Whitewashing Strikes Back Again! (Signal boost and ranting all in one!) - megwrites
- Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind: Dear Greenwillow Books
What do you think? Do you agree with the publisher that a more generic cover (that looks more like urban fantasy than historical fantasy set in China) will get the book to sell better? What is your reaction to this?