So why does a publisher decide to change the cover designs like Scholastic has done with the Harry Potter covers designed by Mary GrandPré?
The answer is simple – to sell more books.
That being said, the new cover designed by award wining and New York Times best-selling author, Kazu Kibuishi, in my opinion, is really quite good. His work actually resembles that of GrandPré as if he studied under her. Kibuishi said, “The Harry Potter covers by Mary GrandPré are so fantastic and iconic…When I was asked to submit samples, I initially hesitated because I didn’t want to see them reinterpreted! However, I felt that if I were to handle the project, I could bring something to it that many other designers and illustrators probably couldn’t, and that was that I was also a writer of my own series of middle grade fiction. As an author myself, I tried to answer the question, ‘If I were the author of the books – and they were like my own children – how would I want them to be seen years from now?’ When illustrating the covers, I tried to think of classic perennial paperback editions of famous novels and how those illustrations tend to feel. In a way, the project became a tribute to both Harry Potter and the literary classics.”
While I like the new design, I have to be honest and tell you that I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some have said they prefer the original covers – the why change what was working thought; others love the new design and feel that it breathes new life into the series – exactly what Scholastic is banking on.
So I leave it up to you – will a new cover mean you have to buy a whole new set of Harry Potter books?
Note: We are hosting a panel discussion on Saturday to explore the reasons behind the success of the Harry Potter Series. I’ll follow-up and let you know what attendees think of the new cover.
Anne Converse Willkomm, MFA