Why do the U.S. and the U.K. have different covers for the same book?

The U.S. and U.K. covers of 'Purity'
The U.S. and U.K. covers of 'Purity'
Courtesy of publishers

Every week, The Thread tackles your book questions, big and small. Ask a question now.

This week's question: Why do American and British publishers create different covers for the same books?

Never judge a book by its cover — unless you're publishing it in a new country.

Even though the titles stay the same, American and British publishers often create new covers for the same texts.

The simple reason is that market tastes differ. Often, British covers defer to darker colors or more negative space, while American covers tend to be flashier. Every trend is made to be broken, however, as evidenced by the covers of some of this year's biggest books.

One noticeable difference is that American covers don't shy away from portraying characters. Many British covers avoid this, giving the audience a chance to imagine their own versions.

The push for publishers in different countries to tailor covers for their individual markets actually feeds the idea that a redesign is necessary. The more designers create an "American-looking" cover, the more they codify what an American cover looks like.

You can compare the versions yourself with the gallery below. American versions are on the left, British versions are on the right.

Which do you prefer? Tell us in the comments below.

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