In Defense of Movie Tie-In Covers

Whether or not you’re familiar with the publishing industry, the oft-repeated adage of not judging a book by its cover often falls flat in application. The truth is that a book’s cover is the first thing a person sees, whether they’re browsing through their favorite bookstore or clicking around online. Similarly, there are all sorts of people who will purchase their favorite book multiple times with different covers just to fill out their collection.

When it comes to movie tie-in covers, there are a lot of readers who hold intensely polarized opinions. Lori of Writing My Own Fairy Tale wrote a full blog post about this. More recently, one Reddit user proclaimed that “film-adapted book covers should not be a thing.” This thread alone sparked three other branches of discussion, wherein one user sarcastically proclaimed that the poster of the original thread was “ruined (RUINED!) by a movie tie-in.” Other users in the thread argued that the content of the novel could never be ruined by something as seemingly unimportant as a cover.

This is just one example of the many lively debates surrounding the prevalence of movie tie-in covers and how they can affect the decision to purchase a book. Regardless of how one feels about the look of these covers, one thing is certain: movie adaptations drive sales. Thus, movie tie-in covers drive sales. The reasoning behind this is centered around brand recognition.

Consider that there are many people who may have heard of or seen the film but didn’t actually know that it was based on a book. Seeing the movie tie-in cover would spark recognition, thus increasing the likelihood that someone who might not pick the book off the shelf will be interested in reading it. The reach of movies in the cultural zeitgeist is important, especially when it comes to recognizing the familiar faces of actors and celebrities. Keeping that in mind, it makes sense that similar covers give people the chance to read the book that inspired the film they liked.

Now consider if the movie adaptation isn’t great. We’ve all seen our fair share of movie adaptations that fell flat. With that in mind, is it any wonder that even a mediocre movie can inspire people to pick up its textual equivalent in order to see how it holds up?

Love them or hate them, it’s clear that movie tie-in covers are here to stay. These redesigned covers coincide with their film adaptation release and remain a staple in pushing sales and getting people to pick up the book. With the right book cover, you might just find that your book’s sales increase exponentially.

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