Book Envy

I have a weird bookish pet peeve.

It really annoys me that most German edition covers are beautiful works of art, whilst we’re left with crappy covers over here in English land.  Obviously, this is completely subjective, and there are many beautiful book covers in all languages, but this is just a trend I’ve noticed in my own reading.

Note: hover your mouse over the images below for my witty commentary/explanation (if you need it) on which covers are horrible.

I first noticed this when googling hardback copies of Leviathan, Behemoth,  and Goliath, all by Scott Westerfeld. I loved Leviathan when I read it. It’s an alternative history World War I retelling, where the Allies have used evolution and biological science to create animal based ‘machines’ and weapons, whilst the Axis powers have used steampunk technology. It’s seriously so good. Unfortunately, the covers in the English editions are horrid. They start out ok, but then become all annoying with pictures of the characters on the cover (hint: I usually) hate it when books have pictures of characters on the cover. Meanwhile, the German series continue along the same, super awesome steampunk technology theme for the rest of the covers. Not. Fair.

I then noticed this trend for beautiful book covers when looking at various editions of Cornelia Funke’s books. She is one of my autobuy authors (as long as it’s YA not children), and I adore the books. I wanted to know what the covers were like in the original language (German). The answer? Gorgeous.

Take the Inkheart series. This was the first Cornelia Funke series I read and I loved it. I have all three books in the original English edition, which I quite like. When I went to repurchase them however, I was greeted by a disgusting new edition (the third book, pictured below, is the least horrendous). The German editions, meanwhile, are off being all fairytale-esque and beautiful.

The same thing happened with her other more new adult series, the Mirrorworld series (see this blog post for my review of the most recent book). The most recent English editions of the Mirrorworld series are ok, but there was a shocker a while back. The German ones, of course, are gorgeous.

After this, I got curious, so I started googling German book covers (don’t judge me). I discovered a trend. There are many examples, these above are just a few. But, it turns out that many German book covers (particuarly for fantasy) are more beautiful than the English covers.

shiver german
These are ShiverLinger, and Forever, by Maggie Stiefvater. Gorgeous

There was, of course, one final test. Harry Potter. There have been SO MANY Harry Potter covers, some beautiful, some ugly, some in between. Here’s just a selection of the various English editions (I own the black and white sketch ones – they are beautiful).

And here’s the German versions (the ebook/audiobook covers). Of course, they’re gorgeous.

harry potter german

So here’s my question, German/English readers: Why are the German covers always so pretty? Are there ugly German covers? Can you show them to me so I lose the temptation to learn German purely so I can buy all these beautiful book covers? Do you (for some odd reason) find the ugly covers appealing? If so, WHY??


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