Can I Ask You A Question – Is There a Need For Adult Covers?

With the debate concerning the new release of Roald Dahl’s 50th Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adult edition recently hitting the news, it is intriguing what opinion the general public take on the matter.

On balance the two examples given here show a great step away from what Roald Dahl would have expected from his work and the way it was designed. Although another Quentin Blake (the original illustrator for the books) cover is also planning to be released, it does beg the question whether adult covers are really needed at all. The 2nd cover indefinitely evokes darker themes of the book, but then is that necessary to highlight for a children’s book? The core of the novel is a boy and his love for creativity and chocolate, not issues surrounding the perception of children and poverty/wealth divide in society. Alternatively adult are entitled, and still enjoy, reading the books and therefore should the market not cater to them as much as it does the younger generations?

Roald Dahl 2Roald Dahl

What do you think? Is there a need for adult covers? Are they only relevant for more mature novels? Which is your favourite cover?

James Hamilton

Comment below with your views and thoughts.

Header image courtesy of CTRLF5 via Flickr

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4 Comments on this post.
  • Martin Garrod
    31 August 2014 at 13:35
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    “another Quentin Blake (the original illustrator for the books) cover is also planning to be released,”

    No. Just No. There might be plans to release another Quentin Blake cover, but the cover itself, being an inanimate object, cannot make plans and is not, “planning to be released.”

    “The 2nd cover indefinitely evokes darker themes…”

    Evocation does not have longevity. It is either being evoked or it isn’t. Definitely.

    “Alternatively adult are entitled, and still enjoy, reading the books…”

    Wrong. Wrong in number, and missing an infinitve. Re-cast this as: Alternatively adults are entitled to, and still enjoy, reading the books… then go back to grammar school and resit your O-level before proceeding any further with a University education. Once you have some grasp of ordering your thoughts into cogent grammatical sentences come back and ask some grown up questions.

    Separate adult covers are not required any more than we have to wear matching pairs of socks. You can if you want, but they are not obligatory.

  • Kate @ Midnight Book Girl
    31 August 2014 at 14:07
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    I think if it works, than do it. The Harry Potter books published in England had both children and adult covers, and they’re both gorgeous and collectible. I personally enjoy collecting my favorite books in multiple cover editions.

    Of course, it’d be nice is adults could just read what they want to read without a special cover to make it seem like they aren’t reading a childrens book. Or if books covers weren’t so gender concerned (pink and pretty for women, dark and gloomy for men). As a book blogger and reviewer who covers a lot of YA, I’ve gotten over the worry that people will judge me for reading certain books, but I can understand that other people do worry. I’d rather the publishers cater to people’s bookish hangups by releasing specialized covers, than have people not read out of fear of society’s judgement.

    But– the adult cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is disturbing. 😉

  • David Marley
    31 August 2014 at 15:41
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    It’s MAY I ask. And covers don’t ‘plan’ to be released in any format, because they lack either volition or even basic mental functions, being paper. Jebus H. Christmas on a velocipede.

  • James Hamilton
    18 September 2014 at 14:15
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    Thanks for all the COMMENTS! I honestly didn’t think anyone would even read this let alone critique grammar. Close reading indeed! Pretty bad retrospectively (especially for an English student) – Back to school for me.

    Interesting middle comment (the non-article hater). Never really saw the reverse argument. Hard to place students within an adult/child split, but definitely interesting to see what publishers will do in the future as this received so much news coverage

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