Cover issues

I’ve just come across an argument on one of children’s mailing lists regarding Jaclyn Dolamore‘s debut novel, Magic Under Glass. The publisher, Bloomsbury USA, have put a white girl on the cover of  a novel where the protagonist is dark-skinned which reprises the cover issues that Justine Larbalestier originally had for her novel, Liar.

The Reading in Color blog is apoplectic as are Ah Yuan and Aja Romano. All are calling for a boycott of Bloomsbury USA as one response and writing emails to the marketing department about this as another. Dolamore does not appear to have had any input to the cover but it does appear somewhat astonishing error from an American branch of the publisher, especially when done twice.

It does make me slightly curious as to how to approach this. I’m not sure that “don’t buy the book” is productive in the long term since it reinforces feelings that books won’t sell or that authors are difficult. Larbalestier, in the same post, questioned:

Are the big publishing houses really only in the business of selling books to white people? That’s not a very sustainable model if true.

I rather think, but do not definitely know, that the model is to sell to one demographic in this case, that these cases are more carelessness by designers thinking of standard covers. Larbalestier appears to have had a great Australian designer who “got” the book and reacted to it. Perhaps that was more luck than anything else.

Got a feeling that I’ll be ordering this through the library as its premise intrigues me.

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