A Tale of Two Covers: Life of Pi


Sometimes, well, LOTS of times we see re-do’s of covers. Sometimes cover re-designs great, sometimes they’re not. Its fun to compare and examine the differences and similarities of cover concepts.

TODAY: Since I was trolling for covers, I came upon a new cover for Life of Pi. Now this is NOT the cover that they’ll be inevitably running when Ang Lee’s movie version of Life of Pi hits theaters. I’m sure we’ll see a movie cove slapped onto a paperback or ebook with the ubiquitous “now a major movie picture” But I digress. Here are the two covers.

Now this first cover of Life of Pi is the one that most people who have read the book are familiar with. Published by Random house. It has a lovely illustrated cover. It shows us the main aspect of the story, which is the protagonist being trapped in a lifeboat with a very dangerous tiger. Type treatment is whimsical, and the story at times has a fairy tale quality to it, and is reflected in the cover.

Here’s the second take. This cover has more of an asian feel to it, and is evocative of the place that the story takes place in, mainly India. The tiger features prominently on the cover, as it should. We see the Mann Booker Prize burst on the cover. a bit of a distraction from the design, but a necessary evil these days. Again, lovely illustrative take on the book.

Which is better? In this case, its not a matter of one failing, per se. Both covers are nice, and you don’t need to tell the whole story. Personally, when I see the first cover, I get a real sense of this small boy being lost in the vastness of the ocean, it speaks to me more. So I’ll go with the first one. Once again, nothing against the second one, which is lovely, I just like the first one better.

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A discussion of book cover design and trends

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