You can pick your own book cover -- Publishers hope alternate book covers will draw new readers to genre fiction

By Fred McKindra
Updated July 20, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

You can pick your own book cover

Forget Choose Your Own Adventure — publishers want you to choose your own…book cover. At least three recent fiction titles have landed with two different dust jackets. Why the trendlet? For Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, DAW hoped to target traditional fantasy readers as well as those ”that don’t ordinarily read genre [fiction],” says DAW co-publisher Betsy Wollheim. So one cover features the book’s magician hero; for the second, she says, ”we took a detail from the background and created a cover that looked more literary.”

Sometimes, though, the dual approach is more of a lark, as with the red and blue covers for Steven Hall’s novel The Raw Shark Texts and the pink and yellow designs for Miranda July’s story collection No One Belongs Here More Than You. July, a filmmaker and visual artist, ”was involved in everything down to the size of the period on the cover,” says Scribner editor-in-chief Nan Graham. But pink fanciers should act fast or get stung: Though the first print run included 10,000 copies of each color, later printings offer only yellow jackets.