Nothing annoys me more than finding the only in-print edition of a particular book I’d like to read has a movie tie-in cover. Even a “now a major motion picture” band across the top, no matter how small the type, is enough for me to shove the novel back on the shelf and seek out an alternative.
It’s unavoidable, of course. Probably half of all current editions of Pride and Prejudice have Colin Firth looking aloofly at you from the jacket. It takes little effort to pull a still from a film or television series and slap it on the front, to lure in any browsers who think “I watched that…I wonder what the book is like.” Sound marketing.
I still hate it.
I hate the assumptions behind the idea, as if the novel’s adaptation into “a major motion picture” validates the text, makes it more worth your time. Which is rather silly, considering how many awful books get made into films. I don’t care if the novel’s a major motion picture or not. The only thing I care about is whether the book is any good. And I’d like something on my shelf where it feels like a little effort went into the cover design, where the marketers felt the text was worth a proper presentation, not dependent on familiarity with outside media representations of the same thing.
I am overreacting. I am completely aware of this.
But how about the following scenario: what happens if your beloved book gets a terrible adaptation? Do you actually want to be constantly reminded of it every time you take a stroll through the bookstore? Do you want copies of A Wizard of Earthsea to proudly proclaim “now an exciting mini-series from the sci-fi channel” when the author herself disowned that very same mini-series? (I’ve seen it, by the way. Perhaps I will write about it one day, but I’m not sure the screen could hold so much vehement bile.)
And the source of the complaint…do I have the right to be angry that the only English edition of Solaris in print in Canada look like this?