The Biggest Bluff: US and UK Versions

Dan Pink recommended The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win as one of his favourites of 2020. I clicked the link to go to Amazon.com (Dan is in the US), and then copied and pasted the title into Amazon UK because that is where I am located.

alternative covers of US and UK versions of The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win

Same book, different covers. Actually, the US version itself has two different covers. The hardback is the black one (shown here on the left), and the red one is the paperback version.

In the UK, there is no paperback version and the hardback has the same cover (the red one) as the US paperback.

How much thought goes into these design decisions? Are they decisions at all, or did someone just pick the design out of the pile of entries and use that without thinking too much? That is maybe not so far fetched: After all, a gazillion books are published every second. How much attention can an executive give to cover design of a particular book?

If this sounds familiar..

If this sounds familiar, you may remember these two covers that I wrote about two years ago under the headline Travelers and Travellers (US cover on the left and UK version on the right.)

alternative covers of US and UK versions of Travelers In The Third Reich

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6 thoughts on “The Biggest Bluff: US and UK Versions

  1. The simplest explanation I can find is the more colorful and eye-catching the cover is, the more interest. To appeal to the widest market, you don’t want to make people think too hard or take too much time to look at the cover. I think in journalism we were taught to write for the 9th grade level. Not sure how that translates 50 years later. It seems like the younger generations get smarter faster than we ever did.

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    1. I enjoy browsing now, and more colourful doesn’t equate to more interesting for me. I am still hooked by a good title, and put off by a rubbish cover design.

      If a book gets past that hurdle I will open the book at any page and start reading. A paragraph is usually enough to tell me whether the book is for me and I am for the book.

      What about you?

      Waterstones – one of our few remaining bookshops – has hit the right balance. Good books, space to walk around, and little handwritten mini reviews from staff taped to the shelves – Here’s the link to https://www.waterstones.com

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  2. I wonder if it has to do with the publisher/licensing. Even on my Kindle the US and UK versions of a book have different covers. When many years ago I didn’t have a Kindle and came to the UK for a week, I found the perfect B&B which was half-way between The British Museum and a huge 3-floor Waterstones. It was heaven.

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  3. Years ago, huge consideration went into book covers. Large book publishers had art departments who created the covers after consultation with editorial, the author, etc. Now that so much has changed these days, I imagine publishers can switch and change covers about to try and capture different markets.

    I remember as an editor finding it fascinating to look at the rows of artists and the book covers that they were creating (by hand, of course). Smaller publishing houses and development houses simply had this on a smaller scale. Bet ‘them days are long gone’ now.

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