When it comes to designing book covers, the case of the Poison Study Trilogy has always interested me. This is a trilogy of three books that has undergone three different cover design treatments. Not just a different cover for the hardcover and paperback versions, mind you. Not a different design treatment from different publishers, either. I think in this case, it comes down to marketing. Let's take a look.
When the series was first published with Luna (Harlequin imprint), they were hardcover and looked like this.
So pretty, no? I personally loved the HC Poison Study, and picked it up at the Grove B&N without knowing anything about it. Such a yummy book! These covers are composed for the older female fantasy reader. The Yelena on the front looks distinguished and proper, fierce and tough. The ambiguous relics in the backgrounds are more vague in their use of design, but the stone walls make the atmosphere feel cold. I can't see many YA or romance readers picking up these books. But then came these.
Absolutely stunning! Especially when lined up side-by-side like this. These covers were beautiful and had much to lend to the atmosphere of the books. These paperbacks are from Mira (also a Harlequin imprint) and the third book, Fire Study was going to come out only in this form. I desperately wanted my copies to match each other on my shelf, so I went out and bought them again. Buying them again didn't bug me nearly as much as waiting twice as long for the third and last book to be released! But this art and design is much more romantic than the HC versions above. I think Mira probably picked up three times as many readers with this new artwork, simply due to the warmer feel to them. The romance in the series is present, for sure, but not nearly as much as the fantasy elements are. All in all, I think this was a great direction to take the covers and was pleased as punch to own a full set.
The publisher, however, wasn't done yet.
These two versions were released under the Harlequin Teen imprint, as especially pronounced with the younger girl face on the covers. I have no idea how these sold, but judging by the lack of third book, I am guessing not very well. The teen-crossover appeal is strong, but these covers are so bland and ambiguous. Very boring. I would quickly pass over these to pick up the much more alluring covers above.
Regardless, it's an awful lot of attention for one publisher to put into the covers of a trilogy of books. What are your thoughts?