Saturday, 9 February 2013

Are We Being Trolled?

One of these books is not like the other ones . . .

Something went very, very wrong with this new 'three in one' Anne of Green Gables set, because she's blonde. Everyone in the world knows Anne 'with an e' is redhead. The new girl is also a c-cup and oozing confidence if that 'come hither' look is anything to go by. The modern plaid shirt? Sure, why not. I'm not having a go at the model. She's gorgeous. But she's not Anne.

My collection, featuring Anne in all her ginger glory.
*SPOILERS* I don't think she married Gilbert until book 5.
Rainbow Valley was a bit 'meh' but Rilla of Ingleside was adorable.

How could the publisher get it so wrong? My first thought was 'how stupid', then my next thought turned to the sinister - is this more whitewashing? Do blondes on the cover really sell more books?

(If you look over to the left, you'll see the large print editions of my novels feature a blonde heroine.
Ondine is most definitely a brunette, by the way. My publishers at Egmont made sure the girl on the cover looked like the girl in the book. But the large print was done by a third party. There was nothing I could do, I didn't see the cover until after it was already on sale. Sigh.)

Then I noticed there really wasn't any more depth to this Anne story. In all the attention this has gained in the world media, nobody has mentioned the name of the publisher.

Because there isn't one.

Well, it's someone, but it's not a publishing house, per se, just a person having a go.

The works of L.M. Montgomery are in the public domain. Sort of, more or less. Copies are available from Project Gutenberg for free. What people (not always publishers, just regular people out to make some cash) are doing is taking works from the public domain, slapping a new 'cover' on it and selling it for actual money.

And readers are, apparently, buying copies.

Like someone did here with Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Nothing quite says 'wild moors' and 'gothic literature' like a naked couple on the beach.

I do feel a little sorry for these old 'public domain' books, because they're open to all kinds of abuse.

Wuthering Heights again, with the stylistic single flower, and the . . . well. It's a Twilight makeover. 'Bella and Edward's favourite/favourite book' depending on which side of the Atlantic you're from. It's the 'Love Never Dies' strapline that cracks me up. I can't help thinking newcomers to the book will be expecting something a little more . . . Twilightish.

I tried reading Wuthering Heights in high school. It was the Penguin Classic edition with a painting of some hills and a gloomy sky. I never finished it. Maybe if those nudies at the beach were on the cover, I might have kept going until I got to that scene. Heathcliffe and Cathy do go to the beach and get it on, right?

I simply couldn't resist. Taking these completely unsuitable book covers to their extreme conclusion, I figured it was only a matter of time before things went really crazy. Like, I dunno, The Pussycat Dolls on a cover of Little Women.

So I embraced the crazy.

You're welcome.


Anonymous said...

Aha! So THAT'S it's all gone weird. Thanks for explaining ...

Ebony McKenna. said...

Weird, yes. Because there is no logic.

ec said...

That last one just made my night. Thanks!

Ebony McKenna. said...

Thanks ec. I felt completely evil doing it, too. Oh, I have become what I despised, lol!