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Old 09-12-2018, 10:02 AM   #1
gmw
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Cover switching

So you walk into a bookshop, browse for a while and then walk to the counter and hand your selections over to the clerk. The clerk turns to the bench behind them, so you can't see what they're doing, and after a few minutes turns back with your books in a bag ready for you. You pay for them and head for home. When you get home you discover that the clerk appears to have torn the covers off some of the books, and replaced them with plain cardboard covers listing the title and author. What do you do?

Aside there being no travelling involved, this happens to me regularly when I shop at Kobo. Something like 10-15% of the books I buy from Kobo have a different cover in the epub I download to what I clicked on "in the shop".

I don't mind so much if it's just that the epub has the old pre-movie-tie-in cover or something like that, but most of these are plain backgrounds with an ugly font listing the title and author. (It's almost as if they've gone out of their way to make them as ugly as possible.)

I guess they expect me to accept that the cover doesn't matter. After all, it's done its job - got the sucker to part with his money - but what if I liked the cover? My understanding is that any licence granted to read the text of the book also included the right to look at the cover - so where's my damn cover?

Now I'm sitting here looking at my latest couple of coverless mongrels trying to work out whether I should try to return them as a means of complaining and saying it's not acceptable. Certainly I would do that if the first paragraph was literally true, but since I can fix these for myself I probably will do that rather than give them back. But I still think it's damn rude!


(Just another reader-rant thread. Isn't that what social media is for?)

Last edited by gmw; 09-12-2018 at 10:10 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:38 AM   #2
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Could you be referring to the practice of some publishers (PRH and their imprints in particular) of replacing the artwork with a standard cover? The Penguin ones are particularly annoying, as they just picture a big penguin without the title and author. If so, it's not Kobo.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:50 AM   #3
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I'm pretty sure it is the publisher, and not Kobo, who have the plain covers on their epub, but it is Kobo (and presumably most other resellers too, I just usually shop at Kobo) who sell these books using a different image to represent the book.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I'm pretty sure it is the publisher, and not Kobo, who have the plain covers on their epub, but it is Kobo (and presumably most other resellers too, I just usually shop at Kobo) who sell these books using a different image to represent the book.
You can always use calibre to download the cover as part of the metadata and then update the cover in the epub. Adds perhaps 5 seconds to my fixup before moving the book from the intake library.

Otherwise, I have to agree with issybird. Quite a few library books I borrow also have a cover that is different from the cover on the library website and, for that matter, the cover shown on the publisher's website. The one occasion when I asked about this, one of the reasons given was reducing the size of the ebook making it take less space on the server and faster to download.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I'm pretty sure it is the publisher, and not Kobo, who have the plain covers on their epub, but it is Kobo (and presumably most other resellers too, I just usually shop at Kobo) who sell these books using a different image to represent the book.
I still hold the publishers responsible. I don't think it's Kobo's intention to do a bait and switch; what purpose would it serve? And I'd just as soon shop with the artwork even if it's not going to show up on the licensed copy.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:02 AM   #6
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So far Calibre has not been able to find covers for most of the problem books - so it becomes rather more involved (not that difficult, but longer than just a few seconds). These are the publishers that seem to be causing me the most regular problems:

Hodder and Stoughton
Little, Brown Book Group
Hatchet Hachette Digital

Last edited by gmw; 09-12-2018 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
So far Calibre has not been able to find covers for most of the problem books - so it becomes rather more involved (not that difficult, but longer than just a few seconds). These are the publishers that seem to be causing me the most regular problems:

Hodder and Stoughton
Little, Brown Book Group
Hatchet Hachette Digital
All Hachette imprints.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:42 AM   #8
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Indeed. I've had cover switches from Random House and from HarperCollins, but at least they seem to try and give the plain replacement cover some style (even if it is just a penguin and a couple of orange lines).
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:01 PM   #9
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The problem is $$$ (and tightwads at the top)
The only bought the rights to the art, for the print version covers.

@ GMW if you don't have it. Get the (calibre) Search the Internet Plugin

Searching Google Images comes up with better (the ones that match my 60's issues, covers) selection. Click the 'found' results (really a thumbnail), to open the real image: Drag that onto the Details (or info, or cover in the MDE) to get the listed size
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:09 PM   #10
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I usually search the ISBN on Overdrive and download the cover to replace the one in Calibre.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
The problem is $$$ (and tightwads at the top)
The only bought the rights to the art, for the print version covers.

@ GMW if you don't have it. Get the (calibre) Search the Internet Plugin

Searching Google Images comes up with better (the ones that match my 60's issues, covers) selection. Click the 'found' results (really a thumbnail), to open the real image: Drag that onto the Details (or info, or cover in the MDE) to get the listed size
This, or they only bought the rights to the cover art for a specific period of time. I mostly see it with older books.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:32 PM   #12
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You can save the cover picture you want to your computer and then import that into Calibre to use as the book's cover. I do that all the time if Calibre can't search out a cover at all or the cover that I want.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:41 PM   #13
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Since I read mostly library books on an e-ink reader I usually don't care too much what the covers look like; they're black-and-white and won't be on my reader long anyway. However, I did think it was strange when one library book showed up on my reader with a completely blank cover - not even the title or author was there.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
The problem is $$$ (and tightwads at the top)
The only bought the rights to the art, for the print version covers.

@ GMW if you don't have it. Get the (calibre) Search the Internet Plugin

Searching Google Images comes up with better (the ones that match my 60's issues, covers) selection. Click the 'found' results (really a thumbnail), to open the real image: Drag that onto the Details (or info, or cover in the MDE) to get the listed size
Thanks, that "Search the Internet" plug-in is a convenient way to find a good selection quite quickly.


I must admit that I was expecting a bit more in the way of comradeship in my complaining. You know the sort of thing: "Oh, I know. Isn't it terrible." Instead it's like: "Yeah, so what?"

I put this down to the long history of poor quality control over e-book publication. (Not just covers but CSS and epub structural problems, OCR errors and so on.) Everyone has gotten so used to fixing (or ignoring) problems with e-books that we now have very low expectations. With what other products would we accept such low quality standards?
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:12 PM   #15
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I've never had much in the way of expectations for book covers. Even with print books. I was just never that interested in them. Much like I don't care how well a singer can dance, I don't really care what artwork the publisher forces an author to have on their book. *shrug"

The cover was always on the opposite side of everything I was interested in anyway..
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