Since we’re based in Buenos Aires, we obviously have no problem with outsourcing book cover design to offshore companies. But we’ve stumbled across this example of one of the worse book covers we’ve ever seen.

offshore book cover design

Sure, for $100 you’re not going to get much but this is ridiculous. Of course, such low quality is not just common with some offshore book designers. There are plenty of bad online portfolios of so-called book designers based in the U.S. and Canada. The focus of these firms seem to be self-publishers and the rates for a cover usually range from $100 – $500, though we have seen some bad designers charging $1,000 for a cover. Now, at that price your really should get something good.

A book cover can be cheap but it doesn’t mean that it also has to be bad, bad, bad. For a low price, you’re not going to get great, great, great book covers but you might be able to get good, good, good book covers.

By |May 19th, 2007|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Why are South American book covers so bad?

Or, maybe it’s just in Argentina that most book covers are truly horrible?

The Cultura section of this past Sunday’s Perfil, a very good Buenos Aires newspaper on Sundays, ran a profile of novelist David Leavitt. As you can see in the snapshot of the article, Perfil – as does many papers – likes to highlight the book covers of an author for the readers.

Let’s look a little closer at those splatches of yellow and red that Anagrama calls book covers. (Actually, Anagrama is based in Spain, so the problem is more global than just South America).

At the very top is Baile en familia, known in English by its original title of Family Dancing: Stories .


Let’s compare that to it’s norteamericano cousin:

Buy on Amazon

Hmmm, quite a contrast there….Let’s compare a few more….

Arkansas: Three Novellas

Arkansas Arkansas

The Body of Jonah Boyd: A Novel

Body of Jonah Boyd bodyofjonahus.jpg

It’s not the price

One possible reasoning for the lesser quality book covers could be the price. But, wait, the price of books in Buenos Aires is no lower than the price of books in the U.S. So, that doesn’t explain it. In fact, the price of new paperback books in Buenos Aires is actually higher than the price of new paperback editions in the U.S.

I think that it’s simply because many foreign language publishers do not value the book cover. Well, actually, I think that it’s because many of the foreign language publishers are just too cheap to pay designers a decent rate for a nice cover. But, those publishers should realize that a good book cover actually helps in selling more books. For the publishers and bookstores, at the end of the day, it’s all about selling books.

I want to see better book covers on the shelves of the bookstores in Buenos Aires!

By |April 6th, 2007|Categories: Book Design|Tags: , , |2 Comments