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Judging a Book by Its Cover: Publishing Trends in Young Adult Literature

From: The Lion and the Unicorn
Volume 29, Number 3, September 2005
pp. 348-372 | 10.1353/uni.2005.0049


A book's materiality is often taken for granted. In the publishing industry, however, the paratext, specifically the book's cover, is the foremost aspect of the book. The cover sells the book; literary merit becomes irrelevant if the book does not, or cannot, reach the reader. Yampell focuses on the cover art of Young Adult novels and explores recent trends in the marketing of YA literature to the elusive teen audience. A close analysis of the five different covers of Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat (1989) demonstrates trends in contemporary publishing and posits potential rationales for the publisher change the cover.

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