Judging Books by Their Covers: US vs. UK Editions

There are generally different book covers for the US and UK editions of books for reasons that I don’t entirely understand. It could be the fact that foreign editions are sold through different publishers, or it could be that different countries cater to different markets. Whatever the reason may be, I feel like I always have a preference for one over another.

We’ve always been told not to judge a book by it’s cover, but a lot of work goes into cover art. After all, how do you encapsulate an entire story in one cover image while also serving the main purpose, which is to sell the book? The art needs to cater to the right reader in order to have maximum impact.

Though I appreciate the covers as well as the time and energy the artists use to create them, I thought it would be fun to compare editions of some of my favorite books!

(US Cover on the left, UK cover on the right)


Circe by Madeline Miller

The UK edition is a clear winner for me. In fact, I love this cover so much that I bought the foreign edition instead of the US edition. Not only is the jacket beautiful, but the cover underneath has a gold inlay. It’s probably the most gorgeous book I own!


The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The US edition wins this one. I think the darker cover is more suitable for the overall tone of the book. It also feels more historical than the UK cover… and you can never go wrong with sparkles!


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

I swear, Victoria Schwab’s books get the best covers! This might be a tie, but I’m leaning slightly more toward the sharp font on the UK cover.


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

To be completely honest, neither of these covers are all that appealing to me. I’m not a fan of the style of the US cover, but I think it suits the tone of Uprooted better than the UK cover.


The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

This is tough! I’d probably have to go with the US cover. It makes the book seem more light and fluffy (which it is) while the UK cover makes the book seem a little more dramatic. I also like the math equations on the US cover.


The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Another tough one! I own the US version of this book and I love how shiny the cover is. I might be a little biased, since the UK edition might look prettier in person,


A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

I’m partial to the US cover because of the simplicity and muted colors. The UK edition looks more like the cover of a graphic novel to me.


A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

I’m guilty of having never actually read this book. I bought it on Book Depository for the pretty UK cover (sue me). The US cover is more generic to me, while the UK cover is more artistic. Plus, I love the symmetry!

Thank you to Inside My Library Mind for sparking this idea! See her most recent cover-judging post here.

7 thoughts on “Judging Books by Their Covers: US vs. UK Editions

  1. All those beautiful covers make it so hard to decide which one to buy! The Dutch shop where I most of my books often offer both editions, so the actual ordering process can take a long while haha!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is something I often think about as well. I feel there’s clearly there’s always a cover between the UK and US that is definitely more attractive, but maybe that’s just me being picky. Agree with you on A Skinful of Shadows – I’m not sure if I’d even pick up the US one, as awful as that sounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with every single one of your opinions EXCEPT for that last one! I haven’t read it either, but I just really love how the US version has a headstone that leaves a shadow in the shape of a wolf. The blue tone really pulls me in as well.

    I admit I am a total cover judger, and usually pick up a book simply because the cover captures my attention!

    Liked by 1 person

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