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My Pet Peeves With The Publishing Industry

After being in this community for over 3 years now and really immersing myself in the “book world” which is essentially a minority of the publishing industry, a few things have really struck a nerve. Not just as a reader but as a slight perfectionist.

Where else to complain about anything on the internet in a safe and healthy way, than on my own blog in my little corner of cyberspace?

Please know that these aren’t serious or life-changing complaints, they are pet peeves. Just those tiny little things you wished could be changed to make your preferences (not your life) a little easier.

A quick disclaimer that I fully understand the rationale of the decisions made by publishers when it comes to marketing a book and releasing a book – but that doesn’t mean to say that it cannot be improved to meet consumer expectations as well as business objectives.

Let’s get onto my pet peeves with the publishing industry – I’ll also be featuring some gorgeous photos by fellow bookstagrammers today too!

Book Cover Changes

I think everybody got a little riled up a week ago when the cover of A Court of Silver & Flames was released and many fans were crushed with the utter disappointment that the cover didn’t match the original style.

It was sad. It was unfortunate and despite the horrible people who went out of their way to attack the artist of the new cover (like why? Put your thinking caps back on people), it really showed how sometimes cover changes are unnecessary and not welcome by the fan base. And this isn’t the only example. Something that always bothered me is how the US and the UK can get such different cover variations, which makes acquiring the cover you prefer so much harder.

In this case, however, this is the start of a “new” series within the ACOTAR world – what bugs me the most is when they completely change the cover designs after the first book is already out – so the sequel doesn’t even look related to the first book. Or worse, when they just KEEP redesigning the same book over and over again.

Probably one of the only instances a cover redesign has ever worked for me is when it’s a standalone (which gives you more cover design choices) and I prefer the new design – an example being the newer paperback edition of The Starless Sea (so beautiful). I’m very glad I waited to buy this book cause I personally love this new cover so much better:

Note: I wasn’t a huge fan of the ACOTAR redesigned covers either when they were first announced (not because it was different, but for another unrelated reason) – but if you’re not a fan, just don’t buy them! If you don’t want to see that new cover and still want to read it – I’d recommend purchasing an alternative dust jacket from the dozens of artists on Instagram that have recreated the cover in the original style. Hating on any artist commissioned by a company for a cover change is just plain rude and disrespectful. There’s a line between sharing your opinion on the cover and downright spreading hate and going after an artist.

Publishers change covers for a reason. They do this to attract a new fan base or to create more variations to increase revenue – that much is obvious – especially when the print side of publishing is diminishing like CDs were 10 years ago. I don’t blame them, but I’d rather a cuter special edition with an alternative cover than an actual cover redesign. I’m perpetually glad that the original cover styles for The Bone Season books will continue to be printed in hardback after fans rallied for its continuation.

Book Release Dates

You’ve just finished a book and absolutely loved it. A nice handy paperback with a very cute cover – you need to get your hands on the sequel and you’ve seen the sequel in hardback on multiple booktube channels and instagram accounts.

*goes to bookstore site*

“Paperback – Pre-Order Now! Releasing in 45 days”

I’m sorry, but why the hell does the paperback or sometimes the hardback of a book take so long to be released? Why not release them together? Get ya printing schedules to line up and let readers have matching books! This happened to me 2 months ago when I read Skyward because I’m still waiting on my paperback preorder of Starsight. It’s depressing.

Not to mention the whole idea of publishers having different paperback editions. If trade paperbacks are too annoying to print all the time then why print them at all? Pick one and release trade or mass paperbacks and continue to print them with the hardbacks. It’s like the first edition UK hardbacks nobody can ever find 2 years after the book is released. Will I ever find a hardback UK edition of the City of Brass? NO. Not unless I want to pay hundreds of dollars on bloody AbeBooks. It’s so utterly frustrating being a reader with book collector tendencies – I just want consistency. PLEASE.

Book Sizes

This is another book collector tendency that gives me a headache. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a universal book size? Organising my shelves is hard enough when you have about 5 standard-ish sizes (normal hardbacks, smaller hardbacks, trade paperbacks, mass paperbacks, slightly taller mass paperbacks) but recently I was kindly gifted a copy of Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore – and IT DIDN’T MATCH ANY OF THESE SIZES. It was bigger than a slightly taller mass paperback yet smaller than a trade paperback and I almost lost my will to read. Just…these small things…my perfectionistic brain can’t…

This is the anguish I felt when I accidentally ordered the wrong edition of Wildcard (sequel to Warcross) and this hardback is double the size of my Warcross hardback *cries* They can never be standing together on my bookshelves.

Lack Of Diversity

This pet peeve is a little more serious. It has been amazing and refreshing to see the amount of representation we are seeing in books (particularly YA) when it comes to LGBTQ+ and POC authors and stories in the industry. However, what we’re seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. The industry itself still lacks diversity, not just in books but the people representing the industry and working in it. Not many people talk about the Black Lives Matter movement on social media anymore, like it was a phase or a fad, but this is a movement. I’m gonna keep bringing it up every now and then.

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It’s an important reminder to us all that people deserve representation. I struggled as an Asian kid, always reading from the perspective of young white women. Reading more Asian books in the last 2 years alone as made me feel so much more secure and confident in my identity. Why wouldn’t you want everyone to have that?

A side-note; huge congratulations on Cemetery Boys for breaking the New York Times Bestseller list! The first time a trans author with a book featuring a trans character has done so – an amazing achievement that couldn’t have been done without the support of the greater book community.

And with that, I’m done complaining. I don’t like to complain very often – I much prefer to think more positively but sometimes; you just gotta rant. While this wasn’t a very big nor great rant, let me know what you think on some of these pet peeves! Do you agree? Is there something else that bothers you sometimes about the publishing industry?

Until next time,

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  • erin from rinsreads

    I love the topic of this post! Totally agree, there are so many little things in the book world that I’m like ‘please, no.’. As a marketing student/professional, I can understand the need for a cover change (especially in the case of ACOSF since they’re switching the audience to adult instead of YA, which the series should have been in the first place!!) but with SJM it’s hard not to see it as a money grab. Can we at least get a Cassie Clare-esque move and get a reversible jacket?? A compromise!! Sigh.

    Also YES book size differences!! Like WHY!!

  • readingbystarlightblog

    Love this post, Tracy! And I agree with you 110% when it comes to cover changes. I don’t mind so much once a series is complete [like repackaging an older series with a striking new vibe – I’ve already got my eyes set on the new US box set of Daughter of Smoke and Bone!]. I still haven’t forgiven the publishing industry for the Ember in the Ashes covers! I mean, I LOVE the new covers. They should have gone with representation all along. BUT now I can’t trace down a matching set of hardcovers. AND THAT URKS ME TO NO END. I have to have matching sets!!!

    Book sizes though actually don’t bother me? I kind of like the layers it adds to my shelf. That said, I hate it when two books from the same series are different sizes. LOL I think the real take away here is I love me some consistency! šŸ˜‰

    Thank you for sharing this post! šŸ’™

    • Tracy

      omg 100% giving a completed series a new set of covers is a total vibe, I really want those new covers and the new grisha covers too! But arghh Ember in the Ashes is another victim of annoying cover changes, even though I love those new covers too. Honestly, book sizes aren’t as annoying but it’s extremely inconsistent for a series. I recently got Blood & Honey in paperback and it’s actually like 2mm wider than my Serpent & Dove paperback copy and I just…don’t understand! thank you so much for your comment <3

  • Ruby Rae Reads

    Ah I love this post Tracy! And 100% agree on all your points. Not a big fan of cover changes, especially mid-series ones. UNLESS its for something like the Ember series, though I do wish they’d have all came in the size. Also have never read ACOTAR but from my knowledge I believe they changed to make them look more adult?? But like also from my knowledge they don’t fit the vibe of the book. Don’t have huge opinions on either of the covers tbh

    Also yes I HATE special release dates, it’s the worst. Especially because,,, we’re not American lmao

    love youuuuuu xoxoxox

    • Tracy

      Yes, I know why they changed the covers but with such an established fanbase – it was way too different and much too late.
      Thanks for the comment <3

  • readingbystarlightblog

    Ooooh yes – the new Grisha covers are so pretty! I’m peeved I already own the original hardcovers. I’m not a huge fan of the Grisha books so I can’t justify buying the new ones too! Haha first world problems, am I right?

    Actually, I stand corrected. That 2mm difference would drive me CRAZY. I had the same issue with Song of the Current and it’s sequel Whisper of the Tide. The paperbacks are completely different in length AND width even though the design’s the same…???? WHY!?! Haha publishers should take notes! šŸ˜‰ šŸ’™

    • Tracy

      I honestly try not to look at my shelf where it sits cause it sticks out ever so slightly and does drive me crazy too! I hope they do take notes lol and same for the Grisha new cover! I really want them and I’m not sure whether to get them cause I also have the old covers – but I also might reread them cause of the TV show coming out soon? Idk, we’ll see how my hype-meter is about it in the next 6 months haha

  • juli

    OMG yes! I 100% agree with all the points you made. Consistency is key in life, so can the industry please adjust to that concept as soon as possible? Also the the different sizes… I can’t. It bothers me so much! Even more so than the covers redesigns. Different covers are annoying but you can get around that, and at least once it’s on your bookshelf you only ever see the spine. But the different sizes are so noticeable right away!
    And yes, can we get standarized release dates worldwide please? Not eveyone lives in the UK or US.

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