These are the US and UK covers for Jasper Fforde's latest novel - the fantastic Shades of Grey (which I have written about elsewhere
). It's the story of Eddie Russet, in a world where your social status is defined by which, and how much, colour you can see.
My personal preference is for the UK edition (on the right) which also has a really nice texture that you can't see on the image. I should admit that I have not experienced the texture of the US version (on the left), but I expect it to just be a normal hardback dust-jacket, whereas the UK edition is jacketless and the decoration is actually in the hardback cover.
So which actually has the most relevance to the plot? Well actually I think it's the US version. Although the world it depicts is not quite what I saw in my head, it's certainly more similar than the UK edition. The world of the story is viewed mostly in grey (apart from the colour you can see - if any), although a network of colour in pipes distributes limited artificial colour to some places. This is what I see in the US edition.
The only thing I see in the UK cover that refers to the plot is the swans - the characters have an irrational fear of swans - but they are also present in the US edition.
I'm still baffled by the need for US editions of books to have the text "A novel" on the front - as if anyone would be confused and think it true? The obsession for plugging the New York Times also makes another appearance, which I still think makes it look like they think readers won't pick up a book without such an accolade. The credit though is for the Thursday Next series, which is a very different set of novels to this one. I find it very interesting though that the title has been kept as Grey rather than changed to the US 'Gray' - this may, I suppose, reflect that the setting of the novel is Britain, but I'm still surprised.
The UK edition merely tells us that the novel is "True literary comic genius" - which at least tells the prospective buyer that it's meant to be a humorous read, possibly quite useful for attracting readers. The paint-by-numbers theme seems very arbitrary - although the colours in the story are referred to by number it's not really in this manner - more akin to photoshop.
So mixed conclusions this time - the US cover is best fitting to the story, but I still think the UK one is nicer. Wonder what the covers to the sequel will be like...