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Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Update on Bloomsbury

Thanks to Ellen Datlow, the following article:

Originally from Publisher's Weekly Children's Bookshelf:

Earlier this week, criticism grew online over the cover of Jaclyn Dolamore’s Magic Under Glass, a January fantasy novel from Bloomsbury Children’s Books—the second time in recent months one of the publisher’s covers has come under fire. Today, Bloomsbury apologized for the cover and released a statement saying that it would stop supplying copies of Magic Under Glass, Dolamore’s debut novel, and that books with a new jacket would be made “available shortly.”

The controversy calls to mind the online furor last summer over Justine Larbalestier’s Liar, also published by Bloomsbury, in which the cover used an image of a white girl, when the protagonist is described in the book as being half-black. The house designed a new cover for Liar before it went on-sale. In the case of Magic Under Glass, the circumstances—a discrepancy between the description of a character’s ethnicity in the book and her appearance on the cover—are much the same. The protagonist, Nimira, is described in the story as having brown skin and considered by others to have “exotic” features.

Here is Bloomsbury’s full statement: “Bloomsbury is ceasing to supply copies of the US edition of Magic Under Glass. The jacket design has caused offense and we apologize for our mistake. Copies of the book with a new jacket design will be available shortly.”


Anonymous said...

Well, at least Bloomsbury has been shamed to action again. Now, I'll truly be impressed if instead of white-washing a cover and only changing it after people complain they give good press to a novel that has a properly represented minority on the cover.

Erika said...

@TJ This time they didn't even try to rationalize their poor choice of cover model!

I'm glad it happened, but like you, I'm wary. Bloomsbury needs to take care not to repeat this mistake; other publishing companies should take note to prevent from this happening in the future.

MissAttitude said...

Ericka I totally agree! Bloomsbury needs to explain why this happens and really apologize. And since Little & Brown seems to have made a similar mistake (Mysterious Benedict Society), this whole issue needs to be talked about, the publishing industry needs to change. If authors could only have a say in their covers, this might not ever happen!

oh and whats a jawa? :)

Thank you for blogging about this and sorry I got to your previous post so late (I commented though). Looking forward to your future POC reviews :)

Erika said...

@MissAttitude While it's unfortunate to hear this keeps happening (I am sure there are numerous covers with this problem), it only goes to show how deep an issue it really is.

I forgot to mention it on your other comment, but I hardly see any covers featuring Latina/os! Jeff Carlson's Plague Year trilogy has a Latino character, but the covers of the books do not reflect this. In that case, I'm not sure what to think since the point of the books is the after-effects of an apocalyptic disease, but it has me thinking.

I do agree, I think authors need to start having more say on what goes into the cover. Either that, or it seems to me, marketing and design departments need to be aware of what's actually in the books they work on! It's a large issue that I hope isn't overwhelming enough that people stop talking about it. Discussion has so far proven to be a strong and positive element for change. :)

To answer your question: a Jawa is an alien creature from Star Wars. It's my favorite movie and I'm more than a little obsessed with it. They are the little brown creatures featured on my banner at the top of the page. :)

Thank you for stopping by and again, for doing as much as you have been to keep this issue on top!

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