It is fine (more than fine) to get new readers hooked on books via Potter and vampyres and all the shades of grey but ... we want them to keep on reading - and reading further and further. There is lotz o' literature written before the 21st Century. Yes, there is! So, though not exactly pouring old wine into new skins, flashing up the book covers of the Classics is a darn positive idea.
Patricia Wall/The New York Times
New covers for the Splinter editions of “Jane Eyre,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility” and “Wuthering Heights.”
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To Lure ‘Twilight’ Teenagers, Classic Books Get Bold Looks
By JULIE BOSMAN
Teenagers are still reading the classics. They just don’t want them to look so, well, classic.
That is the theory of publishers who are wrapping books like “Emma” and “Jane Eyre” in new covers: provocative, modern jackets in bold shades of scarlet and lime green that are explicitly aimed at teenagers raised on “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games.”
The new versions are cutting edge replacements for the traditional (read: stuffy, boring) covers that have been a trademark of the classics for decades, those familiar, dour depictions of women wearing frilly clothing. In their place are images like the one of Romeo in stubble and a tight white tank top on a new Penguin edition of “Romeo and Juliet.”
The covers are intended to tap into the soaring popularity of the young-adult genre, the most robustly growing category in publishing. In the last decade, publishers have poured energy and resources into books for teenagers, releasing more titles each year. Bookstores have followed suit, creating and expanding spe-cial sections devoted to them.
After the “Twilight” books by Stephenie Meyer became a sensation, paranormal romances boomed. In the last several years, the “Hunger Games” trilogy has inspired dozens of dystopian novels.
Some of the redesigned jackets are clearly inspired by the “Twilight” series. HarperCollins released a cover for “Wuthering Heights” with a stark black background, a close-up of a red rose and an inscription that reads, “Bella & Edward’s favorite book.” (Critics sneered that it was a “Twilight” rip-off.)