Here’s Why Book Covers Sometimes Change

If you have a favorite book you’ve been reading for years but suddenly see it at the bookstore with a new cover, it can be confusing. That begs the question, “Why do book covers change?” There are actually five possible reasons for a book cover change.

Book covers can change for various reasons:

  • The author may create a “brand” across multiple books
  • The original is dated, visually unappealing, or confusing, requiring updates
  • The book may also be relaunched or re-released, which means changes to the book cover
  • It can be a necessary international change

Are you curious as to why book covers change? Then you’ve come to the right article. Here, you will discover the five most common reasons why book covers change and how they can benefit the author and potential reader.

Branding Purposes

When an author writes a book, they don’t always intend to write more or turn the original into a series. Yet, they may create more books down the road, whether they’re a continuation of a book or a new idea altogether.

Regardless, the author wants to create a “brand.” They want potential readers to know exactly who made the book. If it’s a series, they want readers to know that the books group together.

The best way to do this is by “branding,” which may result in changing all of the book covers, so they match. This helps readers in the long run, as they’ll be able to pinpoint a new book in their favorite series or pick out their favorite author – simply by looking at the cover style.

Outdated Appearance

Just like fashion, book covers go through trend changes.

If an author notices their book cover appears outdated compared to similar texts, they may consider changing it.

Sometimes, the swap is relatively simple, such as is the case of changing the font. Other times, the book cover as a whole is updated to keep up with the times.

Visually Unappealing or Confusing

Usually, an author has an idea of what they want their book cover to look like. They know the importance of making an excellent first impression and want to nail it from the get-go. After all, plenty of people decide to read a book based on how the cover appears.

That said, if an author notices that the cover isn’t intriguing enough for readers to grab it and start reading, they may decide to change the appearance entirely in hopes of boosting sales. Some authors even decide to create multiple book covers for a single book to cater to different audiences.

For example, the bulk of the cover may remain the same, but the colors change drastically. This is especially true if the author decides the cover doesn’t match the genre. Let’s say the cover appears ominous, emitting a horror theme when it’s meant to be a thriller.

The author knows this will confuse readers and put off certain potential viewers, requiring a change in the appearance ASAP.


In some cases, a cover is changed because the book is being relaunched or re-released. This can occur at the author’s request, although sometimes other factors are at play. For instance, the publisher has gone out of business, or the author wants to republish under a new imprint.

It’s also not uncommon for book covers to change when books are relaunched as an “anniversary edition.” Namely, when a book has been out for an extended period, and the author wants to release a limited, special edition.

They may create a new cover for a select portion of books to entice readers to purchase (yes, it can be labeled a marketing ploy).

International Changes

Sometimes, the cover of a book changes due to international circumstances. That is why some books have a different cover in the United States compared to the United Kingdom, for example, and this may or may not include a change in the title, too.

There’s not much an author can do to stop their book cover and/or title from changing across country lines. It depends on what the publisher in that country desires for the cover.


Don’t be alarmed if you see that a book cover has suddenly changed. It likely occurred at the author’s request, as they are trying to create a brand, update their cover’s aesthetic, or create a more visually appealing cover. You may also be glancing at a particular re-released version or discovering your favorite book in another country.