New Nora Roberts Covers from InterMix

InterMix asked if I’d be willing to help unveil the new Nora Roberts covers for the digital release of the O’Hurley’s series.

The Donovans are being unveiled at Nora’s Facebook page while the Cordina’s Royal Family covers are being revealed at USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog. (Hi ladies!)

When I saw them, I got to thinking about how covers have changed, and how the covers for categories being re-released in digital format don’t resemble the original covers at all. They are so, so different. From what I have learned from different self-published authors who have designed their own covers, one of the focuses of a digital cover is that it’s legible and distinct at different sizes, including the tiny little tile that’s displayed on eInk readers when all the books are displayed on a shelf, for example. So the title and name must be clear – I don’t think anyone is missing that these are Nora’s books! What’s fascinating to me is that they do not show people at all. Have a look: the new covers are on the left, and the older Harlequin covers are on the right.

Here is the new and original cover art for Dance to the Piper [Amazon | BN]:

imageimage

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that that isn’t dancing happening there on the right. And on the left, is that Lincoln Center?

Also, as an aside, I found this at the Tower Books site, and I’m not sure what the hell is going on in this cover art from Thorndike Press:

image

I think she’s dancing with an attack banana.

ETA: According to McVane on Twitter, that *might* be a picture of a traditional Korean dancer, though I have no idea if Korean dance plays a part in this book, or why the cover art is such an awkward and somewhat disturbing angle!

Here’s the new and original covers for Skin Deep [Amazon | BN]:

imageimage

That doesn’t look…safe. On the right, I mean. Kissing on a bannister on a cliff overlooking LA? I think that’s LA. I think that’s LA on the left, too.

Only it appears she’s missing his mouth and aiming for his nose. Uh oh.

And finally, here is the cover for Without a Trace [Amazon | BN]

imageimage

This is going to drive me nuts all week. Who does that guy on the right look like? Part Robert Stack part… someone else. As for the redesigned cover, I read three different plot descriptions but didn’t get a sense of where this book takes place. One review mentioned Casablanca, so perhaps that explains it.

To quote Winnie the Pooh, “Oh, bother.” The price for the digital re-releases appears to be $6.99 as of right now. I hope that price comes down, but I’m also not sticking my head in a large urn of honey and holding my breath until it does.

Have you read this series? What do you think of the new covers? Do you like the older ones, if only for the fabulous hairstyles (and pink jackets. I really like that pink jacket on the Skin Deep cover)?

 

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General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Hannah says:

    I read a lot of Silhouettes in the 80s when I was a young teen. Though I don’t remember any of the titles or authors, the original covers give me that warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling.
    The pink outfit on Skin Deep is really retro-cool! So many of the 80s fashions and hairdos on covers make me cringe. . .

  2. 2
    Lisa J says:

    I still own the original paperbacks of all Nora’s books and while I would like them in e-book format, that won’t be happening at $6.99 each.  I’ll make due with rereading the paper version (if I feel like fighting with the boxes they are stored in).

  3. 3

    Maybe it’s because I probably read them when they were originally released, but I prefer the old covers.  At least they say, “This book is about people.”  The new ones could be covers for coffee table books about architecture or travel. I wouldn’t even give them a second glance in the bookstore.  The publisher is relying too heavily on the author’s name to sell the book.

    And I believe the other part might be the Hoff.

  4. 4
    Lisa Hendrix says:

    Keir Dullea.

    And bizarrely, my captcha is similar56.

  5. 5
    joanne says:

    Thorndike Press is starting a whole new sub genre in paranormals: Origami Shifters. No? Then I’ve got nothin’.

    Without A Trace has Hoff Hair?

    Those old covers from Silouette Special Edition meant good writing and sex scenes hidden in ‘lady-like’ pastels.  Some of my fav authors started or shot to prominence in that line of books.

  6. 6
    Alley says:

    That is totally The Hoff.

    I *almost* like the new covers, except for the font used for the actual titles.  It’s too fantasy or cozy mystery or something.

  7. 7
    Gin says:

    One part MacGyver, who would be right at home in an early Nora Roberts story.

  8. 8
    Brian says:

    No cover for The Last Honest Woman?

  9. 9
    Cori says:

    I like the new covers, I’m not a big fan of covers with people on them. When I read, I like to come up with the picture in my head for the people, rather than rely on the often decidedly odd-looking folks on the front.

    And while I love that Nora’s backlist will be available in eBook, setting the price at 6.99 is wildly unrealistic. I bought 30 of her old books in a single lot on Craigslist for $25 last year, and that’s not really an unusual price point for old romance novels. I’ll pay more for the convenience, but not new-book prices.

  10. 10
    Alexis says:

    I read the O’Hurley series when they were reprinted as 2-in-1 copies, but there’s been a trend in NR’s books for as long as I’ve been reading them (since the late 90s) to show landscapes or specific destinations or props, and not people. I think this has to do with her cross-genre appeal, and an effort to keep them from looking like romance novels.

  11. 11
    Barb in Maryland says:

    @Brian—thank you for mentioning that the cover for the first book in the series is missing.  Has Last Honest Woman already been released as an e-book?  I find it hard to believe that they would skip over book one.
    I do believe that La Nora herself was the model for the heroine on the original cover.Last Honest Woman cover

  12. 12
    ~Lori says:

    I see I’m not the only one who looked at the old Without a Trace cover and instantly thought “THE HOFF.” I think it’s mostly the hair.

  13. 13
    PetiteJ says:

    The first of the series is called “The Last Honest Woman.”  The O’Hurley triplets were raised by parents of the vaudvillian vein and traveled around as children with their older brother Trace until the oldest married. “Dance to the Piper” is one of my favorites. I just love how self-aware and pragmatic Maddy O’Hurley is in all aspects of her life from her feelings to her chosen profession. The hero starts out like a typical brooding alpha male but is quickly charmed and disarmed by the heroine. His dark backstory is a little melodramatic and the only thing that rings false but Nora Roberts captures the atmosphere of Maddy’s work so I overlook it. I read this at least once a year and I’m excited I can have it easily accessible on my Kindle. It’s Roberts at her best in her early work before her hero/heroine became cookie cutter.

    Side note: I’ve read that the woman pictured in the first in the series, “The Last Honest Woman,” was modeled after Nora.

  14. 14
    PeriteJ says:

    Oh, and in one of her Bride Quartet books (Savor the Moment or Happy Ever After) the women hold a wedding for a bride whose parents met when the father backed the mother’s Broadway show. Exactly how “Dance to the Piper” begins.  I admit I squeed.

  15. 15
    Katherine says:

    He’s totally John Michael Higgins from “Best in Show”

  16. 16
    Emily says:

    First of these covers are Meh but the donovan covers are pretty.
    Second the guy in “Without a Trace” could be the Hoff, but I saw Victor/Victoria recently and he could also be Robert Preston as Toddy.
    later 76: much later…

  17. 17
    snarkhunter says:

    Richard Dean Anderson circa Macgyver.

  18. 18
    P.N. Elrod says:

    Um, the cover that’s driving you nuts resembles the cover art for my very first Vampire Files from 1990, the same year her “Without a Trace” came out. Perhaps a stock photo was in circulation with the artists. Maybe it’s the SAME artist!

    The pose is the same, just put a ciggy in his upraised hand, hide the hair with a Fedora, and add blood, fangs and (shudder) Spock ears. They even have the strange surfeit of neck hair.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5Pe-huM-ci8/SnI_SoTsAPI/AAAAAAAAALw/oRoTL3npyR0/s320/bloodlist.jpg

    BTW, my vampire PI does NOT look like that at all and I pitched a conniption fit. It didn’t do any good. Marketing Knows Best, right?

    I got mail from fans who only read the book because it was the last one left in the store. The horrible cover put them off. I got great reviews, but the art…!

    Covers for the German editions were much better. Hawter.

    http://www.vampwriter.com/image004.jpg

    Now I’m gonna have to look up that Roberts cover to see if they mention the artist, lest *I* go nuts!

  19. 19
    Sharon says:

    The ebook price for Roberts/ Robb is ridiculous. In Canada on Amazon.com, we couldn’t buy the Robb books for months, then they came back at over $10 (the newest New York to Dallas is over $18). The paperback version is under $7 and the hardcover about $13.

    I don’t mind paying for ebooks – I don’t expect them to be free. But I expect them to be cheaper than paper copy. I just do. And I won’t be buying much for my Kindle at these prices, much as I love the author’s work.

  20. 20
    Keri Ford says:

    I like people better. and that last dude is totally The Hoff.

  21. 21
    CK says:

    “Book ‘em, Danno” LOL.

    I totally want to read those now, but at $6.99 a pop for the ‘privilege’ to reread dated material so I can relive my misspent youth? Ummmm, no. I might go looking for the paperbacks I still have somewhere in my attic, though.

  22. 22
    Patrice says:

    I won’t buy a digital back list book for 6.99, it just will not happen. Ever. I’ll go to my independant bookstore’s UB section and buy one of their Nora “grab bags” and get 10 NR backlist books for 5.00! Okay so it may not be this story, and they may be dingy, but that’s half the fun of it!

    I don’t expect ebooks to be free. However there are a lot of choices that actually are free and a slew more that are 3.99 or less. So I will buy digital backlist titles but the price has to be much lower than 6.99. Or I suck it up and read some of the other excellent choices out there! I have a book budget and always have had to watch my expenses. There may have been a couple years in there where I could spend whatever I wanted. Ah the giddy thrill! But in reality I have had a lifetime to build frugel money managagement habits, and a professional life that keyed on bringing projects in on time and on budget. I think a lot of people are like me, especially in this economic downturn. So publishers need to remember Digital is an option, just like paperbacks or hardcovers are an option, and if they price any of those options unfairly they will lose their market.

    That cover model on the original book reminds me of the “bad” guy in the original Karate Kid movie. Remember the evil dojo dude who tells his student “sweep his leg” in the championship bout? Bad man, bad.

  23. 23
    Kiersten says:

    I still have my copies of The O’Hurleys from the reissue in the late 80s. I actually really like this series, but SKIN DEEP and WITHOUT A TRACE are my favorites. WAT takes place around the world as hero is sort of a freelance spy as I remember. Heroine is Irish & they’re trying to rescue her brother and niece. So the new covers dont bother me that much – SD is set in LA as heroine is BFD movie actress & hero is her bodyguard and DTTP involves dancing (I think. Been a while since I read ‘em), which does happen at LC.

    That said, there is no way I’m purchasing these ebooks at 6.99 price point, which saddens me as I was excited to have the MacKade brothers at my fingertips again. I’m not holding my breath either for a price reduction. Its disappointing to see Nora’s reissues esp, since she is arguably the face of romance industry or at least the best known outside of the industry, priced at such a high point. Price is a major point of the ebook conversation and to see her books lean towards the overpriced side of the spectrum is – well – disappointing.

  24. 24
    Kris Bock says:

    By the way, I reviewed Nora’s latest, The Next Always: Book One of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy, for the New York Journal of Books. The site is down for maintenance but should be up soon.

    Mini review—if you are a fan of Nora’s contemporary romance, you’ll enjoy this one.

    It’s priced at $10 for Kindle, $16 for trade paperback (currently under $10 on Amazon) though. Thank goodness for libraries! (and review copies)

    http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/home_page

  25. 25
    delphia2000 says:

    Not loving the new covers. They look like Fodors Travel books to me.

    I’m seeing the Hoff too.

  26. 26

    @PetiteJ said…

    Side note: I’ve read that the woman pictured in the first in the series, “The Last Honest Woman,” was modeled after Nora.

    Wasn’t modeled after Nora…it WAS Nora. LOL One and only time she ever appeared on the FRONT of her books. It seems to me it was her 50th book or a Silhouette anniversary or something. There were a couple of books who have had their authors on the cover. The creepiest was one author who had her two kids pose as the hero & heroine (NOT a clinch pose).

    Not crazy about the new covers. REALLY not liking the price. I was hoping to get some of her backlist for my Kindle, since all my hardcopies are in storage, but at that price? Not gonna happen. If I’m spending $6.99 on a book, I want it to be something NEW. That’s where Harlequin/Carina Press really show their loyalty to their customers and their brands. I can’t tell you how many e-books I’ve bought in the last year from H/CP on a whim because they sounded good and the price was so low. They’ve received more of my money than almost any other publisher this year. In fact, I just bought some of Kelly Hunter’s backlist just last night. All under $4.

  27. 27
    Brian says:

    The Silhouette re-issues that Harlequin’s doing also have a $6.99 list.  Of course they can be discounted by the retailer and bought with coupons and stuff.  I assume that since InterMix is part of Berkley/NAL these are Agency priced?

  28. 28
    Oddmonster says:

    One part Stupendous Yappi, who would be awesome in any type of romance story except, you know, one where he was doing the romancing.

  29. 29
    vee says:

    I have these books, mostly in the ‘80’s reprint versions.
    I am curious how Berkley/Nal is publishing them instead of
    a Harlequin line.  Did Nora Roberts buy back her rights from
    Harlequin?  Harlequin has been milking their Nora Roberts
    backlist for years, printing and re-printing them in various combos all with new names.

    I am unfamiliar with publishing, do authors get back their rights after a certain time period, or do they have to buy them back.?

  30. 30
    Kelly says:

    Echoing the Hoff on the cover. I wonder if that cover would sell well overseas, where he is still a huge superstar?

    Personally, I like the new covers. Sometimes I like a trashy book to be a little subversive in the cover. Great cover art draws me in every time, and the older romance novel covers kind of squick me out a bit. Then again, perhaps that is just my generation?

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