Mismatched covers: My bookish pet peeve

What are some of your biggest pet peeves when it comes to books? I’ve made no secret of the fact that I hate it when the covers of books in the same series don’t match, and this week I’m in the mood for a rant about it. Please, come and join me, and tell me what YOU think!! โ†’

What are some of your biggest pet peeves when it comes to books? We all have them, I’m sure, but whenever this topic arises, there is one thing my booklover’s brain hones in on straight away: the infuriating feeling I always get when I come across series whose covers do not match.

Now, I’m aware that this is a very “first world” problem, but after almost 60 days locked away at home, please forgive the highly self-indulgent rant that is about to follow. Feel free to air your own frustrations on this topic in the comments below, and I’d love to hear about some of your own bookish pet peeves!!

Different sizes (annoying)

Back when I used to organise my bookshelves by author rather than colour, my series were always kept together, spines facing out. You can therefore imagine my frustration when the books were of different sizes! I’ve noticed that many books these days are initially published in a large version, with subsequent editions of smaller size, so I’ve learned to watch and wait. But the following examples are books purchased in my teenage years right after they came out!

Specimen 1: Behold, the Fallen quartet by Lauren Kate! I was sucked straight in by the cover of Fallen, but I was filled with horror when Passion first came out! Why was it BIGGER than books 1 and 2? I was desperate to read it, and so I bought it anyway, but I still feel wistful when I see newer (matching) editions on the shelves in shops!

Specimen 2: How gorgeous are the covers of the Nightshade Prequel duology? A friend bought Rift for me as a gift soon after its release, and I awaited the sequel with anticipation. I headed straight up to the shops to get it…and saw that it was SMALLER than its predecessor! I waited. And waited. And waited. But when no sign of a matching copy came, I bought what I could get.

Different bindings (very annoying)

The paperback vs hardcover debate is one I’ve come across many, many times before, and is arguably one of the most hotly contested topics amongst the online bookish community! I love paperbacks. I love hardcovers. They both certainly have their advantages and I buy some of each, but my number 1 requirement is that all books in the same series have the same binding format! Unfortunately, I have ended up with the following mixed series…

Specimen 1: I started the Inkworld trilogy towards the end of primary school. The first two books were out when I began, but I had to wait for the final instalment. I was very, very confused when it finally came out in hardcover (and in virtually the same colour as Inkspell!), when the first two were paperbacks. And yet, 13-year-old me made the decision to get it anyway, so I only have myself to blame!

Specimen 2: My grandparents bought me the first Harry Potter book for Christmas in around the year 2000. I still remember my aunt reading it to me the first time around! Over the next two years I finally read them myself, up to book 4 which was the most recent one out at the time. All paperbacks. And then I was one of Those People who went to the store on release day to buy books 5-7…which came out in hardcover. So yes.

Different cover design (criminal)

Australian editions, I’ve found, are a weird and wonderful beast. Sometimes the US version is released within our bookstores, but more commonly we get the UK version. Other times we get a mish-mash of the two or even an edition of our own! But something I absolutely abhor is when the versions available in Aussie bookstores are different for each book in a seriesโ€”and therefore the cover designs don’t match! I have a small handful of these, some of the most annoying of which are shown below.

Specimen 1: Don’t get me wrong, I really, really like the covers of all three books in the Curse of the Bond Riders trilogy that I own! The cover of Tallow was what initially caught my attention when it first came out, but I was sucked straight in by the story. I was so desperate to read Votive after the cliffhanger ending that I didn’t care its cover didn’t match when it was finally released! Now, I’m pretty sure matching editions exist for either version, but they certainly weren’t in bookstores here!!

Specimen 2: Not gonna lie, Across the Universe was 100% a cover buy for me when I was in high school. Isn’t it stunning?! While I didn’t LOVE the story, I enjoyed it well enough and it never occurred to me not to buy book 2 when it was released the following year. Do I need to explain why I was disappointed when it finally arrived in the bookstore? Like…why did this happen? Seriously, how on earth did we get from the beauty on the left to…that…on the right? I didn’t end up buying book 3.

A combination of the above (the WORST!)

I think I’ve established my extreme dislike of books within the same series having different sizes or different cover designs, so can you guess how I feel about series where the cover size AND design don’t match? This is the absolute worst, because it can make it hard to tell that they actually belong to the same series in the first place! I’m not making this up, people. It happens, it definitely happens here in Australia, and it certainly has happened to me. Behold, the most mismatched series I own!

Specimen 1: Once again during my high school years, I was drawn to the covers of the first two books in The Dark Divine trilogy. It didn’t take me long to give into the urge to buy them, so I purchased them both at once. The third and final book wasn’t out at the time, but when it was finally published, it never came out in my local stores. I looked for it online, but couldn’t find an edition of the same size and cover design. I literally waited for YEARS before I finally gave up!!

Specimen 2: Lucky last is the House of Night series. Books 1-6 were out when I first started reading, and I gobbled them up quick smart! I was annoyed when book 7 came out in a bigger size than its predecessors, but I managed. Then book 10 was released in a completely different cover design, which I was not okay with! And THEN the last book was published here in the new cover design but the same size as books 1-6! Seriously, it distresses me to look at them all lined up!!

So, you may be asking yourself, how does one prevent the disastrous situation of owning mismatching books in the same series? Perhaps you noticed that many of my specimens above were obtained during my high school years, back when I shopped for books in physical stores only and knew little about online shopping. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned more recently, and implemented to stop this from happening again!

Check what’s in store. One of the advantages of shopping in a physical bookstore is that you can view the book before you buy it and determine with 100% certainty whether it matches the rest of the series. If it does, you may choose to buy it. If it doesn’t, you may wish to continue your search!

Determine the editions available. This is something you can do quite simply online. Goodreads entries have a section for “Other Editions” beneath the publication date, where you can check what other editions exist. Another site I’ve found really useful for double-checking book editions is Fantastic Fiction.

Identify dimensions in online stores. One great thing about online bookstores is that they generally list the dimensions of the books they sell. That means you can whip out your ruler and double-check that the size of the book you want to buy matches the size of the books you already have!

Cross-reference ISBNs. Since I’m a little obsessed and probably over-cautious, I always cross-reference ISBNs between a couple of sites. The reason for this is that, on a few occasions, I have noticed that the cover design displayed for a book being sold online is not actually the correct picture for that ISBN! It’s good to double-check!

What is your bookish pet peeve? How do you feel about mismatched book covers? Do you have any strategies for preventing this from occurring?

  One thought on “Mismatched covers: My bookish pet peeve

  1. 22/05/2020 at 5:11 PM

    I feel your anxiety. My pet peeve is the different sizes. They need to be the same on the shelf!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 22/05/2020 at 5:17 PM

      I know! And they don’t stack nicely either! And what if your shelf has a row with a narrower opening and suddenly half the series doesn’t fit because it’s too tall? This has legit happened to me… ๐Ÿ˜ญ

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 22/05/2020 at 10:03 PM

    Even as an e-reader, I share your pain of mismatched covers. I’ve seen this happen with series that were self-published and later either got a facelift by the author or re-published traditionally. The issue is that Kindle sends a ping to Goodreads for auto-shelving based on ASIN and GR then picks some edition (probably the first published and thus with the worst cover) matching that ASIN.

    Speaking of e-books, one case of absolute barbarism I’ve seen was the lack of pagebreaks on chapter ends. Having a huge “18” on one ‘page’ and the title on another… ugh, what a mess.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 23/05/2020 at 7:48 AM

    This bothers me so much! The whole reason I didn’t purchase The Diviners series as each book came out was because of the mismatched cover art.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ari
    26/05/2020 at 3:41 AM

    OMG you hit every pet peeve I have!! It is infuriating when a series has one cover style, then changes it halfway through… I know books sometimes have two or three different cover styles but they need to have EACH series completed in all the cover styles they create.

    And what the hell is up with book sizes, my Shadow of the Apt was great up to book 6, then 7 was huge and 8 was in a league of its own it was so big!!

    I also hate it when book series (even if the cover styles are the same) have inconsistencies, like on the spine if they have the book number at the top then on two of the later books it’s sudden;y at the bottom or in the middle… do publishers not check what the original style was??? *gets of soapbox*

    Liked by 1 person

    • 26/05/2020 at 8:48 AM

      Preaching to the choir here, Ari! I’m sure there are advantages of the larger sized books for certain groups since the text is usually also larger, but I have small hands and find them tiring to hold! But also, I 100% agree that a series needs to have a complete set of each version!

      I’d honestly love to hear how and why these inconsistencies happen. We readers are a vain bunch and nothing gets by us – the inconsistencies just drive us mad!! ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ari
        28/05/2020 at 3:59 AM

        Exactly, we ARE a vain bunch and they should not incur our wrath by messing with that which we love the most!

        I think that’s one (of many) reasons I want to self-publish, so no-one gets to mess about with my covers or layouts or book size!

        Liked by 1 person

      • 28/05/2020 at 5:48 PM

        I am SO with you on that!! I can totally see myself spending hours pouring over formatting etc to make sure the book turns out perfectly! ๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ari
        28/05/2020 at 9:06 PM


        Liked by 1 person

  5. 26/05/2020 at 11:43 PM

    Oh god, I totally hear you – I have the same Harry Potter collection and it bugs me too. I wait to buy paperbacks just so the collection is the same size.

    Liked by 1 person

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