Comparing US and German Book Covers (Part 3)

Happy Friday everyone!

My thesis is still consuming pretty much all of my time – I’ve solved the database problem (I think), but I’m getting a bit worried about my program’s computation time when confronted with polynomials of higher degree… It’s been running for three full days since it delivered the last set of data, and unfortunately, the time spans between drops seem to be increasing exponentially. I’ve been trying to simplify as much as I can, but at the rate things are currently going, I’ll probably be dead before this program terminates πŸ˜… #justmathstudentthings

So yeah, since I’ve been devoting a lot of time to coding instead of reading and don’t have many new books to talk about, I decided now would be the perfect time to bring back my cover battle series!

If you’d like to check out the other posts in this series, you can find them here:

Part 1

Part 2

However, in case you weren’t around for the first two installments and don’t feel like reading them now, the way these work is simple: I pick ten books, half of which were originally written in English and half of which were originally written in my native language, German. I then compare the covers of the US edition with the German one and award a point to whichever cover I think is better. In the end, I sum up all the points, and whichever country gets more is declared the winner! πŸ₯³πŸ…πŸ₯³

[I would let you play along, except that I still haven’t figured out how to include polls on WordPress. So if you happen to know and would like to tell me, that would be really neat! πŸ™ƒ And, of course, you’re still more than welcome to tell me all of your cover opinions down in the comments!]

Also, I’ve read all of the books I include in this series, so think of this as my way of sneakily giving you more book recommendations 😁 And mind you, you’d better appreciate them, because these recommendations took a lot of work! After already doing this twice, it’s been really hard trying to find German books that were translated into English AND also have different covers in both languages. So make sure take a nice long look at those covers for me 🀣

But without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Der ErdbeerpflΓΌcker by Monika Feth (English title: The Strawberry Picker)

The Strawberry Picker is the first in a series of German YA thrillers that one of my close friends was absolutely obsessed with when we were in eighth grade or so. So obviously, I borrowed all of them from her and read them as well 😎 I have since forgotten a ton, but I do remember really enjoying them and thinking they were deliciously creepy!

Looking at these covers, I’d say they both have their pros and cons. The US one has that awfully cheesy tagline, but it does get the “girl goes after the serial killer who murdered her best friend” vibe across much better than the German cover, which could also be an advertisement for fresh strawberries or a cutesy summer romance… No wonder they had to add that box saying it was a thriller πŸ™„

So yeah, even though I do think the German typography is much prettier than the US one, I think I’m going to give the point to the US here, simply for representing the story better.

2. The Binding by Bridget Collins (German title: Die verborgenen Stimmen der BΓΌcher)

I’ve gushed so much about The Betrayals lately that my love for The Binding has almost gone unnoticed, so I decided there was no harm in mentioning it again here πŸ˜‰ Besides, my phone and laptop apparently know all about my Bridget Collins obsession, because I’ve been absolutely bombarded with audible ads featuring the German cover for this one…

First of all, Audible, I am never going back to you now that I have Scribd. You were way too expensive for just two audiobooks a month!

And second, why would I ever go for the German cover here when the US one is so much prettier? I mean, just look at that key! The blue and gold!! 😍😍 It’s absolutely gorgeous and gets those dark historical fantasy vibes across so much better than that wallpaper of a German cover.

And besides, who thought it was a good idea to rename this book the German equivalent “The Hidden Voices of Books”? That title is an absolute mouthful and sounds way less cool than The Binding.

The point goes to the US here, duh!

3. Malka Mai by Mirjam Pressler (English title: Malka)

If you ever want to read a hard-hitting book about the Holocaust, forget The Book Thief. If that book made you cry, this one is going to leave you an empty, depressed shell of your former self 😭

And I actually think both covers fit the book really well! The US cover definitely captures the darkness of the story, and the German one the lonely innocence of its young Jewish protagonist Malka. But something about the German one just speaks to me more. I like how Malka actually looks like a person, rather than some haunted ghoul. And the leaves, the landscape in the background, that doll, and the whole color scheme are just so pretty!

So one point to Germany!

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (German title: Die Tribute von Panem: TΓΆdliche Spiele)

And we’re back to my really popular favorites with The Hunger Games! I actually love the US cover for this one. The typeset, the simplicity, that Mockingjay pin – it’s perfect! I’m actually kind of bummed I own the UK-cover featured in the middle instead. But at least it has a nice picture of Peeta, who is definitely up there among my biggest book crushes of all time… πŸ₯°

The German cover, though? I mean, it’s not horrible, but it reminds me more of a romance novel than a bloodthirsty dystopia… Also, why is Katniss so white and green-eyed? The books specifically said she has olive skin and gray eyes! I’m okay with the movie going in a different direction since Jennifer Lawrence’s acting is just phenomenal, but a book cover? Couldn’t you have stuck to the story? [And before you say it could be someone else, this white green-eyed girl is on all three Hunger Games covers, and I have a hard time believing they’d feature some random side character so prominently several times in a row πŸ™„] Plus, what is it with these German translators and incredibly long titles? πŸ˜…

The point goes to the US, obviously.

5. Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

While Germany seems to have an obsession with long titles, the US apparently has a thing for blurbs and taglines. Apart from these, there actually isn’t much of a difference between the covers. The US red is a bit brighter. The elements are ordered differently. The US cover features the author’s full name.

Still, I do have a slight preference! Although that tagline gives me slight 1984-vibes, I actually like how it’s reminiscent of the writing you might see in a computer game – because that’s what Erebos is about. It follows a boy named Nick, who can’t figure out why some of his classmates have been acting particularly strangely as of late – until he receives a mysterious package and is introduced to the world of Erebos, a fantasy computer game unlike any he has ever experienced…

So yeah, even though there isn’t a huge difference here, something about the US layout just speaks to me more. One point to the US!

6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (German title: Der Name des Windes)

I can’t believe I haven’t featured The Name of the Wind in one of these posts before because

a) I love it, and

b) the German cover is one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen! Look at that typography! Those silhouettes! The writing in the background! 🀩🀩🀩

Next to that, the US cover just seems a little boring, although I don’t think it’s bad either. Even the UK cover, which certainly has a better font, just can’t compete.

So one point to Germany!

7. Die Abenteuer des starken Wanja by Otfried Preußler (English title: The Adventures of Strong Vanya)

What. Is. That. US. Cover? 😳 It is absolutely horrendous! It looks like some toddler randomly glued paper cutouts onto it! I mean, maybe the old German cover isn’t that much better, but I have such a huge nostalgic attachment to it that I can’t help but love it anyway.

And at least in Germany, this fairytale-esque Russian-history-inspired novel is so popular that it even got a cover remake a while back. [Although for some reason, they decided to change the protagonist’s hair color?]

In contrast, it was already next to impossible to track down an English version, so I guess I should be thankful that one exists at all. But why isn’t it more popular? Is the translation that bad? Because seriously, this book is wonderful! It has similar vibes to the Winternight Trilogy, although it is directed towards a slightly younger target audience πŸ₯°

So obviously, Germany gets the point here.

8. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (German title: Das verborgene Spiel)

If you ask me, if We Were Villains is one of the best dark academia books out there. I mean, I might be biased because I’m just an absolute sucker for anything involving Shakespeare, but seriously – it’s so good!!!

And so are its covers! The English ones, that is… I actually own the UK one, so I thought I’d feature it as well so that you could also appreciate its beauty. I mean, I think I still like the US one a tad more, but the UK one is definitely up there!

And the German one is … okay? It isn’t ugly, but it does seem rather random and completely fails to deliver the gruesome Shakespeare aesthetic of the other two. And again, why the title change? “Das verborgene Spiel” literally translates to “The Hidden Game”, which could mean just about anything, really.

So the point goes to the US!

9. Drachenreiter by Cornelia Funke (English title: Dragon Rider)

Before I discovered Harry Potter, Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider was actually my favorite book of all time. And while I no longer love it quite as much as I did when I was six, it still holds an extremely nostalgic place in my heart, and I would highly recommend it to children looking to pick up something fantastical!

And boy, my verdict regarding these covers was actually quite close. I absolutely love how big the moon is in the US one, and how Lung’s silhouette stands out against it. But the typeset is just a tad too cheesy for my tastes.

Okay, fine – I just really like the German cover because it brings back so many memories and am looking for excuses. But I don’t care if I’m not being objective. This is my blog, so the point goes to Germany. 😜

10. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (German title: Der Report der Magd)

And for our final book today, I picked another one of my dystopian favorites – Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale! [Although *shame, shame*, I still haven’t read The Testaments, and my favorite Margaret Atwood book is actually not The Handmaid’s Tale at all, but Hag-Seed, which is about staging Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a prison. But that one has the same cover in the US and Germany, so unfortunately, I couldn’t use it here πŸ˜•]

But let’s get back on topic! To be honest, I think none of these covers are particularly enthralling… I don’t mind them, but if I saw them somewhere, they probably wouldn’t make me pick up the book if I didn’t already know what it was about or that I like Margaret Atwood’s writing style.

I like that we get to see those bonnets in the US versions. I like the colors and font of the German one, but the focus on those red lips is kind of weird. And honestly, the lady on the cover looks more like a 1930s movie star than how I imagined Offred. My favorite out of the three is probably the new US cover, but we also have that cover here in Germany, so giving a point to the US here just seems a bit unfair.

I honestly can’t pick, so we’re just going to give half a point to the US and Germany each and have both countries take note of the fact that their The Handmaid’s Tale covers are kind of boring… πŸ˜…

And with that, it’s results time! The grand total is:

Which means the US narrowly scraped a win this time! But seeing how close things were, Germany certainly didn’t do too badly, either πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

But of course, these were all my personal opinions, so do you agree with my verdict? Or would you have chosen differently for some of these? Are there any books that have a much more beautiful (or hideous) cover in your native language that I should check out? Have you read any of the books I mentioned here and would like to share your opinions? As always, I would love to hear what you think!

56 thoughts on “Comparing US and German Book Covers (Part 3)

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I know, right? I almost didn’t realize it was the same book when I saw it in a bookstore and was actually pretty excited at first because I thought M.L. Rio had a new book out that I didn’t know anything about… But alas, it was only strange cover design choices 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nehal Jain says:

    This was a wonderful idea for a post, and I know right, the German name for The Binding is just weirddd.
    And omg, you tried Scribd! Im so glad you enjoyed it, I’ve been meaning to coax/force my sister into the subscription for me but currently Storytel is doing a very fine job in itself. I also think the two apps are kinda similar but ah, I wanna have Scribd too!! You are right, Audible is wayyyyy too expensive for 2 books a month, in Storytel and Scribd we can read as many books as we want in the amount of money Audible takes for like 2-3 books πŸ˜‚.
    Love the new name btw πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I know, that title is such a mouthful! I love the simplicity of “The Binding”, it has just the right amount of mysteriousness to draw you in πŸ₯° Whereas the German title tries a bit too hard to be metaphorical and also comes dangerously close to spoiling things – or being extremely misleading 🀣
      Yes, I’ve had Scribd for about two years now and am never going back! I love being able to read as much as I want to, and it’s nice to have e-books as well as audiobooks at my disposal 😊 Audible just can’t compete! I’ve never tried Storytel, though…
      And yeah, I thought you might like that name πŸ˜‚ Does it really have to be a week, though? I kind of feel like part of my blogger identity has been stolen πŸ˜ͺπŸ™ˆπŸ€£

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nehal Jain says:

        Lol, exactly πŸ˜‚.
        And Storytel is I guess kinda very similar to scribd but I’m not sure since i don’t have the latter.
        Oh yes, a week it has to be πŸ™‚. Otherwise it’ll be no fun 😎😈

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jan @ thedoodlecrafter says:

    I loved reading this post!! The German covers for the Name of the Wind and the Adventures of Strong Vanya are so pretty haha yes the US covers just can’t compare to them. Wow the USand UK covers for If We Were Villains have a totally different vibe with its German cover … Ahh have you read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke? I love that book!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Jan! Yes, the German Name of the Wind and Vanya covers easily beat the US ones! Although I guess the US If We Were Villains cover makes up for it, because what was Germany thinking, adding that random bird in the snow?! πŸ€”πŸ˜‚
      And yes, I’ve read Inkheart! It was actually featured in an earlier one of these posts, because now that I’m older, I like it even more than Dragon Rider πŸ₯° When I was little, I would spend hours trying to read out loud just like Meggie and Mo, but unfortunately, nothing ever came out of the books when I did it πŸ˜•

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Line says:

    I know this is a post about covers but I need to comment on those horrendous title changes! 😱 Why is The Hunger Games title so long?? That last bit, TΓΆdliche Spiele, would have been enough. That’s also the Danish title πŸ˜‰ And the title for The Binding doesn’t seem to fit the mood of the book somehow. It just sounds wrong.

    But covers! I agree with you on everything except for the Dragon Rider one, but I understand the nostalgic attachment πŸ˜„ And I’m very impressed with the German cover for The Name of the Wind. I actually hate every cover I’ve seen for that book, so the German one of definitely a favorite now. I thought it impossible for that series to have beautiful covers πŸ˜…
    I actually considered doing a post like this myself with Danish covers, but it’s practically impossible because the Danish translations very rarely get new covers. And if they do, it’s some horrible budget version copying the original. If you want to see an example of this, look up the Danish cover for The Way of Kings part 1 (“En Konges Vej, del 1”) and compare it to the US one. It’s ridiculous πŸ™„

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Hahaha, I’m so glad the title changes also caught your attention because I couldn’t help but comment on them, too πŸ˜‚ Apparently Germany has a thing for the title format “Name of Series: Some Absurdly Long, Yet Very Vague Subtitle”, so the Hunger Games one isn’t actually that out of the ordinary… And at least the entire title is actually German – often, they’ll just keep the English title and then add a German subtitle (such as “Throne of Glass: Die ErwΓ€hlte” πŸ™„), which sounds even more stupid if you ask me πŸ™ˆ You’re so right, that first bit is completely unnecessary! And yeah, that alternative title for The Binding isn’t great, either… But at least it has a vague connection to the book, in contrast to the If We Were Villains one 🀣 Maybe it’s time for another Lost in Translation post regarding book titles? πŸ™ƒ

      And yes, the nostalgia definitely won over regarding the Dragon Rider cover 🀣 You could definitely see that I wasn’t entirely convinced by trying to justify my decision rationally πŸ˜‚

      And oh gosh, I just looked up that Way of Kings cover and can’t stop laughing! Honestly, it looks like the Danish designer just recently learned how to use photoshop and tried to make the cheapest replica of the original cover possible 🀣🀣 Why even change the cover at all if you’re going to go for that? πŸ€” And the font seems so well thought out, too… But anyway – if you ever want to do a post on horrible budget versions of Danish covers, I would totally be down for laughing a bit more! πŸ˜‰ And maybe you’ll find at least a few good cover remakes? Germany actually keeps a lot of the US covers as well, so I was quite surprised by how easy it was to find examples to use in these posts! The hard part was actually finding German books that I’d read, that had been translated into English, and where the translation had a different cover…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line says:

        I’ve seen Danish translations do that “English title but Danish subtitle” thing too, although I can’t remember one at the moment. I think they often do it when the title doesn’t translate well, so I don’t think I mind it much. And yes, this is such a good idea for a Lost in Translation post! We both need to do it because I feel like Germany would have the funnier ones (case in point) πŸ˜„ I think Danish translators would often just keep the English title if they don’t know how to translate it.

        I also don’t know why we needed that Way of Kings cover. It’s a joke! The original is gorgeous so just stick to that if this was your alternative. And discovering this cover actually made me look for other covers and no, there are no good ones. The few I found were all horrible πŸ™„

        Going off topic here because I just finished The City of Brass AND I’M NOT OKAY!!!!! I don’t think I can do anything for the rest of the day besides thinking about this! (Obviously loved it if that wasn’t clear)

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Oh, yes, both of us doing it sounds like an awesome idea! I am extremely curious as to what kinds of strange renaming strategies Denmark has, and I already have bunch of books in mind for the German list. Let’s just say if you think our Hunger Games title is bad, it’s nothing compared to the rest of that series, and I can’t wait to rant about it 🀣 Maybe we can make it an official collab once all your Wyrd and Wonder craziness is over? πŸ˜‰

          Also, maybe it isn’t the worst thing that that Way of Kings cover exists – because at least it gives me something to laugh about now πŸ˜‚ I spent yesterday looking at the Danish covers for the entire series in more detail, and am now convinced I must have gotten the genre wrong. This is clearly a sci-fi series about Neolithic people invading the moon, not fantasy.

          AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT THAT THE CITY OF BRASS VERDICT!!! 🀩πŸ₯° I must admit I was a little scared that the romance would scare you off before you could appreciate its absolutely epic world-building, politics and character development, so the fact that you loved it, evil twists and all, makes me so happy! Feel free to spend the rest of the day thinking about it, and if that thinking turns into you writing some of those thoughts down for a review or wrap-up, I wouldn’t mind, either… πŸ˜πŸ™ƒ

          Liked by 1 person

          • Line says:

            Oh, I’m looking forward to you ranting about those titles then, and an official collab sounds awesome! And my Wyrd and Wonder craziness is almost over πŸ˜„ I need to start thinking about posts for June anyway.

            I’m glad our covers can provide entertainment πŸ˜‚ and it totally looks like the moon!

            I might already have started writing that review… and it’s going to have a spoiler section because I need to gush! 😍

            Liked by 1 person

            • abookowlscorner says:

              Great, let’s aim for June, then! It might actually be nice to know what I’ll be writing in advance for a change, since my posts are usually written very last minute πŸ˜…πŸ˜‰

              And I am very eagerly anticipating that gushing now! The more spoilers, the better 🀩

              Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Ahaana!! Yeah, I think that US Adventures of Strong Vanya cover is a new personal “favorite” of mine, lol 🀣 Seriously, what were some of these designers thinking? πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Strawberrys Corner says:

    I haven’t been getting any of your new posts on email or the reader section which I thought was weird so decided to go onto your page and two new posts I didn’t see. I loved reading your thoughts on the covers and I agree with you on almost all of these. I also did just get Scribd and finished my first book on there today, going to start the review soon but…Scribd is pretty great so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Strange πŸ€” That has happened to me before, too, and I have no idea why! I guess WordPress just has a mind of its own sometimes πŸ˜‚ But I’m glad you decided to drop by and liked the posts, and that you’re enjoying Scribd! I honestly love having so many books at my disposal πŸ˜πŸ“š

      Liked by 1 person

      • Strawberrys Corner says:

        It’s really strange πŸ˜‚ yes, it’s so many books, it’s so great, especially during covid time when I don’t want to go to the library πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nehal Jain says:

    I just have to tell you it’s really hard to think of quotes to respond to comments where you are supposed to say: I agree with you, so thanks for that Naemi πŸ™‚
    *screams internally*

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s