Sunday, July 4, 2010
I was going to put this in my normal Sunday WTFckery post, but I felt that this latest whitewashing cover bull-shit needed a post all it's own.
Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix has a new cover for it's paperback repacking. Here is the original hardback cover:
And here is the new cover for the paperback version:
Here is yet another example of a publisher whitewashing a cover because for some reason readers didn't buy the original hardcover version of Silver Phoenix. Could it be because there was an Asian girl on the cover? Over at Glen Akin's blog, Say It Isn't So, Glen has a post about this and asks who is to blame yet again for another WTF whitewash that constantly occurs in young adult books. Glen goes as far as to say:
"Turns out Phoenix didn’t do so well commercially, and Greenwillow opted to repackage it in time for its sequel’s release. Now, from what I understand, Borders refused to carry Phoenix, and only a select few B&N stores stocked limited quantities of it. The author said readers did not embrace Phoenix as much as she and her publisher would have liked, and thus, Phoenix was given a makeover ... Ai Ling was transformed from an Asian girl to a generic white chick
A lot of people say that publishers whitewash books because they believe only white people read, and that white readers won’t buy books depicting people of other races on their covers.
You know what I think? I think most publishers whitewash books because they believe most booksellers believe white people are the only readers out there, and that white people are squeamish about picking up books with non-white people covers.
And that’s exactly what happened with Cindy Pon’s Silver Phoenix. Borders didn’t like it and skipped it. B and N barely stocked it. The publisher repackaged it with a white girl on its cover."
Booksellers and book buyers have incredible power when deciding what books and a certain amount to buy when stocking their shelves. For one, I don't think a bookseller or book buyer chooses a book based on the cover alone. The customers who come into the store make that decision. And if the booksellers sees a book is not selling, regardless of if the cover isn't whitewashed or not, the buyer will not buy that book to put on their shelves.
As a Caucasian woman, I'm sick and tired of this. It's insulting to my race and to others. This is insulting to the author.
So who is to blame? Greenwillow Books, the book buyer or the public at large? Are teens really not buying specific young adult books because there isn't a white face on the cover? Are parents not buying these books for their children because the covers aren't a generic whitewash?
If so, I'm ashamed and sad.
For more on this latest whitewashing cover WTF check out these blogs:
Reading in Color
The Book Smugglers