Comments: 11
Kaethe 5 years ago
Jaded, but sadly, accurate. Publishers aren't putting out books about people of color at anything like their share of the population, and when they do they seem to think white people will only buy books about POC if they don't realize it, so the covers are either starring white models, or they use backlighting. I make it a point to seek out and read books by authors of color and/or about characters of color, and I see it all the time.
I recall seeing a historical romance featuring a mixed-race couple, and they only put the white one on the cover.
Thats a shame, why wouldnt people enjoy reading about someone of colour? not sure where publishers got that idea. Personally i think a white background with a darker skinned model on the cover is beautiful. its definitely something that draws my eye, maybe because it is different?

looking at my books though i see what you mean, even the 'asian models' meant to be representing Chinese or Japanese cultures are rather white in colouring. What makes the world beautiful is its diversity, this includes the different shades of people, from their eyes, to their hair, to their skin. The world would be a boring place if we all looked the same.

maybe we could start...a petition or something? surely if enough people are behind the idea, the publishers will realise their mistake? though we'll probably needs stats. -_- can't really make a claim without stats and proof. not sure how one wold go about getting it.
Kaethe 5 years ago
It's marketing, which is a deeply conservative field. It's the same idea that says boys will read books about Harry Potter, but that they won't read books about Hermione Grainger.

Once you notice, you can't unsee it. You start to be acutely aware of books with pale cover models, even though the test specifies a person of color (whitewashing), b(l)acklighting, covers that are stereotypically girly, even if a male author would have a gender-neutral cover (chickwashing). What readers can do: read and encourage others to read as diverse a list as possible, both for authors and characters, call out covers that are misleading, follow discussions about covers if you're artistic at all gender- and race-switching covers is fun.

Mostly what we can do is force publishers to acknowledge that they are letting their marketing perpetuate discrimination. Make them own it, and they will back down. There have been several successful efforts, where the original cover of Justine Larbalestier's Liar had a white model:
Thanks I'll have a look into it!

I'm certainly interested in checking more out about the topic, and telling my friends about it. Its disgusting what there doing to the covers. If the person on the inside is of colour what not have the cover be the same? its annoying enough when you have a white person with light features as the main character, but they have dark features on the book!
I think branded had a similar problem with at least one version of their cover - but they may have made some changes to it since it was first published.

and while i agree most boys may want to read from another boys prospective that doesnt mean they dont want to change it up in a while or prefer reading from a girls perspective. i know of a man who much prefers to read from a female POV (the only one i know of, but he still counts). and i certainly wouldnt mind more male POV's in my fav genre's.
Kaethe 5 years ago
The male readers I know IRL are all quite as willing to read female as male authors and characters. It's the people handing them books who are intent on enforcing gender stereotypes. One of the great advantages of ereaders is that no one need be embarrassed by a cover.
Thats quite true. there's been a few occasions where i wasnt to keen taking my book into public, i did of course cause im an addict, but sometimes the covers are ridiculous, lol.

unfortunately i know almost zero readers IRL, off the top of my head....5 maybe? and thats if there still reading, and some are not big readers, they'll pick up a book here and there and thats it. there's only 1 who reads as much than i (probably more than me, lol). thats one reason why i reached out to other book lovers in the first place.

only female POV book i have seen one of my male friends read was Mercy Thompson, and really who came blame him? such a good series.
Kaethe 5 years ago
I'm lucky, all the women in my life are big readers. The men aren't as voracious, but they all read some. And I'm known around the work as that women who is always reading, which brings other readers to me.
hahaha i imagine that is a rather handy title. I love meeting new readers, shame i prefer the more unusual taste in books (not world wise, but where i live, no one seems to either know or like UF and dark fantasy :/ weirdo's! :P)

Lucky, i recall my mother enjoying crime novels when i was younger, but i never actually saw her reading them... they just came and went - I'm assuming she did them when i was in bed.
Otherwise besides my few book reading friends i dont really know of anyone else who reads :/

though i totally get a kick out of sussing out what a stranger is reading when I'm in public (like on the train/bus etc) lol.
Kaethe 5 years ago
That's funny: I never saw my mother reading, either, but there was an ebb and flow of books and magazines beside her bed.