You may have heard this news already but I thought it worth posting and thinking about. To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the start of the Harry Potter series, Scholastic, the U.S. publisher, will release all seven books with new cover art. Kazu Kibuishi, a graphic novelist, will be doing the new artwork. This will only be on the trade paperback editions. The artwork of Mary GrandPre, who did the original U.S. covers, will still appear on the hardback and digest paperback editions. Scholastic will also release the boxed set of the “school” books, namely Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
As to why Scholastic is releasing the books with new artwork, Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade Publishing says, “In the last year, we’d been thinking of how to make Harry Potter accessible and relevant to a new audience of eight- and nine-year-olds…We started the Harry Potter Book Club as a way to bring kids, some of whom maybe only knew the movies, back to the books, and introduce this wonderful world to them. Mary’s covers are so iconic to all of us, and they will remain on the U.S. hardcover and digest paperback editions. But we were trying to figure out a new look, with new appeal, and with the 15th anniversary coming up, it seemed like a good idea to hook into that.”
From the Scholastic press release:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally best-selling series, will be released in a special anniversary edition on September 23, 2008. The book, published by Scholastic, will feature exclusive bonus material from J.K. Rowling as well as new cover art and a four-color frontispiece by Mary Grandpré.
The special anniversary cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine; $30.00) depicts 11-year-old Harry looking into the Mirror of Erised, which Harry comes across in his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and learns that the mirror shows you what you most desire.
“It’s a real treat for me to get another chance to visually bring Harry back to his fans in not only a new scene, but in a new light,” said American illustrator of the Harry Potter books, Mary Grandpré. “Going back to draw the first cover for the anniversary edition was an opportunity for me to show another side of Harry… a vulnerable side. Having come to know and love Harry the way we all have, after experiencing the whole series, I think we can appreciate him even more on an emotional level.”
In my opinion this new cover is better than the old one, but what strikes my attention is the bonus material from J.K. Rowling. You can explore the cover art in more detail at Scholastic’s website.