Booksellers join debate on 'Riders' cover

Booksellers join debate on 'Riders' cover

Booksellers have expressed mixed views over the new cover look for Jilly Cooper’s Riders (Corgi), which Transworld has reissued to celebrate the book’s 30th birthday.

Like the previous cover, the new one shows a woman from the waist down wearing a pair of white jodhpurs. The cover still contains a man’s hand reaching out to the woman, but the hand is now placed more chastely on her lower back, whereas previously it was cupping her buttocks.

Sheryl Shurville of Chorleywood Bookshop told The Bookseller: “We in Chorleywood do not like the new cover, preferring the old cover which we feel is more sexy and appealing. The lady’s bottom isn’t pert enough, the hand looks superimposed. The old cover is a classic and would reignite interest in people that read the book first time round, and with a new generation of Fifty Shades of Grey fans we are sure the old cover would stir up interest in the book.”

A number of authors earlier told the Times that they did not like the new cover. Victoria Hislop said: “I always thought the old cover ‘said something’ — it was funny, layered, open to some interpretation and started a conversation. The new one is bland, a bit ‘so what’ and frankly totally unsexy.”

Germaine Greer said: “It does sound like a sort of correctness, doesn’t it? [The new cover] seems rather boring. I suppose I’d rather see men’s bottoms being felt by women’s hands.”

But Marian Keyes said she found the old cover offensive, adding: “I think we’ve become more enlightened and more respectful and more responsible about women’s bodies — they’re not people’s property.”

Tim Morris of Booka Bookshop in Oswestry said it was "a relatively small adjustment". He said: “The original jacket was very much of its time, and the new jacket still has a 1980s-type feel. “The overall layout is the same, the font looks the same. I am not sure people will notice the difference."

A spokeswoman for Transworld said: “We’re delighted to be reissuing Riders by Jilly Cooper 30 years after its first publication, with the aim of bringing this iconic book to a new generation of readers. We reissue books on a regular basis and always review and refresh the covers to appeal to a contemporary readership.”