I love “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is the book describes about how to show individuals’ creativities and build relationships with any ideas or inspirations through the author’s experiences.
And I also love its cover because the colorful painted image evokes free human creation.
But, when it came out in Japan, I was very shocked with its cover. Its color was changed to off-white.
Why? What happened?
I was thinking for a while. Then, I came around to the idea that almost all of modern Japanese don’t like vivid colors and something colorful belong to them. And they tend to prefer blank space rather than filled with colors. You can see that in some of Japanese traditional arts, such like ink brush painting, Japanese garden etc. . They take over the trend to daily clothes in which you can find out white, off white, black, gray, brown than red, pink, orange, yellow.
Although I’m Japanese, I prefer vivid color. I got disappointed with the Japanese edition’s color, but many more Japanese prefer off-white book cover rather than original.
This is the marketing and localization.
Please look at the wrapper band. You can see the word “TED” and the number of views “1600万（=16 million times）”. As your assumption, here in Japan, people decide to buy book with depended on “How popular it is” . “世界的ベストセラー作家(=The worldwide best-seller author)” is printed on the band, too.
The back band tells about how Japanese people are dependent on main stream media’s comments. There are reviews by Mail On Sunday, The New York Times, Huff Post, The Washington Post, , ELLE, The New Yorker and the number of Amazon’s reviews on the band.
In contrast, only 3 reviews printed on the back of the original cover.
Here is an another case of children’s book.
“The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams and William Nicholson is very famous children’s book. This is the story that a stuffed rabbit becomes real rabbit through the experience loved by a little boy. As opposed to “Big Magic”, pale color (pale blue)& white-lined cover was changed to eye-catching color (navy blue)& red-lined in Japan.
Original cover’s colors give adult-featured impression to Japanese, I think. So Japanese edition’s eye-catching colors or vivid colors give childish impression to them. Of course, such these color changes depend on products…