Mephisto Club paperback goes on sale

This week, the paperback edition of THE MEPHISTO CLUB goes on sale in both the U.S. and the U.K.  If you haven’t read it yet, I hope this is the week you pick up a copy.  The first two weeks on sale are critical to a book’s success — if the book doesn’t do well during those initial weeks, it’s cleared away pretty quick, to make room for books that do sell well.  And the sales die a quick death.

Once again, we’ve had a change in the cover design between hardcover and paperback.  The U.S. hardcover looked like this:

mephisto hc

I thought it was very striking and effective, but a bit … literary.  While it would have made a very nice paperback cover, my publisher and I agreed that it might not play as well to the paperback audience.  So Ballantine came up with this cover instead:

mephisto paperback

The bright yellow is eye-catching, and the girl silhouetted under the archway gives you a clue that the book’s got some medieval themes to it. 

Here’s my UK cover – a completely different take on the story, but just as effective.  And hypnotically eye-catching.  I love this one as well:

mephisto uk

It’s the first time I’ve come out simultaneously in the U.S. and the U.K.  I’m curious how the books will do in two different markets, with two different covers.

20 replies
  1. knaster
    knaster says:

    Hi Tess,

    As someone who has previously traveled on the NYC subway system and the Long Island Rail Road, I have noticed that most passengers read mostly paperback books (aside from newspapers). They are more convenient and less bothjersome than the hard-cover editions. I personally prefer the paperback for the sole purpose that it can easily fit into the pocket of a jacket or a coat.
    Tess, I have no doubt in my mind that the paperback sales of The Mephisto Club will skyrocket. It’s not what’s on the outside that counts, it’s what’s on the inside. Remember, we can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Your following will speak for itself.
    Good luck on your upcoming book tour for The Bone Garden. As with the NY Times, you’re first on my list, too!

  2. JanetK
    JanetK says:

    I’m always fascinated with the difference in cover design in different countries. Isn’t there a website that shows Harry Potter covers from all over the world? Fascinating stuff.

    Tess, I am interested in your comment about the paperback audience. Are PB readers a separate demographic from hardcover readers? I can think of many reasons why a publisher would use a different marketing strategy for PB than for HC, but is the reader audience itself different?

  3. boris
    boris says:

    hi tess,
    I feel that the Hard covers tend to be more money then the paperbacks, so therefore i think more people will by paperback, however, i am only writing from the Perspective of some one in the UK, so it may be different in America.
    However, I like both covers and am Confident they will do very well, Regardless of the country.
    Best of luck! Boris

  4. Marcus Sakey
    Marcus Sakey says:

    Both covers are strong, but the UK version is flat-out stunning.

    In general, I feel like designs for UK releases tend to take more graphic risks–9 times out of 10, when I see a US and a UK cover side by side, the UK is simply more interesting. Wonder why that is? A true cultural difference, or a lack of faith in the taste of American readers?

  5. clare
    clare says:

    Doubt I’d have picked up the US hb, too similar to others I’ve seen to stand out.

    I like your UK covers, they’re stark; white with a simple image often red. Noticed your standalones have been released in the same look covers now too.

    Fascinates me how different countries vary, some you’d not connect to the same book. Never noticed a difference between hb & pb covers before.

    I prefer pb books but I’m impatient so there are a few authors I buy as soon as released. Often with popular authors that sell in supermarkets… there’s little price difference.

  6. Tom Young
    Tom Young says:

    Hope it does well, it was a awesome book. I love hard copies, but then again I keep books I’ve read and usually read them about three or four times before I stop reading them. I find it amazing how much I pick up in a re-read of any book. But then again I have one I’ve been reading daily since the early 80’s a devotional by Oswald Chambers

    Three weeks and counting.

  7. Tess
    Tess says:

    thanks for the comments! Marcus, I agree with you on the UK covers — they’re often much starker and eye-catching. I think a big reason for my success there (after a pretty dismal sales record) is that my publisher changed my cover design to its current look.

  8. Sue
    Sue says:

    I like to read paperbacks… if I can wait long enough for my favorite authors to come out in paperback. You? Sorry… can’t wait. I must have the hardcopy.

    btw – I think the U.K. cover is more eye-catching, too!

  9. tuttle
    tuttle says:

    Oh, heck, I don’t know.
    Hate to be a wet blanket…..
    I actually liked the hardcover cover. (Thats the version I read)

    But heres what I think—-

    For the paperback….I feel that while the TITLE is intriguing (thats what got me to pick up the hardcover–and then I read the flap and then looked at the cover again)the cover just doesn’t grab me.

    And aside from your regular constant readers, (who will buy the book DESPITE the cover) the ideal situation is to get a non-fan interested enough to buy the paperback and if they like this then (hopefully) they go to or somewhere and buy the backlist.

    I should think showing a woman IN FRONT OF some sort of door or entrance TO a building that would represent a ‘club’ of some sort would be more foreboding. (It would certainly enhance the TITLE. As it stands now I think the yellow/red color scheme works enough to ATTRACT non fans enough to pick the book up and read the back cover but a more title-matching PICTURE would really be an eye grabber.

    Of course thats just my first impression as I was out doing some grocery shopping and the DRUG MART where I was had several copies of the paperback for sale.

    1. The hardcover is the only cover that indicates she is IN some kind of club.

    2.The medievel hallway ‘look’ on the (US) paperback comes a close second.But the woman just seems to be walking ALONG a hallway not AT the entrance TO A CLUB (and an open door with her standing or walking towards the open door would be really great….)

    3. And the (UK) cover is simply just a white cover with a woman on her side, looking at me….
    nothing foreboding about that at all.
    Hundreds of titles have a woman looking at the reader.

    But then, thats just me (grin)
    I am just a reader who enjoys a good story and I still enjoyed the book immemsely.
    (Especially the little sub- plot with the priest.)

    Okay, wet blanket review over.

    Tess, you will keep us informed on sales figures during the next critical couple of weeks won’t you?

    Good luck!!
    A (critical) fan (grin)

  10. tuttle
    tuttle says:

    Well, it seems most of my second post didn’t go thru….nuts.
    And if it does later on this will be a repeat so sorry-

    Anyway I think a cover with a more specific
    picture of a woman heading INTO or running AWAY from a building or doorway entrance TO a club would certainly be a more dramatic cover.

    While admiring a pretty cover is nice, the GOAL is to get someone to buy YOUR book as it sits on the shelf next to hundreds of others who have the same pretty woman with the nice blue eyes that has does nothing to tell the reader whats INSIDE the book.

    I am almost done with my own book and I am very interested in the whole book selling process. The COVER is the vital ingredient for that 9 bucks.

  11. kranalli
    kranalli says:

    Hi Tess,

    I just started getting in to reading books for pleasure recently and in the past two months I have read each book in the Maura Isles and Jane Rizzoli series. I absolutely fell in love with these characters, but now as I just bought the Mephisto Club, I wonder if there will be any more books in this series and am actually sadden by the fact that I have read all the books in this series. Are there any plans to continue it?


  12. Tess
    Tess says:

    yes indeed, there’s another book in the series. I’m writing it now — won’t be out until fall of 2008, though. So dont worry, you’ll be seeing more of jane and maura.

  13. kranalli
    kranalli says:


    Thank you for the prompt response. Even though it is a year away, I am sure it will be worth the wait. Thank you for keeping the series alive.


  14. RN Ireland
    RN Ireland says:

    Hi Tess — Just finished Mephisto Club which I found at the library and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the rest of your books. Originally from California, I now live in a small village in the West of Ireland so I made the trek to Dublin and bought up everything else I could find of yours. I think I have been isolated too long! I love the series and can’t wait for your new book. My husband knows when he sees another a Tess Gerritsen novel that I’ll be up all night!

  15. PAULK251
    PAULK251 says:

    I bought Mephisto Club the other day. I started it tonight and pausing at Ch. 12.

    Just wanted to let you know it’s well done and I’m looking forward to continuing this one and getting your other works.

    Thanks & best regards

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