Publishers are revamping the covers of classic novels so that at least the young people will give the Elizabethan prose a try.
The runaway success of Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter series taught publishers that young people weaned on videos are not afraid to pick up old-fashioned books, some of which can go pound for pound with Moby Dick or War and Peace.
The classics, which are in the public domain, provide an inexpensive source of new content to fill that growing appetite. The stories are free. It just costs a little to update the packaging.
A lot of the old covers are these painterly, pale covers that would never get your attention if you were passing them on the shelf, ABC News quoted Shanta Newlin, director of publicity at the Penguin Young Readers Group, as saying
They were getting a little stale, Newlin said.
While Romeo sports a white tank top and a three-day stubble in the new cover, brooding Pip on the cover of Great Expectations would look right at home in a downtown club.
Jane Eyre, Heathcliff and the Dashwood sisters are painted like modern fashion sketches on the covers of new editions of the Bronte and Jane Austen classics published by Splinter, an imprint of Sterling Publishing aimed at young readers.
A new edition of Wuthering Heights published by Harper Teen, an imprint of Harper Collins, goes so far as to include an endorsement from two of the Twilight characters.