You knew it was bound to happen. I mean, pretty much every major publishing house probably has a team of marketers whose main job is to sit around thinking up ways that they can capitalize on the Twilight phenomenon. So it was really only a matter of time before one of them decided to re-brand Bella and Edward’s favourite book, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.
Apparently, HarperCollins has beat everyone else to the punch, and the results of their redesign efforts can be seen above with the Harper U.K. cover in the middle and the Harper U.S. one on the right. And everyone is talking about it.
From the gag-worthy, undead-inspired tagline, to the stamp of approval from Twilight‘s star-crossed lovers, these covers are just dripping with sugary sap. And then there’s the overly gushing product description from Amazon:
Love the Twilight books? Then you’ll adore Wuthering Heights, one of the greatest love stories ever told. Cathy and Heathcliff, childhood friends, are cruelly separated by class, fate and the actions of others. But uniting them is something even stronger: an all-consuming passion that sweeps away everything that comes between them. Even death!
But let’s put all that aside. Sure, Wuthering Heights definitely doesn’t need a vampire-esque redesign. But, according to the Guardian, the strategy, so far, is working:
A new edition of the novel, repackaged in a similar style to Meyer’s Twilight books – black cover, white flower, tagline “love never dies” – was released in May this year, and has already sold more than 10,000 copies in the UK, nearly twice as many as the traditional Penguin Classic edition, making it Waterstone’s bestselling classic.
And really, why shouldn’t it be selling well? Teens love Twilight, so if you throw more books at them that look just like their treasured love story with claims of support from their favourite hero and heroine, naturally these new books are going to sell like hotcakes. Even if the new books are, in fact, actually old. And again, what’s so bad about this after all? Sure, it’s just a cash grab scheme for HarperCollins, but on the positive flip side, it’s also encouraging young readers to pick up the classics. It’s the exact same thing that happens when Hollywood turns the works of Shakespeare and Austen into blockbuster flicks. And if all these tricks lead to more teens reading great classic works of literature, then who really cares what the original motive is, as long as increased literacy is a side-effect?
Is Brontë rolling in her grave? Perhaps. Or maybe she just wishes she was alive to be rolling in all her vampire-infused dough.