Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö UK Cover Designs

In my previous post I did something I almost never do, viz. praise an American cover design. I actually went so far as to say that I preferred it to its French equivalent.

But then I stumbled upon the British designs for the same series of novels by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö, and they’re of course much better still. I’ve done up another side-by-side comparison below, with the American designs (2008-2009) from Random House USA on the left and the British designs (2006-2007) from HarperCollins UK on the right.


As I said, the American designs are good, but something about the British covers just does it for me. The fonts are comparable, but the images on the British editions are more abstract, less obvious. Also, the bright colours used for the titles really stand out against the general black-white-grey theme of the whole. The only thing I can really say against the British designs is that they forgot the umlauts in the authors’ names on the first two covers, a veritable offense to the sensibilities of the student of Germanic languages that I purport myself to be.

The rest of the British covers (click for larger image):


For those of you who are into this whole Swedish thing, I would invite you to visit our sister site, Scandinavian Literature in Translation, which aims to catalogue all translations of Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic literature as they are announced by publishers (in 2008, approximately 200 150 such titles were released in Canada).

Happy New Year to one and all! See you in 2009…


~ by Thomas on 2008-Dec-31.

3 Responses to “Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö UK Cover Designs”

  1. The only thing I can really say against the British designs is that they forgot the umlauts in the authors’ names on the first two covers

    Only in the images you have. I ordered the ten books the other day (a bargain for any of your UK readers who may want them) and they arrived today, all ten with umlauts present and accounted for. A nice little touch, too, is that each of the books are numberd 1 through ten, on the spines, and each with a letter, too, so that when the spines face out from a bookcase, provided they are in order, they spell out M-A-R-T-I-N-B-E-C-K.

  2. Cheers Stewart! A wonderfully informative comment if ever there was one.

    I think I’m going to have a go at ordering these myself as I definitely need to have M-A-R-T-I-N-B-E-C-K facing out from my bookcase. For a tenner, how can I afford not to? Even with shipping to Canada, I would still expect to be quids in by a wide margin.

  3. Disaster! They don’t ship outside of the British Isles. This is terrible news. What an emotional rollercoaster. Perhaps I would have been better off never knowing that they were selling the whole series for a tenner in the first place. *sigh* Well, if that’s the way they’re going to be, then I say bring back the British Empire!

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