BloomsburyFail (Again)

After the kerfuffle over the cover for “Liar,” I thought that Bloomsbury would have learned its lesson: whitewashing covers is bad. No, bad. Unacceptable, inexcusable, repulsive–you get the idear.

Imagine my surprise/hurt/ire this afternoon when I read that the same damn thing has happened again.

In honor of this occasion, I offer:


Open Letter To Bloomsbury Publishing

Dear Bloomsbury Publishing,

I am writing to express my disappointment and anger at the cover of your book, Magic Under Glass. This title’s protagonist is a woman of color, but the image on the book’s cover depicts a white woman.

The issue of “whitewashing” covers is not new to your company. The original image on Justine Larbalestier’s Liar also showed a white woman, but the protagonist is a woman of color. This latest example of the erasure of women of color from your books’ covers is inexcusable.

I implore you to change the cover of Magic Under Glass to reflect, or at the very least to not repudiate, its content. Until you make these changes to the cover, and apologize for this repeat offense, I will not purchase any of your books for myself, and I will encourage my friends and family to refrain from buying your titles as well.

I look forward to your response, and to the day when I can purchase a copy of Magic Under Glass without supporting an unacceptable marketing strategy.


Jessica Neiweem


Read more about this debacle at…


GAL Novelty


Black-Eyed Susan’s

Reading In Color



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. susan
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 18:00:03


    Thank you so much for your comments at Black-Eyed Susan’s and your support. Now that I know you are here, I will be back.



  2. Ari
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 18:29:48

    Thanks for writing this letter and speaking out aganist the whitewashing of covers.

    This is a great letter. I don’t want to boycott this book and hurt the author, especially since she wrote a book about a poc. we do need to keep writing/blogging and protesting about this.


  3. Ari
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 18:31:17

    But you’re so right, this is completely unexcusable!


  4. Jessica Neiweem
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 19:22:16

    You’re quite welcome, Susan. Thank you for all that you do. The blogosphere is a better place because you’re writing in it.


  5. Jessica Neiweem
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 19:29:32

    Ari, you make a great point that hurting the author doesn’t help the situation. As a public librarian in charge of ordering YA materials, I’m in the unique position of being able to boycott the publisher on a personal level, but to purchase this book and others by Bloomsbury for my library, if they fit the needs of our community.

    The book sounds great, so I’ll buy a copy for the library. That will help Bloomsbury get the message that yes, people do in fact want to read about people of color. At the same time, writing them and personally boycotting them will (hopefully) send the message that whitewashing covers is reprehensible. It’s a strange set of interests to balance, and I’m not claiming that I’ve got it right, but that’s what I’ve come up with so far. Ideas welcome! *grin*


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