Oct 27 2009 10:24am

The Eye of the World ebook cover with David Grove

The Eye of the World ebook coverr art by David Grove

As announced, Tor is releasing the Wheel of Time ebooks—one a month, starting today. Each book will feature new cover art by a different artist while utilizing a continuing design template to unify the series. Why? Mainly because we thought it would be fun. I suppose there should have been a better corporate reason to start-out with but, really, it just came about as a conversation over coffee about cool stuff we could do on the site. The original idea was to simply commission twelve Wheel of Time paintings as a kind of “WoT of the Month Club.” As the ebook program evolved it became a natural fit to slide the idea over there.

Right away the idea was to hire different artists, with very different styles, and have them address the source material in their own voice. I wanted to pick illustrators that were known to fantasy fans and others we do not typically think of as genre artists—giving us fourteen new interpretations of Robert Jordan’s world.

I was a bit nervous approaching Harriet McDougal with the idea—I didn't want the idea of “playing” with Robert Jordan’s work to come off as disrespectful—so I drew up a wish-list of a dozen artists that I respect, and am personally excited by, to send along with the initial pitch. Harriet immediately supported the idea and I was thrilled to see that among the many whose work she admired, David Grove was at the top of the list.

The Eye of the World ebook cover sketch_ David GroveDavid Grove, an Illustrators’ Hall of Famer, is a statesmen in the field whose work has remained fresh and vibrant over four decades and counting. Harriet liked that his ethereal and elegant style would reflect a sense of dignity and history in the book. It seemed a natural to start the series with a portrait of a young Rand beginning an epic journey, the scope of which he could perhaps sense but not truly grasp. David’s luminescent paint lights Rand from within. In a way, it seems to be a portrait of Rand best seen at this time, when readers know so much about what lies ahead of him.

The design template itself is meant to let Robert Jordan’s name read easily at the typically small sizes of the various ebook retailer browsers. Separating the type from the art also allows us a lot more freedom with the art—we don’t have to worry about the values within the paintings competing with the text and it gives the artists the full canvas to compose within.

Hope you enjoy this first edition. This is just the beginning, many more artists and stylistic approaches to come. Next up, Kekai Kotaki on The Great Hunt, November 17th.

Irene Gallo is the art director for Tor, Forge, and Starscape books and Tor.com.

Richard Fife
1. R.Fife
Most awesome. Nothing like Rand up on the mast and about to go all crazy-giddy due to his recent channeling.

Curious, will there be any chance of getting these covers alone, in either wallpapers, or even as a calendar? Or even the "WoT of the Month" club, as mentioned in the initial?
Maiane Bakroeva
2. Isilel
Shouldn't Rand have bright red hair? Don't want to be OCD, but it would be nice to have relatively accurate character depictions for once.

Otherwise a nice picture. No chance of Whelan being involved, I suppose?
Kate Nepveu
3. katenepveu
Love the colors, and Rand looks nicely spooky to me.
Heather J.
4. Heather J.
I think this is a GREAT cover - this is the perfect scene to capture from this book. Can't wait to see the rest of the new covers.

And I LOVE R.Fife's idea @1 re: wallpapers or calendar - any plans there?!
S Diller
5. CuenDiller
love the idea, and the first cover. What a great image to start an epic journey!
Leigh Butler
6. leighdb
It's a simply gorgeous picture.

Would I be right in calling the style more or less impressionistic? (I took Music History for that elective, sorry.)

It conveys an utterly different impression (ha) of what the book is about, of course, but that's not a bad thing.
Kristina Blake
7. kab1
really really like Rand in this illustration, but wish more of the ship was showing. Also makes the book seem a bit like a seafaring novel, but maybe that's the fun!

I'm assuming that's the tower of Ghenji in the background? I didn't picture it as so big. but maybe it's a different sight Rand saw from that trip, I'm fuzzy on my Book1 details.
Kristina Blake
8. kab1
and I'll also echo Fife@1 , I'd LOVE a WoT calendar. wasn't there talk of this before, or maybe there even was one??
Evan Jensen
9. eoghanacht
Is there a list of the artists doing the new covers up anywhere, Miss Gallo?
Irene Gallo
10. Irene
Hi Eoghanacht,
We have announced the first four:
Eye of the World: David Grove
Great Hunt: Kekai Kotaki
Dragon Reborn: Donato Giancola
Shadow Rising: Sam Weber
Heather J.
11. JLundy
I like having the books released as ebooks, and like the art.

I hate the idea that I have to wait a year to get The Gathering Storm as an ebook. When the Knife of Dreams was released I still occasionally purchased paper books, I haven't purchased a paper book in 2 years.
Maggie M
12. Eswana
Oh my, I love this cover. I wonder if I can print it off and tape it over the cover on my physical book?
Christopher Key
13. Artanian
Have they announced pricing, formats, and locations to buy yet? A quick search turned up nothing this morning.
Jon Freestone
14. jayowen
Do you have a link on where we can get the book, I did a search in the store and didn't see it.
Sean Arthur
15. wsean
Looks very nice, but it makes it look like a Hornblower novel. :/
Samuel Smith
16. SamuelCreative
I absolutely love the new cover art! The colors are so rich and vibrant. David Grove's depiction of Rand is hauntingly stunning. I'm usually attracted to a book by it's cover art because I'm a visual person. I thought the original cover art was good but this is a HUGE improvement. I can't wait to see the art for of the series.
Christopher Key
18. Artanian
Irene@17, are the folks who decided the pricing on this absolutely nuts? Charging more for a heavily DRM'd ebook of a 20 year old work than the dead tree editions cost?

Yes, I think they must be. Or maybe there are some folks who want this to not sell well, so they can say 'we tried ebooks and they didn't work, now stop bothering us about them'.
Evan Langlinais
19. Skwid
That is just lovely! Would a WoT Calendar collecting these be possible?

And is there any chance we could get this in a wallpaper-suitable resolution?
Jason Kuhlmann
20. BrowncoatJayson
Will these ebooks work on the B&N nook? I can't tell what format they are selling them in from the Sony site.
Francesco Paonessa
21. ErrantKnave
Kekai Kotaki?! He's awesome! Wooo! Can't wait for TGH!
Jason Larke
22. jlarke
Tor's doing this for Sony only? No Mobipocket or Kindle store? That's disappointing.
Paul Howard
23. DrakBibliophile
I found it as a BN ereader book here: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Eye-of-the-World/Robert-Jordan/e/9781429959810/?itm=2&USRI=Robert+Jordan
Irene Gallo
24. Irene
22: Sorry, I was being lazy: It's on Amazon and B&N. I would think most places that sell ebooks.
Pablo Defendini
25. pablodefendini
A bit of background from the guy coordinating the production and delivery of the WoT ebooks (that would be me):

The Wheel of Time books will all go for a DLP (Digital List Price) of $15.00 for the foreseeable future (yes, they are pricey, Artanian. You are, however, dead wrong in your assertions—but that's a conversation for another post. Suffice it to say that pricing is a much more complicated issue than you've ever made it out to be, and that it's ultimately out of our hands), and will be published one a month until they are all out. For those doing the math, that means that The Gathering Storm will come out in November of 2010.

It's available at all major ebook retailers including B&N, Amazon, and Sony. All are available as ePub files (which the nook will read, Browncoat Jayson), with the exception of Amazon, obviously, which is available as a Kindle Mobipocket edition.

All digital editions were created from one master ePub file hand-QA'd by yours truly, working from re-proofread, re-copyedited and updated manuscripts, re-typeset layouts and hand-coded source files from our suppliers, all double-checked by Team Jordan; however, each retailer converts and ingests the file in their own way, and results therefore vary. If you have a choice, and care about having the nicest-looking digital edition, buy it as an ePub from the Sony Store (a bit more expensive than Amazon and B&N, but you'll get nice formatting and a pretty, higher-res cover).

I'm working on a very extensive post about the process of putting these editions together, and going into much more detail about all of the above (and yes, I *will* be naming names, for those of you who follow ebook developments closely and are aware of the players involved). Might not post it on Tor.com, but I'll certainly link to it from this site.
Kate Nepveu
26. katenepveu
I do very much regret that _The Gathering Storm_ isn't coming out in simultaneous e-book. I presume you had really good reasons for doing that, because I would have bought both paper and e-book if the latter was out right now, and now I'll only buy paper, because I won't need to be able to read it OMG FAST whenever I have a single free hand, in a year.
Dave Robinson
27. DaveRobinson
I'm glad they're finally out, and I hope a lot of people will enjoy them. However, I won't be buying them. I can't afford to pay $15 for an electronic version of what's basically a paperback. That's why I don't buy Tor books anymore. I buy electronic versions of current paperback releases - and outside of Amazon (which doesn't help since I don't have a Kindle) all the Tor ebooks I see are much more expensive than the paperback versions.

I could buy the books in paperback - but I've already bought the Reader and prefer it to paperbacks.

Instead, I buy electronic versions of books that are currently out in paperback from publishers that charge paperback prices for them. That's what my budget allows - and currently that means it doesn't allow me to buy Tor.

I can understand charging more than paperback prices for books that aren't in paperback - but once the book reaches paperback I can't justify spending more than paperback prices on them.
Ron Garrison
28. Man-0-Manetheran
How about publishing the new art as a wallpaper - one that coincidently could be printed and make a new book jacket for our treasured hardcovers?
Christopher Key
29. Artanian
Oh, sure, Pablo, pricing is more complex, but it boils down to two options, really. One is to price things affordably to aim for the largest possible number of sales/revenues. The other is to price things expensively, and only aim at the portion of the marketplace that a) won't purchase if it's not electronic and b) is not price-sensitive, to avoid cannibalizing any of the dead tree edition market. It is indisputable that the powers that be chose the latter. And sure, price sensitivity is a sliding scale, but I can tell you from a bunch of forum reading, >$10 is pretty much the spot at which it hits, for many psychological reasons.

So I'll stand by what I said - whoever made this pricing decision was only interested in selling to the tiny portion of the market that has to have ebooks and doesn't care that they're more expensive.

If I had to guess, there's probably two humps in the price/revenue curve. One around $6, and one around $12-13, and I'd guess the $6 one is considerably taller than the $12 one. Probably several multiples taller.

But now speaking as a consumer, pricing isn't complex at all. It's a binary decision. Is this too expensive? And at $15 MSRP, more than double the dead tree edition list price, the answer will be, I think for most folks, yes, it's too expensive.

Now I can understand premium pricing for works currently only in hardback. I disagree with it because I believe in most cases e-sales at the $9.99 kindle price aren't cannibalizing hardback sales, they're giving you paperback sales early, for a price premium. But that's not entirely unreasonable.

DaveRobinson@27, if you haven't already found them, definitely look at the Baen Webscriptions - you can get basically all of the new releases each month from them for $15 total, usually 4 new books and 2-3 back catalog, or get individual ones for $6 or so. Baen really likes their electronic customers - you can typically get the electronic editions 1-2 weeks before they hit the shelves.
Heather J.
30. Planeswalker
Elegant. Yes.
Michael Blackmore
31. mwbworld
Excellent, I've been waiting to start these for years. And having them start to come out in eBook format that I grab for my Kindle is just the incentive I need.
Heather J.
32. davlav4210
Disappointed that the eBook for The Gathering Storm is a year away. I was hoping that would be the first book I'd buy for my new sony Reaer. Not interested in Eye or any other book I've already got in physical form.

Also disappointed in the pricing. I agree with earlier posts, $15 is too much for a book that's out in paperback form. Maybe if Tor would just get the books out rather than worrying about new artwork, they could cut that price a bit. Regardless of the complications regarding how the price is set, book publishers need to realize that the digital pricing needs to follow the similar pricing windows that customers are used to.
Heather J.
33. king pong
FYI- tEotW is only $9.99 for the kindle according to amazon's site.
Heather J.
35. Clearlyhere
I love this cover. I wouldn't have been reluctant to read the books if they used this cover style rather than the dippy Sweet covers. I would even give them to people! (not that I don't now, but I wouldn't have to apologize for the cover immediately.)
Heather J.
36. Nadanix
Neither the pricing nor the publication schedule makes any sense whatsoever. People can go to a used bookstore and get the book for a few dollars, buy it brand new in paperback for less than 7 - or even pick up a hardcover for about 8 dollars.

And yet the ebook version is between 10-15, depending on retailer.

Not to mention the weird once-per-month distribution schedule.

It may be out of your hands, but that doesn't make it make sense and it does make it clear that either Tor or their parent company still doesn't understand the ebook market.
Cynthia Ahmar
37. tenkuu
Isilel @ 2

I believe Rand is described all throughout the books as having reddish-brown hair.

Aside from that, I do agree with most people that this style is very nice.
Heather J.
38. somewheresouth
well, in Aus a new paperback'll cost you somewhere near $32 and a new hardback somewhere around $45.

-your dead trees are cheaper than ours-

agree, covers are much prettier than originals. Wish my old editions had the new covers, and also stronger glue.
Heather J.
39. AndrewR2k1
What is this, a book on sailing?!? With all that happens in EotW, all the different locations, different scenes, amazing conflicts, and so on... we get "a guy on a mast" as the cover? Hey artist... you did *read* the book, right?

I rank this cover just barely above that of Gathering Storm. The quality is vastly superior, but the concept and idea is shamefully pathetic.
Heather J.
40. TKovacs
It's been sixteen days since EotW made its debut as an ebook, and already the price has been lowered to $6.99 for the Amazon Kindle. Since I already have the entire series in the dead tree version, I'm waiting until the price drops below $6 per book before getting my copy.

Pablo, if you want me to believe that pricing is made up of anything more than publishers charging the highest price they think they can get away with, try keeping the prices set for at least a month before cutting them in half. I might be more inclined to believe you then.

On a final note, I'm joining with the ranks of the few dissenters I've seen post. I'm not really that impressed by the cover. Maybe the later ones will be better.
TW Grace
41. TWGrace
Im trying to figure out where the stripper pole fits into the Eye of the World...

If the original book back in 1990 had had this cover I would have never picked it up.

The original Sweet artwork, for all of its flaws, inspired a sense of grand adventure to come. This one, not so much.

Now the one for the Great Hunt is magnificent by comparison.
Paul Howard
42. DrakBibliophile
Well TWGrace, I still want a copy of the artwork (without the cover info) of Eye.
rickey gobert II
43. xDarkSlidex
This cover makes me think of one of those "romance novels" that are published, i guess Fabio wasnt available to pose for the artwork?
Heather J.
44. Russell Heilling
I finally got around to buying the EoW ebook yesterday and was very disappointed. It appears that not only does the UK edition not get the new cover, Hachette Digital have decided not to bother putting a cover image in the file at all...

Tempted to break the DRM and insert the image myself...
Heather J.
45. Chandra 'Morakai' Harding
Its an alright piece of art.... but for Wheel of Time... utterly disappointed. The Eye of the World "first cover with the 2 rivers folk, Moraine and Lan is better than this. Looks like a sketch for tititanic or some 1600 hundreds sailing flick.

Pretty obvious this artist didnt even read the book... personally, it should be done again... so it looks good with the other E book covers already made.

Might sound rude but its my truth.

Heather J.
46. Brad Shelton
I'm a longtime reader of fantasy, as well as many other types of books. I read vol. 1 of The Wheel of Time and half of vol. 2 years ago, but found it a bit of a slog and lost interest. In recent months positive buzz about the finishing of the series and the ebook versions have "kindled" my interest anew.

These new covers - including Vol. 1 - are excellent. No, the new cover for Vol. 1 is not the comic-bookish action scene found on many fantasy novels. To me that is a very, very strong point in favor of these new editions. The fantasy market has matured over the past 20 years and the new covers reflect that.

While the inner content of Jordan's books is not changing, I find that these new covers put them in a new light. Just as new design / colors can dramatically modernize the "feel" of your kitchen, I think this cover presents the beginning of Rand's journey in a more sophisticated light. It is a mental impression that carries through the reading. It's about beginnings, journeys, the unknown, youthful spirit. It's more about the archetypes of the journey than a literal painting of "the party riding forth on their horses".

I'm aware that later covers may be more action oriented, such as The Great Hunt, which I think is also a gorgeous and sophisticated cover, in a different way. I very like the variety of different artists and look forward to the different ways they will approach their covers.

As for the pricing of these ebooks, I too think they are too expensive. I am very eager to purchase my first ebook reader and these editions, but for now the price is a deterrent. Instead I've just bought a copy of TEoTW in paperback - complete with Sweet cover. :-)
Irene Gallo
47. Irene
Thank you for such a thoughtful response. You made my day.
Heather J.
48. Todd Adams
I am trying to confirm a piece of art done for a Ray Bradbury book, and wondering if you could forward this to David Grove to see if he did the art. I am looking for the artist to possibly do an art print of the image.
It is the cover to Dandelion With done mostly in yellows, with a boy standing in a field.
Thank you for your time.

Todd Adams
Heather J.
49. Mark Sprague
I know that all WoT books went down on amazon for a while, but I thought that was over with. Now, I can't buy tEotW on kindle store. (It says it's not availible in the U.S.) Does anyone know anything about this? All the other wheel of time ebooks (that have come out so far) are on sale on the kindle store, but not eye of the world.


Try clicking on the link, it takes you to a non-existant page.

also, here is the page that says its not availible in the U.S.
Irene Gallo
50. Irene
Mark: Thanks for the heads up. I asked one of our ebook peoples -- she said there are still a number of glithes in Amazon's system, she'll let them know about this title in particular.
Francesca Resta
51. niji
Awesome work, I love all the covers up to now!
No way to buy them in epub from Italy?
Heather J.
52. Hiedi N.R
This version of Rand is def doable. I am not sure I like this pic as the cover though. Better than others, however.
Heather J.
53. Kraeven
Hmm. While I don't necessarily hate this cover, I'm not exactly crazy about it, unlike the other nine eBook covers. I suppose it's meant to convey that sense of wonder and adventure, but to me, it's just not something I would look at and associate with The Wheel of Time. It's...generic. And lacking something.

The other 'character study' covers do a much finer job, including the other two of Rand. Probably my two favourites are Mat in TSR and Perrin in CoT; both very dark (which is very much at the core of WoT), emotional and symbolic. Not a lot is actually 'happening', but they're just gripping covers. Moiraine in TFoH is right up there with the aforementioned covers. It's like a mental snapshot of the entirety of her character in the middle of an action sequence; a pivotal moment of character development, managing to be both intense and chilling.

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