Private: X-rated covers

The Evening Standard reports on a supposed new trend, the rise of X-rated covers for classic literary novels in the U.K.:

Publisher Vintage calls its new Blue edition of 12 modern titillating novels “sexed-up classics” – they are effectively using sexual content to sell literature. Vintage says each book offers insights into a different kind of thrill: “Sex with the older woman, sex with the older man, fantasy sex, forbidden sex, dangerous sex, liberated sex, wet sex, dirty sex, raw sex, sex and shopping,” and finally “sex with toys”.

Some of the covers are mildly suggestive. But most are more embarrassing than steamy, like the sex scenes in my grandmother’s Sidney Sheldon books (believe me, at 12, I searched out every last reference to cocks).

Take the new cover of Kingsley Amis’ Jake’s Thing. It features an unzipped pair of men’s pants with nothing inside them but a vague, peachish hue suggesting the walls of a Miami dry cleaning establishment, circa 1987.

Update: I see Bookninja already said more or less the same thing, but in fewer words. And Ed has a preview of the cover for a new version of Portnoy’s Complaint.