Poll: Would You Pay Extra For Interior Art?

What the fold out for The Sword of Shannara looks like

Whenever a new Terry Brooks book is going to publish, I think back to the first, The Sword of Shannara, and how many of us were influenced by Sword. Without the existence of Sword, for instance, you would not be reading this post.

And your life would be absolutely dull and without meaning, right? Ha!

Just kidding.

Sword is an interesting book. It was released as a trade paperback first. It became a bestseller right out of the gate. It proved to publishers that epic fantasy could sell outside of The Lord of the Rings, meaning a lot of epic fantasy writers today owe a debt to Sword. It was then released as a 3500-copy first edition / first printing hardcover so it could become eligible for the Science Fiction Book Club. It survived those who compared it to Tolkien’s great masterwork and over the years it has undoubtedly been responsible for a great many people entering fantasy. To say it’s a special book—an important book to the genre’s history, in fact—is a vast understatement.

But over the years, more people have asked about one aspect of The Sword of Shannara than any other:

Where did the interior artwork go?

The Sword of Shannara was originally released with a full-color foldout depicting the company from Culhaven, painted by the Hildebrandt Brothers. It’s a gorgeous piece. But after the release of The Wishsong of Shannara in 1985, all interior artwork in Terry’s books disappeared. Artwork costs money to produce, after all, and Del Rey Books decided at that time it was not cost effective to continue doing so. The business decision made a lot of fans sad, myself included.

A few days ago, Terry and I were talking about my novel, The Dark Thorn, and how it is progressing toward publication. It’s still being professionally edited but that doesn’t mean I can’t start looking toward the future and the things that must be done to bring it to you all. Terry likes my plan for it. Because I love symmetry, I’m going to publish 3500 copies of The Dark Thorn—just like The Sword of Shannara had in 1977—and it will have a full-color foldout and black & white inserts as well. There will also be a 500 signed & numbered slip case edition signed by a few people you might know.

It got Terry thinking though. He was curious if his fans would pay an extra $1.00 or $2.00 to get interior artwork like that seen in Sword or soon in The Dark Thorn. If his books are retailing for $27.00 cover price, would you as fans be willing to pay $29.00 to have interior art?

I told him we’d poll it. So here we go! Vote your choice and then comment below. I’d love to hear all of your thoughts. And who knows? Perhaps if you guys like the idea, we can take the data to Del Rey and make it happen!


78 responses to “Poll: Would You Pay Extra For Interior Art?”

  1. I don’t even have to think about it – I’d pay extra for artwork. As it is, I already re-buy the books when they’re printed with different covers, so this is an easy choice for me. 🙂

  2. Artwork is why I bought the UK edition of Gypsy Morph, and ALL the Omnibus copies of Shannara, Word & Void and Landover. I can’t wait until I can get my hands on The Dark Thorn, especially if it has artwork from some of the people Shawn has met! W00T! I will even Pre-Order my signed copy right now Shawn, just say the word!

    • I wish, Jeff! Got a few things to get in line first before the book goes live for physical copy pre-order. Namely, the edit. When that’s done, I’ll start laying it out and then I’ll be able to contact the printer with a page count so they can estimate how much all of this is going to cost me — and you guys. Ha!

      • I can echo Jeffs sentiment. The art is an awesome perk to the books. I often go back to The Sword and find the art boosts the images from the stories. So, bring on The Dark Thorn with all you can and sign me up!

  3. I think $27 and $29 might be a bit much for a standard retail cover price. Yes, it’s Terry Brooks; so I would buy it anyway I’m sure. How about $17 for the standard and $29 for a special, limited edition with interior artwork? In that case I would probably, eventually buy both.

  4. No doubt I would pay extra for interior art and inserts. I loved this in Sword, and it would be cool to bring back today. Why not?!

  5. As long as you can get the Brothers Hildebrandt to do the art, I’m in!! They do/did fantastic work (not sure if they are still working). The Tolkien calenders from the mid-70’s were sensational, as was the art for The Sword of Shannara!!! Bring back the Hildebrandts!!!!

  6. does that include us here in the UK Shawn? because i know the UK publishers can be picky about it unfortunately 🙁

  7. If it can’t be sold to print publishers, it might make for a nice iPad or tablet edition of the book, taking advantage of the device’s screen. But if it could work in print, of course I’d buy it. It would make a regular hardcover book more of a keepsake.

  8. i remember very well my first glimpse of “sword.” it was the wonderful cover that drew me to the book back in june of 1977. this book was the one that caused me to haunt bookstores; the book that enabled me unable to walk past one. for five years i patiently waited for another terry brooks book to come. i checked almost weekly, “sorry, that’s the only book he’s written,” i would hear. in the meantime i got turned on to other great writers of the genre, most notably piers anthony and his xanth series. i judged these books by their covers and back cover splashes. i haven’t been disappointed. the first hardcover brooks novel i bought was the first “landover” novel. i was disappointed in the lack of artwork, something i was very much looking forward to seeing. sometimes a reader’s imagination is all that’s needed to see a character but when possible i think it benefits everyone to see the author’s/illustrator’s visions, and the artwork in the original trilogy made it stand above all other books of it’s kind. that’s a definite YES vote, by the way…

  9. While I enjoy the artwork in the novels, I do like to imagine the characters for myself. Having them drawn and put into paper kind takes away from the imagination part, which is the reason I read these books. Though, I must say that the Sword of Shannara is my favorite . . . I wonder if I can unvote and revote. lol?

  10. My best friend from back then removed and framed the picture from his book. I have always been jealous as I never had a first edition of the first one.

  11. dear mr brooks sir,..i still have the letter you wrote me eons ago. hell yes i’d pay good money for artwork…esp YOUR books ………!!!!

  12. Publish with and without the art and see which sells first and most. I personally would not pay more.

    • I believe the artwork editions will sell like (forgive the old adage) hotcakes. Art definitely sells as do the words penned by an excellent author. Like an well aged wine.

  13. your books are already too expensive compared to other writers

    (let’s say a stephen king book usualy come out with more pages and at a lower price)

    • So Dom, You obviously buy your books based on quantity not quality!
      I love Terry’s writing style and his Grand imagination, so I am going to buy his books based on that and regardless of art work or page count. He could do the rest of his books with a plain white cover and the title in Arial Black Bold font. I would still buy it because I know I won’t be disappointed.

  14. I would definitely pay more for interior art, even if it’s only black & white. I remember the interior art of Sword of Shannara vividly, and the black & white interior art of Wishong of Shannara, which still resonates with me. I think I could redraw from memory the black & white illustration of Garrett Jax drinking by the pool.

  15. Personally I like books without pictures because I like imagining what things look like myself rather than having the pictures laid out before me. I would, however, love pictures of all of Brooks’ books conveniently all in one book.

  16. I only buy ebooks now, so no. The interior art would be wasted on an e-ink screen. A tablet would benefit from it though..

  17. I like the option of standard novel or limited edition with the art work. Give us a choice and besides if your novel is popular the limited editions can sell for even more and will sell out.

  18. I started reading the sword when I was in sixth grade, and didn’t finish until the beginning of eighth grade. Through that span of time I went through three books. One I lost and two broke in half (it was a huge book and I was a clumsey kid). What kept me going back though was the pictures. I wanted to keep reading so I could get to the parts the pictures represented. I think internal art would help younger readers get involved, and provide a sense of nostalgia for fans. It’s a win win.

  19. It’s 2 dollars….ONLY 2 dollars. I can’t imagine how that is too much or not worth it for some people, especially if the money went to help fuel an artist’s career. I’m by no means wealthy but I can still afford to pay for my favorite writers’ work. Artwork that appears in a book, I feel, is one person’s interpretation of the characters, story, setting, etc. I still imagine all of those things in my own ways as well. Just because there is one visual imagining doesn’t mean your mind has to get stuck on that one that was provided. What kind of imagination do you have if it gets that static from looking at a handful of images, eh?

  20. Let’s be honest, kids love pictures in books and when a book has amazing artwork on the cover a child would be most likely to read it. There’s also a kid in all of us, so therefore an adult reader would be more likely to pick it up, that’s what I’m like anyway.
    Although I think a choice of both would be great in the shop.

  21. I would only pay more for art if a book was being sold as a special/collectors edition release. Preferably an excellent quality hard or leather bound edition with the art and other embellishment.

  22. I read at first “Would You Pay Extra For Inferior Art?”
    Pay extra for inferior art??? Certainly not! 😉

    OK, it’s interior art.

    I mainly buy books as (mass market) paperbacks. To be honest, interior art can be nice but it’s not what makes me buy a book. I probably would not like to pay more for it.
    But then again it depends on the art itself – and of course, the 2$ extra is a small increase percentage-wise for hard covers but a higher one for paperbacks.

    You show a full-color picture. Hardly what would be found in a paperback, right?

    What I certainly do care a lot more about is maps!

    But that’s just me…

  23. While I think that this is an interesting poll, I feel that its just that a poll. I would pay for the book either way, but for me its about the story not the pictures. I like the fact that I can picture the characters/places/things how I want without some artist drawing trying to show me what they think “it” is. Mr. Brooks tells a magnificent story and the descriptions allow me to envision though my minds eye the “insert here”. Now would I pay for the book if it had artwork, of course. Do I think the books need artwork?….No.

  24. I think this is one of the most important issues when reading the Shannara series that is over looked in the republised books. For tho’s of us who have a hard time visualizing what the characters look like this really helps. I love book art!

  25. While I enjoy artwork, I don’t want them in the books that I read, I find them distracting, interrupting the pace of the book… because I stop to look at the pictures… I do, however, love maps at the beginning of the book.

  26. I absolutely would pay a little extra for interior art. Terry got his start in this business by having beautiful artwork in his first Shannara trilogy. I know these days people are sometimes reluctant as they have a certain image in their mind of what certain characters look like..etc…etc.
    So, yes, and yes, I would pay extra for interior artwork on Terry’s future works.
    Hope it comes true!

  27. I would willingly pay more for artwork in a book. I really like the artwork. A seen is visually shown to you from the book. This adds to the story, I think.
    I have all of Terry’s books in first edition hardback. All signed. Would love to have more books of his with artwork included.

  28. I believe that $2.00 for artwork in a book (especially one written by Terry Brooks)is a steal. I say go for it.

  29. As I read the stories, the characters are fleshed out and visualized in my mind. I don’t need anyone else’s interpretation. If a book is beautiful, inside and out, I may pay more for it. But not if it’s an either or choice.

  30. Agree with Jacob and Jens statements; for me? maps are essential, in all books, especially Terry’s ones.

    Just give you an example; I’m Italian and reading genesis books I always need an America Atlas to understand where we are exactly. I’m sorry, it’s a bit shame, but simply can’t remember all countries and States….

    Maybe I would be pleased to pay extra for interior art, but maybe what the artist shows is not what exactly the book makes me imagine. All of us have a personal approach to books and different imagination while reading, i think lots of details never can be “universal”.

    That’s my opinion; some good maps with focus on certain places (like older Heritage’s ones, for example Morrowindl or East Lands in Wishsong) would be better “universal” tips to follow better all the events.

  31. Ah, and also agree with DeathShroud comment.

    Here in Italy publishers can be picky too. I’m just saying that on most Terry’s books (especially last ones) our publisher uses its own cover art, a dictatorial act! really scandalous…

  32. NOOOOO!! not because it’s too much but interior artwork would only take away from the

    imagination!!! Maybe it would be nice if it was available in a limited edition version but

    that’s all. I personally would not like it at all and would probably have to cover the

    artwork while reading. 🙂

  33. A resounding yes! I would pay for the artwork. I feel its lacking since the first few novels. Bring it back!!!

  34. I like the mysterious covers on the books. But I don’t like some of the character drawings, the ones that look sorta cartoonish. Now some drawings are good. I love how Terry weaves a vision in my mind of the characters and the way they look, I am happy with that. Then I see a drawing of what an artist thinks they look like, and most of the time, it is so much different then what I see. In my mind I think they look nicer. Maybe the drawings can be place in a special addition. Special additons always cost more anyhow. I don’t have much income so I always buy the mass production paperbacks $7.99 and I treasure them even though they are only paperback.

  35. To be honest I would rather just the story.

    It’s not that I don’t admire the artwork it’s just that I feel it is better for the reader to imagine their own character’s, appearences etc. Afterall every reader’s imagination varies from the next, therefore to see how a character “should” look can often be different and somewhat disheartening in a way as it is differs from reader to reader.

    An examaple of this was when I read The Elfstones of Shannara I wanted to investigate the character Amberle further through Terry’s own opinions on her, and the views and opinions from other readers. I typed in Amberle Elessedil into the search bar of the internet and immediatly images of how Amberle “should” look appeared. None of these images came close as to how I imagined her, and would guess it didn’t also for many other readers also. (Note it would be very difficult to capture the appearence of Amberle in my opinion as she is an unbelievably admirable and loveable character.) But the images didn’t capture the “childlike” face of Amberle or other aspects such as kindness that I would associate with Amberle.

    Therefore, although I do admire the artwork, I believe it is better left to the readers imagination to capture the appearences of characters; each reader’s interpertation and imagination varies, and with that, so to does their thoughts and views on characters.

  36. I would gladly hand over a few more dollars to Terry for interior artwork. But I’d like for it to be more traditional style art not the photoshop stuff we’ve been getting for a while. I miss Darrell K. Sweet’s gorgeous cover art. I loved the covers from Wishshong and the Heritage of Shannara series. That art I would love to see again inside and on the covers.

  37. 2-4$ for interior art? Hell, I wouldn’t even blink if it raised the book price from $27 to $35. But that being said, I am a huge Terry Fan and would be willing to shell out most any [abet reasonably] price[d] amount for the next book that he produces. Oh and I would definitely prefer color over B&W.

    • Oh and as for your book, how would one go about pre-ordering one of the 500 signed/slip cased editions? Feel free to email me (I have to use my email to post right? 🙂 ) if they are not all spoken for at this time.

      • Pre-orders haven’t happened yet. Gotta get the book edited, then lay it out, then send it to the printer to find out how much each copy will cost. Then I will know how much they are and I can post the pre-order period. The 500 will be signed by myself, Todd Lockwood, and mapmaker Russ Charpentier more than likely.

  38. i would without a doubt pay extra for the art work. And was there any thought about putting art work in the earler editions. I would buy the entire series over again if that were the case.

  39. Yes, I would pay a little extra for additional art work. But would someone that prefers an ebook also get the additional art work??

  40. It’s about the story not about the pictures. Granted I’m sure this is something the collectors would really enjoy.

    I’ll pick up your first novel Shawn based on story. I like to give new writers a chance. Whether you keep me like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss did is all up to you.

    • I’m not Brandon or Pat, that’s for sure. They have a way with language that I wholly lack, in my own personal opinion. That said, I can tell a much shorter and tighter yarn than they can — more similar to a Terry Brooks, Stephen Donaldson or RA Salvatore — and if that’s what you are looking for then it might work. 🙂

      • I meant that Sanderson and Rothfuss are fairly new to fantasy and after reading their stories they had me coming back for more…key word being the story not the size and scope of it though that’s impressive as well. I’ve been reading Terry for over 30 years so if your style is similar, as I would suspect it is, I’ll be rooting for your success. Fantasy needs all the good writers it can get.

  41. I’m on the fence. I’m all in favor of artwork, but sometimes even good artwork can detract from my own image of the characters. This was especially the case for me in Elfstones. That said, the presence of artwork and the $2 price increase certainly wouldn’t cause me to *not* buy a book I was interested in.

  42. I have represented the Hildebrandt art for 32 years. So maybe there is a slight bias here, but I always prefer a book that is illustrated.

    BTW we have two of the Shannara paintings in the gallery for sale at spiderwebart.com. Jean Scrocco

  43. In 20 years of looking I have found only one other copy with the fold out color picture in it and I got my first used copy aorund 1981. I did not start to look for another copy until after 1989. Then when I did find one it was a different size. Until I read the sword I did not like to read, but the sword and Terry changed that for me.

  44. That original hard cover art of the company staring at (what was only a trick) a glowing sword was what got my 10 year old mind racing back in 1978. And the interior poster of the company was fantastic. Hendel was my favorite character and seeing him smoking his pipe and casually shouldering his mace is burned into my memory (I obviously still have the book, so I guess I could look at it too, lol).

  45. I still remember the first time I saw the Sword of Shanara. I was on a bus on the way to my Aunt and Uncle’s farm, and the person across the aisle was reading the book. It was the cover art that caught my attention. I bought the book shortly after, and still have it to this day. Along with every other Terry Brooks book out there. Would I buy a book of Terry’s without cover art. Absolutely!!! As a child though, it was the cover art that drew me in. How much more awesome to have interior art.

  46. I really don’t care much for art, I like making that bit up in my head! what I really, really want are very good and detailed maps!! I love fantasy stories but always feel like I’m missing something when I can’t follow the charactors travels! The only maps I can find don’t show very many towns in the Federation in the south. I also can’t find any well detailed maps of the west and coastal areas where the elves live in Arborlon(sp). The map I do have of some islands doesn’t reveal on what island the elves lived during the book Elf Queen of Shannara. It’s all very frustrating to me! So lots of highly detailed maps….that I’d pay for, but situations in the book given life in a picture….I think I want to do that work in my mind.

  47. I would gladly pay for interior art, but I would hope that it isn’t the same stuff they’ve been using for the covers. The photoshopped collage stuff just isn’t appealing.

    But either way… You buy the book for the story.

  48. I would eventually buy the book one way or the other probably, but I voted no. I already find the prices on books today to be far too high, and would never pay list ($27) for a few hours of entertainment. Chances are if the books get more expensive I’ll be waiting to buy them in Mass Market versions or used, or get on the library waiting list.

  49. I personally would love to see artwork make it into the novels more often. Around $2 is not that much… less than a gallon of gas. I know people are going towards the digital books now (myself included), so art will definitely be an added perk to pick up the physical copy. Not to mention that art also enhances the collectability factor. Honestly when I think back to past novels, one of the first things that flash in my mind is usually the artwork. Speaking of which I think Terry has a fantastic cover artist right now. I would like to see more of his work make it in. Or even something like Chapter Art would be neat. I know Terry has The World of Shannara books that have that kind of stuff in it. But it sure would be nice to have additional art in the regular novels (or at least the trilogy sets). Wishful thinking

  50. I’ve really missed the artwork ; I will always enjoy the stories but seeing an interpretation of much beloved characters – good and evil – and harrowing events is also exciting. I’m glad to see that the majority of us, at least 89 to 90 % of fans registered here, wouldn’t mind paying an extra buck or two to see some great pictures again !

  51. i would definitely pay an extra couple bucks for interior artwork. and hopefully Terry decides to put some into the post-Straken series. please please please please?!

  52. As I read I love to see the photos in my mind. Then when I see a drawing of the person that I am reading about that person most of the time doesn’t at all look like what I pictured. I rather stick with what my mind sees. Terry does a great job describing the character so my mind can picture that character. I do like the art coverings on the books, most of those don’t have a direct drawing of facial features. The drawing on the covers are mysterious, which leaves the mind to wonder. Like for example The Black Staff, there is a man on the cover, but his features are not close up. The cover draws you in. You wonder what is this man doing? He doesn’t look like a cartoon, which I really like. I like the characters to look real, and dramactic and their features to sort of hidden so you can use you imagination, the mind always does the best job. The cover of The Black Saff is a good example of what I am talking about. Most of the Shannara books have great covers which draw you into the book. I really don’t need more art work then the cover. But I would love to see more detailed maps in each book. I loved fallowing the characters along with the maps. Some of the maps were not as detailed as others. The maps are great to have added to each book. I would like to see a map in each book.

  53. I would pay extra for the books. As it is, I prefer to purchase the Hardcover edition for my wife (they last longer than the paperback) which becomes a permanent addition to our library.
    I prefer to read them on my Nook – having the entire Brooks collection – so far. I would like to see some bundle pricing for BOTH the hardback and ePub versions together – to keep us both happy!

  54. With the prices of books these days, artwork should be included…

    With that said, a buck or two more won`t kill me I suppose. I would just want it to be quality work because art in a book can be a great addition to the storyline. It helps envision both the characters and the land in a story which, in my opinion, gives a richer reading experience.

    My one problem with art, however, is when in future releases of the books, whether reprint, omnibus, or companion are done with new art of the characters. I read Sword back around 1981 and loved the Hildebrandt artwork. The pictures became the characters in my mind as I read the books and were indelibly imprinted. Then, when I saw the artwork in The World of Shannara for example, it just turned me off. I didn’t like it at all (the artwork). I was spoiled by the original art.

    So, in other words, yes do include art (and maps too!) and once you have artwork depicting characters on the cover and in the book, keep that artwork for all future releases…

  55. I miss the artwork! When I got that first copy of Sword with the foldout artwork I was estatic. The story line was not the only reason I bought the Shannara books. The artwork was a part of the reason. While I enjoy a good work of fantasy, having the artwork actually enhances the story for me. I often, while reading Sword, would return to that picture to keep the faces fresh in my mind. If you put out a book now with pictures of all the characters from all your Shannara & Word and Void stories I would buy it. It would be a great reference to have. I recently finished The Measure of the Magic and am about to start the whole series from the beginning to the end. This will be the first time I’ve done that.

  56. I have been meaning to suggest something (I don’t know if it’s mentioned by someone else above, I’m lazy). I think it would be a great idea to have all the cover and bookjacket artwork for all the different books and editions, available to view on the site. (I’m also too lazy to look through the new web-site to see if it’s already there, but I’m almost certain the old site didn’t have it)


  57. Would I pay extra for the art, yes but….
    Lately the art of the books and the redone covers have definitely been disappointing , I realize that Mr.Parkinson has passed away, whose work on the Scions of Shannara was perhaps some of the best work that expressed these particular books. But the Black&white paintings that graced Sword by the Hildebrants was something that at the age of 8 captured my imagination and swept me deep into the worlds of Fantasy of which I am thankful for. If I where 8 once more and looked upon these redone covers I’d probably shrug and walk away having never tasted Terry’s great works.

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