I just came across this article in the New York Times - To Lure ‘Twilight’ Teenagers, Classic Books Get Bold Looks
Because the old classics are public domain, any publisher can release a version of one, with the content untouched, but the cover redesigned.
We all know that Twilight made Wuthering Heights and some other classics re-famous through Bella name-dropping them as her favourite books. I thought that was awesome as I don't really care why (or even what) people read - just as long as they do.
And my initial opinion (which remains even now) - Those covers are stunning! I am actually half tempted to buy them, so their strategy could definitely be working!
The traditional covers also make young protagonists look much older than their true age, while the newer ones portray characters like Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice” as the young adults they actually are, making them more appealing to young readers.
On the other side though - to quote the article again: If kids want to read ‘Emma,’ they want to buy it in the adult section, not the teen section,” she said. “Kids don’t want to feel like they’re being manipulated.”