Go ahead: Judge away

June 29, 2011 at 12:10 am 3 comments

Everyone knows they shouldn’t, but we all judge books by their covers. And maybe we should. In today’s publishing world, a good cover represents an investment in the sale of that particular book. If a book isn’t expected to sell well, why would a publisher shell out for a talented cover designer when they can have an intern cobble something together for barely nothing?

A bad cover might also be the sign of a bad publishing company, or a company that doesn’t really care about books in general.  But there have been some absolutely stunning cover designs coming out on books from across the spectrum, from classics to popular fiction. 

Recently, Publishers Weekly posted a list of nine beautiful book covers — the covers that inspired this post, actually. In addition to those, I think we all know how I feel about Coralie Bickford-Smith’s covers for Penguin Classics’ hardbound editions.  Their children’s’ imprint, Puffin Classics, has begun to release new editions of favorites  with smartly-designed covers that actually made me debate giving Anne of Green Gables another chance.

I realize this is starting to read like an advertorial for Penguin (my feelings about Penguin are unsponsored and from the heart, I assure you). But my current favorite cover is on a book from Grand Central Publishing, The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon. The design features a simple silhouette and delicate typography so captivating that I find myself picking it up everytime I see it.

What about you? What are your favorite covers? Do you judge books by how pretty they are?


Entry filed under: Children and Young Adult, Classics, Musings and Essays.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Britney  |  June 29, 2011 at 11:08 am

    This made me think of the new book jacket Harvard Book Store gave the book Young Miles because it was hideous. http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10150236416393488.371420.61666748487

    I don’t usually pay attention to jackets unless they’re ugly – and I’ve read a lot of fantasy books from the 1980s. I don’t think they bothered making fantasy novels look pretty back then.

  • 2. Corey  |  June 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’s’ cover still strikes me every time I see it. Such restraint with such punch! And all totally relevant to the book’s plot. A brilliant marriage of graphic design and bookishness.

    Sidebar: Wait. Does this mean you don’t like ‘Anne of Green Gables’?

  • 3. Emily  |  July 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    This cover of The Yellow Wallpaper made me love the writing within more than I had before. I like how the wallpaper shows the ladies behind the pattern, like the narrator describes. Plus, it looks good. http://bit.ly/rjy3JR


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