There’s that terrible, stupid saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” All right, I know it’s a stupid metaphor about not judging people by their appearance and all that good stuff. But here’s the thing: it’s bad. It’s dumb. It doesn’t make any goddamn sense.
Book covers are a function of marketing. The literal purpose of them is to be attractive and be judged. They’re designed with a specific target audience and strategy in mind.
Some book covers are mysteries to me. Like fantasy titles. Do tacky photoshopped images of women against a dark and “magical” background really sell books? The Harper Collins black Lord of the Rings Covers, with the original Tolkien designs, however… (also, for some reason I was completely convinced this set was published by Anchor, who always do a good job. I guess I’m wrong about that though). I personally own all three of those. Question: why no matching Hobbit cover? Back to my point, there are a lot of different printings of Lord of the Rings, so cover design really matters to sell copies. The black ones are the prettiest– it’s why I have them.
I own a few books that are just really lovely to look at. The Art of Fielding has a pretty spine, although it’s a bit cracked, and looks very nice on my bookshelf. Especially because all my books are organized by color. Yeah, I know. And the whole reason I own We, the Drowned, one of my favorite books ever, is because it caught my attention in the bookstore. I saw it and knew it was something I needed to have.
My personal favorite kind of covers are minimal design and illustrative. I’ve been waiting to buy a new Harry Potter box set until they come out with covers I really like.
Anyone have a favorite cover?