Imaginative Discussions: What I Like in a Book Cover

Posted March 5, 2014 by Kara in Imaginative Discussions, Kara / 24 Comments


Hi there! I’ve had this post planned for a really long time. I was going to categorize all of my favorite book covers because I seem to be drawn to certain things: buildings, illustrations, filigree, etc. I maintain that that’s true, but after I downloaded all the covers I wanted to showcase, my idea of the way I wanted to organize this post is just not going to work. So it’s going to be kind of random, and I apologize in advance. 

What this post will end up being is just a collection of my favorite book covers over the years with some reasons why, and I would love for you to contribute in the comments with favorite covers of your own or comments on mine. 

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I like covers with buildings on them. Some form of architecture. My eye is always drawn to that spooky mansion or that far away, foreboding city. When I am in a bookstore, these are generally the FIRST books that I pick up.

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And uhhhh, apparently I really, REALLY like vegetation on my covers, which is something I just figured out about myself right now as I was putting this post together. Even some of the covers in OTHER categories have plants in them. There is a lot of green going on. Incidentally, my FAVORITE cover in this grouping is Dreamwood. I just fucking love it SO much. Also, in the case of Orleans, it has buildings AND plants. 

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These covers kind of win in the typography category. I’m really sad they redid The Unspoken cover because I think this one is far better than what we are left with now. Also, I am really drawn to the bright colors in Something Real and I love how the typography is presented on multiple televisions. Three  Bird Summer just makes me really want to go camping and commune with nature. The font fits super well with the illustration and it really makes me think STATE PARK!

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This is kind of an odd collection here, but I chose to put these all together because of the colors. I like all of these books because they are eye-catching, vivid, and full of bold colors. I’ve always loved the shade of red in Die for Me. And I am a huge fan of the detail in The Cabinet of Curiosities. I absolutely love the sky with the car headlights in I’ll Be There. I love the uniqueness of the UK The Night Itself cover. I am not a fan of the US version at all.

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And DUH, obviously my favorite covers across a series are these. Nothing else touches the brilliance!!

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And finally, I have to give a shout out to all the perfectly adorable middle grade covers out there. I love middle grade covers to death. I have a thing for illustrations, and the whimsy and dreamlike quality of middle grade covers really makes me want to pick them up and read every single one. There are any number of MG covers I could have chosen for this, but these are some of my favorites. They are just so stunning to look at.

I thought about doing a post like this with the opposite, choosing the covers that just completely don’t work for me, but honestly there are so many that I don’t think I could consolidate them into one post. The majority of them are indie covers, and I just don’t think it would be fair to do that when all of THESE are traditionally published covers. So I think I will just skip that and go on to the next topic. 

But before I go, what do you think of my choices? Leave your favorite covers in the comments too, if you want to! 😀


24 responses to “Imaginative Discussions: What I Like in a Book Cover

  1. Great post! I think you went into my head and plucked out half of these covers at least! I’ve got a thing for pretty covers (even if they’re not particularly ‘pretty’). Nine times out of ten this means I have to buy the US cover because it’s rare that I like a UK cover more, I can’t actually think of any at the moment. Oh, and I’m completely annoyed they’re about to re-release The Night Itself with a new cover to match the next books in the series. I like the new covers but I thought the one above was perfect!

    • I actually do like a few UK covers, but I can find enough that I like in the US that I don’t have to spend the cash to ship them over here.

      I am so glad you like the original Night Itself cover more. I think the new ones look horrible. I am sorry. I don’t like covers with people on them (for the most part) to begin with, so this change has been a not at all positive one for me. 🙁

  2. I love the covers you’ve chosen. I find it interesting that you (not you in particular but “people”) don’t notice patterns until you put a bunch of things you like in a group. I tend to like covers that use color really well and have balance. I’m also really turned off by terrible font treatments, especially if the font is too hard to read. And buildings! I totally agree, I love to see castles, cities, etc in the background. It makes the book feel like the characters are going on an epic journey!

    • Thank you! And yeah, that’s what I tried to do here. I have been tracking the things I like in covers for the last few months to see if a pattern emerges. I also like filigree and I noticed that I really don’t like people on covers for the most part. Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. You like gorgeous covers!

    I also like buildings, (Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times is so beautiful, as is Beautiful Ruins). I like very bold colors and covers that are just typography. And I love the pretty dress covers. Sorry, I think I’m keeping that trend afloat single-handedly.

  4. You’ve picked some really beautiful covers here! I’m drawn to the typical ‘pretty girl in a prom dress’ covers, but I really like the architecture ones you posted. The middle grade ones are adorable as well.

  5. Okay COVER DROOL TALK 🙂 I really think that I like the cohesive themes covers, like Lux series, Soul Screamers Series, The Pushing the limits Series, I do like some of the stand alone book covers as well.

  6. (So when I first came to your page, it was playing sound, though I can’t tell where it was coming from >.> Just thought you might like to know if you weren’t aware)

    I really like covers with vegetation too 😀 I think it reminds me of fantastical elements 😉 And also illustrated MG covers are the best! They just make me so happy 😀

  7. I’ve noticed I like specific things on covers, typography, colours and also vines and vegetation too. I’m a sucker for those things, and just the whole thing put together can relaly affect how much I will be drawn to a book. I think all of the covers you’ve featured here are wonderful and would all look beautiful on shelves, so I’m not surprised they’re some of your favourites Kara! Some of my favourite covers are from the Skulduggery Pleasant Series, The Reaper Series, Trust Me I’m Lying and the Boy Nobody Series.

  8. There are very few things I like more than a beautiful cover. It’s silly how much I love them. Flights and Chimes’ cover is amazing. I’m looking forward to that one. I want to LIVE inside the cover of Beautiful Ruins. I’ve always been drawn to that cover even though I’ve never read the book. I love the cover for The Shoemaker’s Wife. Are you familiar with that? It’s so lush and gorgeous. For Darkness Shows Its Stars and These Broken Stars both have gorgeous covers. Fun post! I could look at these all day.

    • Yes, it is definitely one of my favorite covers so far this year. I love all the covers you mentioned but I am more drawn to covers that don’t have people on them, oddly enough.

  9. I also really like vegetation on covers, especially trees, flowers, and vines. I also prefer illustrations/graphics/cool typography over photograph covers, especially when they’re just a close up of a face.

  10. MJ

    Loved the ones you picked. I think for me as an adult reading YA, you can take them out in public and not get stared at. I take that back even when I was a YA reading YA, I got laughed at for reading the stereotypical YA novel with two moony looking teenagers on it. I think my biggest pet peeve with covers though, isn’t even when they have models so much as cartoon characters on it. I remember that Simon Pulse had a Rom Com series out a few years back and as much as I loved a few of those books, those covers were just heinous to look at.

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