Be honest: you’ve picked a book by its cover. Said cover may have been bright, pretty, scary or fun. Want a new way to choose a book by its cover? Let your search begin at Pinterest. Pinterest.com is a website that allows users to “pin” their favorite images to a virtual pinboard. Users can pin pictures of anything they want and, luckily, some users take photos of their favorite book covers. These users have pinboard titles or captions such as “must read,” or “books worth reading,” making the books easier for you to find.
Once you’re on Pinterest, you can use the search box at the top-right side of the page to find whatever you’re interested in. Pinterest covers topics besides books, so it’s best to narrow down your search with good keywords. A simple search for “books” returns pictures with books in them, crafts using repurposed books, and book covers. However, if you narrow the search to “book covers,” you can find great books like Emma, Post Secret, and I Like You.
Okay, maybe Pinterest is not what you’d normally think of as a book recommender, but it can be a fun way to use it. After you’ve found a great book, you can search the library’s catalog to request it. You can also use it to find cool things on our webpage. If Pinterest piques your interest in crafts, for example, a simple search will lead you to our upcoming bookmaking craft event.
Is it truly possible to judge a book by its cover? I recently came to the realization, while browsing my own home library, that I may be a book cover snob. Superficial as I know this sounds, I simply can’t get into a book that comes in a lousy package. So many wonderful books lie unread on my shelves because they 1) feature the dreaded movie tie-in cover 2) feature some lame picture of a model-posing-as-the-main-character (always cheap and disappointing, no matter how good the book is), or 3) feature a cover that is just plain lazy or uninspired . Conversely, I can be inspired to pick up a book I may not normally read, simply because the cover is intriguing. (Note: the cover at the beginning of this post fits in its own special category of so visually awful that it’s wonderful—a category reserved for truly unique bad cover art.)
So what, then, makes for good book cover design? Generally speaking, a good cover is nice to look at, and probably incredibly hard to design. It should catch the reader’s eye, and convey the idea behind the book in on one simple, abbreviated glance—but it shouldn’t give any of the book’s secrets away, or provide overly concrete visual information. (This is why I hate photographs of real people on book covers—it does not allow the reader to imagine what the character looks like, and distracts from the overall reading process.) An ideal book cover should be unique and interesting, and appropriate for the overall mood of the story contained inside—and if it’s pretty and shiny, all the better!
Some nifty new and replacement fiction covers that recently came into the First Floor Department:
For more inspiring cover reads check out The Book Cover Archive.
PS – What are some of your favorite books covers?