Gone are the days when you can say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Book covers will be judged, especially in the digital format.  Browsing through a library, or bookstore, allows a customer the opportunity to pick up, browse through, and get a better feel for a book. When it’s done digitally, there is nothing more than a cover to first catch the eye. Erin Moriarty from CBS points out in her story “Judging Books by Their Covers”: The importance a book cover can make or break a purchasing or borrowing decision. Like any other form of art, book cover design is subjective, but should almost always be a prelude to what is to come in the story.

Here are some of my favorites from 2010:

The Carrie Diaries

The Carrie Diaries

What better describes a young Carrie Bradshaw than lots of pink, an edgy font, and wallet?

Soul of a Lion

The Soul of a Lion

This is one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen to date, it so perfectly describes the title, The Soul of a Lion.

The Passage

The Passage

Not only is this one of the best books of the year, it also makes my list of the best covers.  The contrasting blue and gold makes the reader feel as if they were lost in the woods hiding from one of the beastly creatures.

Life

Life

Keith Richards promised a raw tell-all and he definitely delivered, right down to the cover.  The autobiographical cover reveals his vulnerability and truly captures his fascinating persona.

The Imperfectionists

The Imperfectionists

The subtle cover is far-less visually stunning as the others, but its simplicity and whimsical font is paired well with the story and unforgettable characters.

Super Sad True Love Story

Super Sad True Love Story

The author of Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart, delivers a poignant, funny story with loveable characters.  The Andy Warhol-esque cover is comparable to much of his work: fun, witty, and hard to explain. I like it so much… other than it reminds me of the game Twister.

Cleopatra

Cleopatra

The Egyptian Queen’s life is explored in a historical context and just as in the pages of the book, the cover displays Cleopatra’s beauty, grace, and power.

WAR

War

Sebastian Junger’s bestseller aims to capture the horrors of war and does so not only through magnificent story-telling but also a book cover that metaphorically speaks towards the war-time events seen through his eyes.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet

The artistic approach to the book cover of David Mitchell’s novel draws readers to learn more about the story.  Illustrator Utagawa Hiroshige paints a beautiful picture of Japan in 1799.

For more information on book covers and their design, visit The Book Cover Archive.

Are there any book covers that wowed you this year?

Lindsey Levinsohn is a collection development specialist for OverDrive.

2 Responses to “Best Book Covers of 2010”

  1. Barbara Henry

    what impact does a book cover have on whether or not we choose a particular ebook or digital audiobook? Very little for me. Sure I like to see the cover — but it is a static, still image. I am more inclined to be drawn to a digital book by a book trailer, excerpt (especially for digital audio–I want to hear the narrator) and a brief mouse over plot summary. Someone needs to collect data on how and why readers choose a particular digital book over another.

  2. Terry Palin

    I have just finished reading Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. I was fascinated by the story line for the historical content and I look forward to her sequel, Angelopolis. The cover, however, drew me in. It combined the allure of an angel’s wing and the sensuality of the body. It certainly got my attention,