We all know how true that saying is: “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” But sometimes we cannot help it. We are visual creatures so whether we like to admit it or not, having a beautiful or interesting book cover helps. If a person knows nothing about the book or the author, the first thing that will draw their attention in a book store is the cover. A stunning cover or something unique can really help drive sales and garner attention for a book.
In the end, what’s inside the book is what really matter. You could have dried up leaves and puke on your cover, but if you wrote the next great novel, people are going to pick it up. Sometimes the cover of a book matches the brilliance of the novel. Sadly, sometimes the cover is the only good thing the book has to offer.
Here are some book I’ve read with the best covers. Sometimes I wound up loving the book itself, even more than the cover. Other times I discovered that the cover was the only thing the book got right.
The Selection by Kiera Cass – This is the book that inspired this post. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was drawn to this book because of the cover. It’s just so pretty. That dress is stunning and I want to twirl around in it. Sadly, the pages inside the book aren’t nearly as beautiful as the cover. This predictable book with one-dimensional characters showed what would happen if you crossed The Hunger Games with The Bachelor.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith – The name of this book alone would garner attention. Adding in a cool cover was just icing on the cake. Pride and Prejudice is a classic and on many favorite books lists. Adding zombies into the mix was an awesome idea. While this book was interesting and had a cool cover, it needed way more zombies. If you’re going to call your book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I expect a lot more zombie action.
Smuggled by Christina Shea – I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway last year. I went through this stage where I entered a ton of Goodreads giveaways without knowing much about the books. Honestly, I based a lot of my entering on the cover. If I found the cover interesting enough, I would enter. This is one of the books I won. Sadly the book itself was not as beautiful as the cover. I felt more for the girl on the cover than the author ever made me feel about the character within the pages.
The Center of Winter by Marya Hornbacher – I really liked Marya Hornbacher’s Wasted so I probably would have picked up this book no matter what the cover looked like. The book itself is really great and I absolutely love the cover. It’s abstract and has a watercolor effect. It’s just as beautiful as the novel inside.
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld – This is another one of those books I would have picked up regardless of what the cover looked like. I have already mentioned a few times that Sittenfeld is one of my favorite authors so her books go on my to-read list no matter what, but this cover is amazing. The white dress, the gloves…it’s all so perfect! And it fits beautifully with the novel inside.
We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive by Laurie Notaro – Can you tell by now I have a thing with pretty dresses on the cover? I can’t even see the full dress but I already know I want to be in it dancing around. I know that’s not the purpose of the cover or the message of the book itself but I do not care. It’s pretty. This book is actually really great as well. I think it’s quite underrated and deserves a lot more recognition.
The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz – So, this is a book I picked up on a whim at the library when they had nothing else I wanted to read. I’m not ashamed to admit that it was the colorful cover that drew my attention. You could just tell it was going to be a quick, fun read. And that’s exactly what it was. This is pure fluff, mindless entertainment but it was fun! Definitely worth a read when you want something light that doesn’t involve any thinking.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – This book is popular enough that this is one of those covers that most people would recognize instantly. It’s a memorable cover, which is really all an author can hope for. I love this cover. It captures the essence of the novel beautifully.
Oh Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet – Creepy looking men in gray trench coats holding gray umbrellas, while walking down a wooden pier before floating into the sky. This cover really drew me in before I knew anything about the book. Then the synopsis (the three deceased creators of the atomic bomb reappear in New Mexico in 2003) really sold me. Sadly, the cover and synopsis are the only remarkable things. This book is underwhelming and completely forgettable once you reach the last page.
So what book have you read with the prettiest cover? Was the actual book as great as the cover?