Judging by Covers

I reviewed The Summer of the Bear a couple days ago. It’s one of my favorite books of 2011 so far and I highly recommend people run and buy it (or click on buttons at your favorite online bookstore).

The book was good. People should read it. But you may want to wait, depending on your design aesthetic. I’m not a fan of the hardback cover (left) – it’s a little too busy for me. My eyes didn’t want to work that much to figure out whether to look at the white-space bear or the waves, flowers and mountains. I prefer the paperback cover (right).

Granted, the paperback picks up a lot of design elements that are popular right now. I’ve seen this mix of colors on a bunch of books, and kids without faces pop up a lot. But the paperback design captures more of the book’s atmosphere or at least how I experienced it, even though the design is most likely drawn from stock photos.

Maybe in my next life, I can be a book cover artist. I’ve gotta say, they fascinate me. I like how they’re put together from random elements. I’m mystified by the cover trends that sweep publishing. How many covers have you seen lately featuring a woman turning away? Or photos cropped so people are headless?

It used to be trends were most apparent in the romance section, but they’re everywhere now. If there’s still a bookstore near you, wander through and count how often the same font is used.

Anyway, the paperback version of The Summer of the Bear is already out in England. No word on whether this cover will stick around for the U.S. release.

For more on book covers, check out Book Cover Archive and its blog.

The blog featured this awesome image from a Penguin marketing campaign.


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