Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Book Covers

For me, book covers (like "good" and "bad" signs) hold a lot of power. I've seen book covers that have made me furious, either because of their bad design, bad concept, or because they were way too gimmick-y. To give you an idea of how emotionally invested I get in bad design, I once told my father (who is a "sign-man") that a Addition-Elle billboard from about four years ago "made a mockery of large women everywhere." Yup...it's true. The idea of the big, stupid, loopy font they used STILL makes my blood boil. Alternately, good book design gives me a sense of satisfaction that rivals the satisfaction I feel when I've finished something of my own, or came up with an idea that I was 100% sure of.

I just killed an hour on The Book Cover Archive and I can honestly say that not a whole hell of a lot of the book covers included on the site grabbed me. Don DeLillo's book covers are obnoxious. The new Vintage edition Kafka covers are disappointing. I am a fan of the covers of the new-ish Penguin "Great Ideas" series, some of which have trickled in at my work (another place I kill hours looking at book covers). The book cover I've pictured above, though, was my absolute favourite on the website. So perfect. We've all been there, haven't we? (Trying to erase something cleanly, to no avail, I mean...)

I've included some other favourites from the archive below. Who is willing to admit that they've bought books for their covers? I am, definitely.


leah buckareff said...

i, too, am a book cover obsessive. the 40 boxes of books we have in storage can attest to that. (i think 'she said boom' ended up with a few of our purged titles back in november) i've been known to buy a second copy of a book i already have just because of the cover.

thanks for the link. here's a link to my favorite in a penguin series that i didn't see in canada before i left so you might not have come accross it yet, but it's, in my opinion, the best!

Tara Bursey said...

Leah- Thanks for the link! That is a great cover. In my opinion, no contemporary book covers come close to all the awesome mid-century New Directions paperbacks. So, so inspiring. Here's a link to a small-ish selection of them by Alvin Lustig: