Skip to main content


Adult Summer Reading: Picking a Book by Its Cover

by Carla Sarratt on 2017-07-05T08:00:00-04:00 in Literature & the Arts

by Margaret Miles, System Services Librarian, Main Library


You know what they say about judging books by their covers, but all of us do it all the time – and the designers at publishing companies put a LOT of time and effort into concocting covers that will catch and hold the eye and catch the imagination.

I’ve often thought that the cover art for The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s 1983 feminist reinterpretation of the Arthurian legend, played a significant part in the book’s becoming a bestseller.

Want to geek out on the intricacies of cover design?  Try this site for a month-to-month gallery, following the work of noted designers.  Trends have changed over time for sometimes surprising reasons, but it’s probably not surprising that most cover design  nowadays is done on a computer.  Whatever techniques have been used, the goal is always to attract the reader to the book.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts recognizes great covers every year in its 50 Books | 50 Covers  competition.  They’ve been recognizing great book design since 1923.  Here are some of the winners from 2015, the most recent group to be announced:




Some book covers become as classic as the words they enclose:


And sometimes there’s a change in the cover design between editions.  Does it make a difference to you?



So, what strikes your fancy?  All text?


Do you go for simple, dramatic design?


Or do you reach for a book where there’s clearly a whole lot going on?


But heck, it’s summer.  Maybe it’s just time to go to the beach.


If any of the books tickle your fancy, click the cover to place a hold on the title to be delivered to your preferred branch.

 Add a Comment



Enter your e-mail address to receive notifications of new posts by e-mail.


  Back to Blog Home
This post is closed for further discussion.

Book Banner
Main Library & Law Library 201 Chestnut Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-6301 • Hours M-T 9-8 W-Th 9-6 Fri-Sat 9-5 Sun 1-5 (NC Room Closed)
Northeast Regional Library 1241 Military Cutoff Road • Wilmington, NC 28405 • Phone 910-798-6371 • Hours M-T 9-8 W-Th 9-6 Fri-Sat 9-5 Sun 1-5
Myrtle Grove Library 5155 South College Road • Wilmington, NC 28412 • Phone 910-798-6391 • Hours M-T 9-8 W-Th 9-6 Fri-Sat 9-5 Sun 1-5
Pleasure Island Library 1401 N. Lake Park Boulevard • Carolina Beach, NC 28428 • Phone 910-798-6385 • Hours M-Th 9-6 Fri 9-5 Sat 9-1 Sun Closed