Top 10 Book Covers OF ALL TIME!!!!

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Being a bookseller means looking at hundreds (maybe even thousands) of book covers over the course of the year and, when you’ve been a bookseller as long as I have (which is almost twelve years now), you’re bound to develop opinions and tastes when it comes to book covers. So I started a Pinterest board to collect some of the covers that I thought were most successful. At time of writing I’ve shared my thoughts on almost 150 different book covers. So, I thought it would be fun to compile a couple of top ten lists; one from Pinterest interactions and one of my own favorites. So, to give this a super click-baity title, here are: The Ten Best Book Covers of All Time!!!!

 

From Pinterest

These are the top ten pins with the most repins and favorites. The number one might surprise you.

 

10. A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea 

A Teaspoon of Sea and Earth by Dina Nayeri

9. The Goldfinch 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

8. From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant

 From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant by Alex Gilvarry

7. A Small Fortune

 A Small Fortune by Rosie Dastgir

6. Joseph Anton

Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie 

5. Aerograms

Aerogrammes by Tania James 

4. Subliminal

 Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow

3. The Divine Comedy

 The Divine Comedy by Dante

2. More Than This

More Than This by Patrick Ness 

1. The Wealth of Nations 

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

 

My Own Top 10

And now, here are my own, opinion-based, data-ignoring, idiosyncratic top 10 covers of all time. (There will be some overlap because folks on Pinterest have good taste.)

 

10. The Master and Margarita 

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Is there anything more fun than looking through different covers of classic books? No, there is not. This one is particularly brilliant as The Master & Margarita is essentially 2 books.

 

9. Tell the Wolves I’m Home 

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Rifka Brunt

Silhouette! Bear! Tea Pot! If you could turn something up to "Eleven" with subtlety, this is how you'd do it. Design & illustration by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich

 

8. End of the World in Breslau 

End of the World in Breslau by Marek Krajewski

How do you say "super dark Eastern European noir" with just a simple image and three colors? This. This is how you do that.

 

7. Get in Trouble 

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

There's always something...off about Kelly Link's stories, and that's what makes them so compelling. For a moment you feel like you recognize the world you're in and then that recognition is destroyed. This cover perfectly captures that compelling "offness."

 

6. Heart of a Samurai 

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

This has been one of my favorite covers since it first came out. Beautiful, narrative, & intriguing. Almost want a poster of this cover. Illustration by Jillian Tamaki, design by Chad Beckerman

 

5. The First Four Notes 

The First Four Notes by Matthew Guerrieri

Non-fiction covers are supposed to give a solid sense of the topic of the book, without giving away the whole story. The brilliance of this cover is it makes you hear those four notes & then wonder what there is to know about them. Designed by Peter Mendelsund

 

4. The Wealth of Nations 

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

If there were a prize for best new cover for a really old book, this Wealth of Nations cover would win. Beautiful woodcut plus the "invisible hand of the market" conveys the grandeur & core of the book. Design by Emily Mahon, woodblock by Ray Morimura

 

3. The Divine Comedy 

The Divine Comedy by Dante

This cover rules. Yes. That is all. That is how much it rules.

 

2. The Trace 

Trace by Forrest Gander

This is one helluva cover. Direct and eye-catching, while being evocative of a landscape and mysterious all at the same time. And the sunset spilling as blood over the boot! Just brilliant. Perhaps my favorite cover of the year.

 

1. Ulysses 

Ulysses by James Joyce

I realize that I am something of a Ulysses fanboy and also something of a Peter Mendelsund fanboy, but still, this an absolutely perfect cover. Because it is just text across a solid Irish-sea-green contorted to highlight the word “yes,” it basically is able to summarize one of the most important, most complex, and most expansive novels of the twentieth century.