Picture this: you’re strolling through the aisles of your favorite bookstore when something catches your eye—it’s a beautifully designed book cover that stops you in your tracks and prompts you into picking up said book.
In the book industry, the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t always apply. In fact, a book’s cover can often play a huge role in its success. But why is that? And what constitutes a “good” book cover anyway?
Keep reading to learn a bit more about the importance of having a good book cover.
Books Covers – A Brief History
Here’s a fun fact: the oldest printed book in the world is believed to have been made sometime around 868 AD in China. At that point in time, and for hundreds of years after, book covers had one main purpose—protection. They kept the pages of books together and protected the delicate work of text that lay within. Designs on covers, while they existed, weren’t given as much thought. And, it wasn’t until 1832 that book covers as we know them now came into existence.
From Protection to Marketing
With the rise of new printing and design technology, book covers now serve an additional purpose—marketing. Today, covers often serve as a way of advertising a book, acting as the first “sales pitch”.
Whether in print or electronic format, the book cover is the first thing that potential readers lay their eyes on. It gives them a hint of what’s inside—from content to theme and even mood—long before they read the blurb.
What that means is that a well-designed book cover can certainly help get you a few more readers (and a few more sales).
“A book cover is the book’s billboard, and even without the reader or author knowing, it causes expectation. If a reader sees a book with an amateur cover, they’re going to believe that it’s also poorly written”–Beatrix Quill, Buzbooks
What Makes a Good Book Cover?
So what constitutes a good book cover? In truth, the answer is subjective. What one person finds appealing—like bright colors and big bold letters—might not move someone else. (Someone who enjoys simple and minimalistic covers, for example).
Book covers today come in a wide range of styles, from bold and colorful to plain and minimalistic.
What matters most is that a book cover, regardless of its style, is of good quality. A good book cover, more than anything else, is a well-designed one. That means pixelated or blurry images, hard-to-read or overused fonts, and poor formatting should definitely be avoided.
Whether you’re writing fiction, poetry, a memoir, or anything in between, the design of your book’s cover can make all the difference in the world.
“The Evolution of Books”, SF Book Reviews, https://sfbook.com/the-evolution-of-the-book.htm
Burnell, Cerrie. “A little history of reading: How the First Books Came to Be”, Book Trust, 03 Dec. 2019, https://www.booktrust.org.uk/news-and-features/features/2019/december/a-little-history-of-reading-how-the-first-books-came-to-be/