Book Covers; models, cityscapes, or abstract?

Judging a book by its cover, both literally and figuratively is sometimes hard not to do.  When browsing for books either in a library or a bookstore, don’t we all skim the shelves for books that stick out?  Broad color schemes, an interesting title,  attractive models, or questions associated with the book front, are all factors that stick out to a readers’ eye.

I look at book covers along with their titles to help decide whether or not I want to read it.  I’m attracted to book covers that are more abstract, and I dislike covers that exibit real people (models).  In Young Adult literature, most of the time the characters are between the ages of sixteen to eighteen, but on book covers, they’re represented by thirty- year old models, which distorts the readers’ perceptions and interpretations of the story.  The “Maximum Ride Series”, by James Patterson is my favorite book series, yet I don’t like the covers.  The models are nothing like I imagined the characters to look like. and if I hadn’t heard good reviews on the books, I probably wouldn’t have read them.  “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli is a favorite book cover of mine as well.  I think the cover is more abstract and leaves the reader wondering what the story’s about or who Stargirl is.  The brief excerpt from the book on the back cover also aids in adding a sense of mystery, inviting the reader to delve into the pages.

“The Sky is Everywhere” (paperback) by Jandy Nelson, “Girlfriend Material” (paperback) by Melissa Kantor, “Mortal Instruments Series” by Cassandra Clare, and “Tempest Rising” by Tracy Deebs, are all books that I enjoyed reading.  I didn’t like any of the book covers because they have models or cityscapes.  I think the covers fail to accurately represent the story and characters.  I think what people like about reading is that they can relate to the characters situations and feelings. “City of Bones” does have a stellar cityscape of New York, but on a book cover, I don’t think it works well, though it can help readers understand the setting of the series.  For me, the covers with models create an untouchable gap between the reader and story.

“How to Say Goodbye in Robot” by Natalie Standiford has the most thought evoking cover, title, while the color scheme and text correlate. Not only is the book a favorite of mine, but the outer appearance is appealing.

With this said, my intent is not to diminish books or book covers that have models or real- life images, but stating what appeals to me on book jackets. Graphic design as well as cover design go hand in hand in today’s world, allowinhg a mystical or magical feel, and for Urban Fantasy books, this method often works well.

What characteristics attract you to a book, and what are your favorite type of book covers?

– Maddie C.

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