Friday, 17 August 2012

On Book Covers

I’ve always been a cover junkie. I’m happy to hold my hands up and admit that the cover design does play a role when I’m selecting a new book to read. The story between the pages could be wonderful but if the cover is uninspiring it’s not going to jump out at me in a bookshop. After all, the cover and spine are the first things most book buyers see. Unless I’ve already been on Goodreads or blogs and chosen the books I want to buy based on the synopsis, cover design is hugely influential to my decision making process.

I’ve always posted a lot about covers here at Writing from the Tub but now I want to speak a bit more about the design and trends and why I think certain styles are so popular, rather than just posting up my favourite covers.

There have been a great number of posts circulating the YA community about covers lately, mostly focusing on how readers are sick of the same old standard pretty girl in a floaty dress looking sad. Well, I for one whole-heartedly agree. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule (I personally still love the covers for the Fallen and Chemical Garden series) but, generally, that decidedly safe and boring cover design is enough to put me off of a book.

There are so many books out there that the smallest thing can put a reader off of a book. If I’m faced with the choice of picking up a book with sad/floaty dress/pretty girl or an interesting, unique cover I’ll pick the latter every single time.

I have found that the vast majority of sad/floaty dress/pretty girl covers are confined to paranormal romance and dystopia series (though the backgrounds are usually different, with paranormal being set near water or by trees and dystopia having a backdrop of a crumbling, smoking city), so I’m not too inundated with them. Through far too much time spent poring over Goodreads and my own book shelves I’ve come to the conclusion that, while I find contemporary covers much more interesting and varied, there are still a few themes that stick out as being popular and, in some cases, overdone.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be talking about the following themes I’ve noticed in contemporary YA cover design:

- Legs
- Kissing
- Holding hands
- Hearts
- Coffee
- Swings
- Cars
- Lockers
- Bikes
- Converse

If you can think of anything I’ve missed or anything you’d like me to take a look at, please do let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out.

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