Less is more

I judge books by their covers. Literally. And so does everyone else.

Lately, I’ve handed down some pretty harsh judgments. Not many covers have really called to me in recent months. In fact, the covers that catch my eye tend to be the least obnoxious, the ones with the simplest designs and quietest colors.

For instance, check out Boris Kachka’s HOTHOUSE.



I mean, c’mon. That’s a pretty cool cover. Nice color contrast and some fancy text. This book has absolutely everything going for it. Check out Jane’s post, and you’ll see what I mean.


What about this one?



Chad Harbach’s THE ART OF FIELDING has a pretty similar style to Kachka’s HOTHOUSE, and again, I love it. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong designing a book cover with some nice colors, and flowing script.


Once again, less is more:



One of my all-time favorite reads, too. But I’ll get to that in another blog.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: this guy just doesn’t like book covers with pictures. Wrong!



One chair leaning against another chair: that’s some real stuff. Simple yet beautiful.

And the minimalist cover to end all minimalist covers:


In case you missed it:


Who wouldn’t want to pick this book up and see what it’s about? ONE RED PAPERCLIP by Kyle MacDonald may just have the best cover of them all.

So I guess I’m a minimalist. (What would my parents think?) How about you guys? What are some of your favorite book covers?

3 Responses to Less is more

  1. Simone says:

    I’m not normally a fan of just text on a cover, but I do love this version of “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger:


    I also love this version of “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova, with just a sliver of the painting of Vlad the Impaler visible:


  2. Lynn says:

    My mantra has always been less is more. I absolutely love the red paper clip cover. It does pique one’s curiosity to know what the book is about and who wrote it. I know I would have picked it up in a heartbeat!

    I also prefer subtle colors than loud, screaming ones, but I disagree with Hothouse. Neither the title, nor the cover would have enticed me to pick it up. I doubt seriously that I would have even read the text written on the cover. (Thanks to Jane’s post, it does sound like an interesting read.)

    I did purchase a book not too long ago, The Affair by Colette Freedman, because I liked the cover. I’m not sure if it was the winter tree in the foreground or the pink coat that caught my eye, probably both. I picked it up and read the blurb on the back. The story didn’t interest me in the slightest, so I put it back down. I walked around the bookstore and came back to the same table and once again picked up the book. I read the first pages and liked the way the author wrote, so I bought it.

    Sometimes you need to listen to your intuition! Still, it shows the power of a cover, not to mention good writing on those first pages.

  3. D. C. DaCosta says:

    The only one I found remotely interesting was the two chairs. The photo tells a story in itself.

    I don’t like covers that mimic handwriting — because it’s generally not very legible handwriting. And it doesn’t help if the title isn’t easily pronounceable, to boot. (Giroux?)

    The paperclip? Loser. Even after reading the spine to discover the title, I am not intrigued enough to wonder what it’s about.

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