Have you ever bought or borrowed a book just for the cover? I react strongly to a book's cover–often delighted, occasionally put off. Covers are siren calls that pull me in to check out a book's content.
I was fascinated by Penguin 75: Designers/Authors/Commentary (the good,the bad–) edited by Paul Buckley. 75 book covers are juxtaposed with comments from both the author and the cover's designers and often a sidebar from the editorial staff or art director. As a reader, I came away with a new appreciation for the design process as well as the compromises that are made before a cover is selected. I loved having the inside scoop on a lesser known aspect of publishing ( e.g. why Penguin decided to use tattoo artists for its Ink series or when and why a different cover is selected for the paperback edition).
Chip Kidd is considered a premier book cover designer. For a look at his covers, peruse Chip Kidd: Work: 1968-2006, a stunning compilation of many of his designs.
Many are currently nostalgic for the album covers of their youth. Perhaps print covers will fade in importance in an ebook universe, but for now, there's lots to enjoy.
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