Discussion: Let’s talk about book covers! What are the trends? Are they important? What are your favorites?

Hi friends,

Today’s discussion post is all about book covers and  their power on us readers.

I know it’s said not to judge a book by its cover but how many of you have never one clicked a book simply because you found the cover irresistible? Mmmmmh? No one? I know that I have several “insta coverlust” clicks! I try to resist and make of my buying process a rationale process but being a book lover means being passionate about books attracted to their covers!

Covers are VERY important for publishing houses and author.

With more than 200.000 books being published every year it’s a hard battle for writers to attract readers.What’s the reader’s decision process? Well of course your friend’s recommendations, advertising, past experiences with an author etc.

But when you see a book none of your friends has read, by an author you’ve not read yet, the cover plays an important role. If the cover is plain, the chance is great you won’t even read the blurb and give the book a second look. I’m no different honestly.

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s true! The cover has to embody what the book is about.

If you write about historical romance set in the highland or Victorian England, the chances are high that you’ll either get a naked chest dude with a kilt or lose shirt showing the heroes pecs!

But if you write a contemporary psychological thriller you’ll probably get something in dark tones, bold writing and maybe a mysterious silhouette.

See what I mean?

 

But I also think that past these simple “principles” you also have cover trends. Seasonal trends but also yearly trends and national trends!

National trends are perfectly illustrated in the Friday Face-Off weekly memes where we get to peek at the same books and all the variations of the cover.

Let’s take an example with A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab here and have a peek at all these Non US covers!

.

 

Seasonal trends are also often found in book covers. I have noticed that books published in Fall or Winter will tend to have darker covers than books published in Spring. Do publishing houses time their release according to seasons to match the content of the stories (and the look of the covers) with the season?

And of course you also have yearly trends. Same as clothes, book covers seem to change accordingly to the time period, the evolution in society etc. You can always spot for example a cover dating from the sixties. They have a “vintage” look that will be totally different from our contemporary covers.

So what are the current trends that I could spot in book covers and the ones I can guess from what the publishing houses already show us?

Keep in mind that I haven’t researched all types of genres but focused mainly on YA and romance, my two main genres! So feel free to complete with your observations!

Serpents on the cover!

Birds on the cover

 

Bold strong letters

 

Teens of colors

 

Covers illustrated by the very talented Charlie Bowater

And in romance, aside the shirtless dude on the cover, I have noticed more and more illustrated covers.

 

Let’s talk! Now what trends do you have noticed? Do you have favorites? What don’t you like on covers?

I personally love covers illustrated by Charlie Bowater (they are my favorites by far) or some with similar and dramatic vibes (like the series And I Darken US cover!).

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

 

 

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29 Replies to “Discussion: Let’s talk about book covers! What are the trends? Are they important? What are your favorites?”

  1. I didn’t know that all those covers were from the same person! Charlie Bowater is now the one and only cover artist I know by name haha, and she has done some of my favorite covers <3 (Sorcery of Thorns is amazing!) Also the snake on The Queen of the Conquered and The Ninth House is the EXACT SAME SNAKE? They could have at least inverted the image or something!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well yes troubling right?

  2. I hate to admit it, but a cover will slow my roll and make me read a synopsis. I think it’s important that a cover help to convey the genre. I do like the cute illustrated ones, but I know some peeps are upset that they can’t tell if they are getting romance or women’s fiction. Since I like all genres, but favor UF, PNR and thrillers mine are easier to spot..a little smoke, a snake. I think Pierce Brown’s covers have been cool.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Hahah yes your covers look easy to spot indeed Kimberly! And you have a very valid point with the illustrated covers being confusing for these genres!

  3. I really love the illustrated covers trend on contemporaries. I think I’ve read more contemporaries and romances this year than I usually do because those covers are just so eye catching.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Haaa the appeal of the cover is real Suzanne!

  4. I keep seeing illustrated covers everywhere. And the last one I read that was super cute was The Bookworm Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts. I really like this trend ♥. And yes a million times to this – “But when you see a book none of your friends has read, by an author you’ve not read yet, the cover plays an important role.” The way I find new authors to try, that my friends haven’t read, is looking on Amazon at the people who purchased this book also purchased this. And I always click on the covers that draw me in the most and then read their synopsis and go from there.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I think we are all attracted by beauty Jen! And we also all know that beauty is personal 😉

  5. Oh yes, I’ve bought books just because of the covers. LOL I really like the illustrated look that has come out.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I think we are all guilty at some point or another Laura!!!

  6. Olivia-Savannah says: Reply

    Yes, I do think covers make a huge difference! I have seen the serpent trend but it isn’t really one I love… I like the bird trend but most of all I love the illustrated covers! I think they are truly beautiful and always have me wanting to buy the book!

    Olivia-S @ Olivia’s Catastrophe

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Illustrated covers remind us of our childhood books I think Olivia and that’s why many (me included) have a soft spot for these covers!

      1. Olivia-Savannah says: Reply

        That makes so much sense! I never thought of it DD:

  7. I have always wondered why different countries need different covers for the same book. I guess they need to appeal to the people of the region, but are tastes that different? It’s a thing that makes me go hmmm. I love illustrated covers, but they are everywhere now. A lot of books are being rebranding with illustrated covers (ex Katie Cotugno, SK Ali, Cookie Gorman). I like them, but I don’t like when they are used for non-fluffy books. Illustrated covers seem fun to me, and it’s deceiving to see on a more serious book.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Your remark about illustrated covers is spot on Sam! I do think they fit only certain genres but not all! And usually US covers are very bold and colorful while UK covers are more discreet. I think it has to do with the national identity. From my European POV American are quite confident and assertive. Brits are more “humble” and discreet if I may say so. No judgement from me, just stating things I’ve observed. Honestly talking with American bloggers has helped me to dare and be bolder 😉

  8. I loveee illustrated covers!! Although I think that using models for ownvoices books is an excellent idea!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I think too Kaya! People can easily identify themselves with the model or at least know the genre right away !

  9. Oh god I love a shirtless guy in the cover….sssssh dont tell anyone!!!!!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Bwahahaha ok I swear my mouth is sealed Caro!

      1. Haahaaaa!!!

  10. Yes, but let’s look at the flipside. Have you ever passed a book up because of the cover. (ARM RAISED HIGH IN THE AIR) I’m such a cover snob. If the cover is trashy…I pass. My thoughts are if they care so little about the cover and how they present their words, how much care did they put into the story???

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Yes! I nearly overlooked Eidolon by Grace Draven! It’s only because some trusted friends bossed me up to read it that I did and man! What a read!

  11. Great Post! I love pretty covers but If I don’t like the blurb then I wouldn’t waste my time on it. I also agree with you on the covers trend. I’ve been seeing lots of snakes and Crows on the covers and they all look gorgeous without being creepy. I’m personally not fan of shirtless dudes in the adult romance books and I’m totally loving this new trend of illustrated covers.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Honestly instead of shirtless dudes I prefer seeing their face. Some have eyes so pretty!!!

  12. I love covers. I admit to adding books to my TBR and buying a few just because of the covers. I vary a lot on what I like. I’m not a huge fan of people on the covers, but I’ve seen some really nice ones over the past couple years. So that’s getting better for me. I tend to be attracted to bright colors, bold letters, and anything shiny. I’m not sure that they’re my favorites, but they pop. There are quite a few simple covers I like. I think I’m a bit all over the place. I also noticed the snakes, birds, and illustrated covers this year. Great post!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you! And I love popping colors but sometimes something minimalist will catch my eyes and I’ll be “oh that’s so gorgeous!”

  13. I like the move toward watercolor and illustrated covers. They’re eye-catching and do a good job of portraying mood.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Yes! And water color splashes too like the two latest books by Brittainy C Cherry!

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