Best book covers of all time

A fascinating infographic from
A fascinating infographic, only a small part of which corresponds to my best covers. From

Books are everywhere. They have been used for millenia. Billions have been read. It’s no easy market. They have to catch the eye of potential readers in seconds. Some work, some don’t. I’ve chosen 15 books that I feel have the best covers around. Yesterday and on Saturday I gave books at 15-6 on my list, now you can discover my top 5. You may agree or disagree, or have other nominees-please comment or contact me. Otherwise, please share! 

The following list does not reflect or establish my views on the contents on the book, nor indeed guarantee that I have read it. The image captions state the publisher and where I got the image from. In reverse order, my favourite covers are:


Black Swan  From Goodreads
Black Swan
From Goodreads

The dance with death. A brilliant cover, the worn effect contributes really well to the cover. The title, The Book Thief, is in a handwritten font, but in a blood red that really suits the book. The image of death dancing is so bizarre, but is intriguing, and, dare I say it, captivatingly beautiful, it is quite literally a side to death that we have never seen.


Penguin From Goodreads
From Goodreads

Good old dystopian George Orwell. Animal Farm is one of his best. A cover to match the quality of writing and plot, it’s a fantastic comment on equality and fairness, and government and general. Keeping with the mainly symmetrical theme many book covers seem to prefer, and the barbed wire around the edge gives hints of the brutal plot contained inside. The retro style fits it very well, and it is one of the best covers.


Bloomsbury From Goodreads
From Goodreads

You can’t go wrong with a bit of Harry Potter. I knew that one of the covers would be in my top 15, and (somewhat surprisingly), it was The Goblet of Fire. A cracking read, and a cracking cover. Plenty of action, a fire breathing dragon, nice contrasting colours at the top-but the fire breathing dragon is what makes it so good for me, it’s surprisingly realistic and a brilliant capture of a scene, which truly does paint 1000 words.


Faber and Faber From
Faber and Faber

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot with illustrations by Nicolas Bentley has a beautiful cover. My edition is, I think, from the 1940s, hardcover, and missing the dustcover, as below, and it was gifted to me by my grandmother. The only image is that of two cats dancing. It’s so surreal, but surprisingly beautiful and memorable-this is a fantastic illustrated book of cat poems with a fantastic cover to match.


Folio From

Number 1. Drumroll if you please. I received this edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four as a gift, and it is incredible. The label on the spine is the most eye catching I’ve ever seen, those four numbers and four words are just yelling oppression and repression. I’d not heard of Folio before this, but they’ve done a cracking job with this. And the front cover. Big Brother truly is watching you. When you read it, Big Brother is watching you. Staring out from his home. His kingdom. His likeness has been caught perfectly I feel. Orwell describes him as “a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features”, the cover has caught all of those aspects and made him seem powerful, definitely ruggedly handsome, and in control. Again, so simple, but the best book cover I’ve ever seen.


George Orwell clearly winning in my book(!), two books in the top five. The winning publishers were Black Swan (The Book Thief and The Disappearing Spoon) and Harper Collins (The Lord of the Rings and The Cat in the Hat).

 “Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.”

Agree? Disagree?

Did you agree with my top 15? What would you have included? Please leave a comment or contact me, I would be interested to discuss it. Otherwise, please share with the buttons below and rate.

7 thoughts on “Best book covers of all time

  1. I cannot stand anything by Orwell personally. He is undeniably talented…but his views are sometimes beyond me are difficult for me personally to relate to enough to stay focused in what he has to say.


    1. Not even book covers? I’ve only just started 1984 and have enjoyed it so far, and enjoyed Animal Farm, but obviously it’s a personal thing which books one enjoys. Thanks for the feedback! TheBookBlogger2014


  2. If I had to chose of these five, I’d choose The Book Thief (though I really didn’t like the book itself), of the fifteen you’ve listed, I’d choose The Great Gatsby. To tell you the truth though, I hardly ever look at the cover of a book because it influences how I read it… and not always in a good way. I’m a book collector’s nightmare because I rip dust jackets off and throw them away. I prefer a plan cover with just the title and author.

    I know, I’m weird. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In fairness, some covers are really beautiful in their own right, just hidden under a dustcover, which sometimes is worse. I know what you mean about judging a book based on its cover, I enjoy that moment when you get to a scene and can go ‘ah, that’s from the cover’. I dislike it generally when characters are shown on the cover, as I read the book and get a completely different image of what I think they would look like (Harry Potter…) Thanks for the comment!


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