judging a book by its cover: part 1

This is my dream job: designing book covers. My fabulous cousin, who is just about the coolest person ever, Sarah did it for a while. And I really do love book covers. I love nice editions, I love when the cover works well with the text and I will not buy an edition of a book if it is a bad cover if I can help it. Prime example: Barnes and Noble classic editions of Jane Austen’s work. Let’s look at a book with multiple editions and then some of my “greatest hits” of favorite book covers ever in the next post.

Pride and Prejudice

All of these editions are currently available.

Pride and Prejudice: Nook Digital Cover

This is Barnes and Noble’s cover for the Nook digital edition. Weirdly, I think it is my favorite. I like that it doesn’t attempt to look “classic” with paisleys, swirls or gilded edges. It actually captures part of the story, and the essence of Jane. Her novels are about people. These faceless people could be any of the heroes and heroines, but their illustrated costumes are accurate, at least. And they are talking, an important aspect of all of Austen’s novels. The concept of the text boring out the image breaks down in the next few examples.

Barnes and Noble Classic Edition

This cover is ludicrous. The woman and the man look like a Victoria and Albert marriage portrait. And the sitting room looks like it was done in the French style. How unpatriotic and so very obviously post the Napoleonic Wars.

Norton Critical Edition

The only covered featured in this post that is neither abstract nor features people. Houses are an important symbol in Pride and Prejudice. I think I actually wrote about on either my AP Literature test, or one of my practice prompts. This is an appropriate non-people cover. But it isn’t that much fun to look at…

Barnes and Noble Classic Paperback

Why does this look like a Berthe Morisot painting?  Why do the people look like they are in a French/New Orleans apartment in 1887? Did you read Pride and Prejudice? This definitely word work more with The Awakening. Or any book written after 1860. And on Continental Europe.

Dover Edition

At least this one doesn’t annoy me. Doesn’t really do much either. But it is called thrift for a reason, it is nice and simple.

Pride and Prejudice Annotated

ooo Meta cover! Maybe I am biased because I like reading this edition the best. But I love how the image is annotated and obviously chronologically correct.


1 Comment

Filed under Art, British, Literature

One response to “judging a book by its cover: part 1

  1. Pride & Prejudice is my favorite Austen and Colin Firth in the BBC series my favorite Mr. Darcy! Interesting post 🙂 Like you, I love books with great covers. I have a leather bound edition of P&P but I liked the first one you’ve featured here, best. I think it has to do with it being blue – one of my favorite colors!

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