The 25 Most Iconic Book Covers of All Time

From Book Riot:

When it comes to lists of the most iconic book covers of all time, I am not always impressed with what titles turn up again and again. And I’m ready to take the heat for leaving some of your faves off this list. Here’s my first question for others compiling these lists. Are the covers of books like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Catcher in the Rye really that iconic? Or are they stuck in your mind because you’ve seen them a million times thanks to their status as school curriculum standards? Let’s not peak in high school, folks.

Moreover, why do we seem to celebrate only the covers for books considered literary masterpieces of the 20th century, with a focus on midcentury design? Certainly there are iconic book covers from that era, and you’ll see some below. But there’s more to lionize in the history of design than this singular period and genre. I want to take a wider view.

I’m also not afraid to assert that some of the most iconic book covers have just come out. Because if we don’t believe that at least some of the best things ever to be made are being made right now, be they book covers, movies, music, or literature, then what is the point of making anything? I’d rather take a brave stance here and be proven wrong in the future than go with the same old choices everyone makes. Believe me, there are still plenty of safe choices on this list. So without any further ado, and in no particular order, the most iconic book covers of all time.

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How recognizable is this cover design by S. Neil Fujita, with illustration by John Kashiwabara? So iconic that you can buy any number of T-shirts that spoof its design. To name a few, you can acquire a shirt to claim you are: The Rodfather (with a fisherman casting instead of marionette strings), The Dogfather (bones as marionette sticks), The Gabagool (for the fans of cured meats), or The Godmother (it’s pink).

Talk about iconic! Milton Charles designed the paperback, whose silver foil-embossed cover has a die-cut hole representing the house’s attic. When the cover is opened, a full page painting called a stepback reveals the creepy family, illustrated by Gillian Hills. It’s lurid and voyeuristic in the best possible way. The rest of the Dollanganger series received a similarly iconic treatment. If you come across an old copy that has the cutout and the stepback — later printings don’t have the hole in the cover — you’re a lucky duck.

You know a book cover is iconic when it can be ported from book to movie franchise to theme park rides with ease. This cover by renowned designer Chip Kidd is a quintessential example of this.

Link to the rest at Book Riot

1 thought on “The 25 Most Iconic Book Covers of All Time”

  1. I’ve always loved the VC Andrews stepback covers. Rather, the concept of the stepback cover; I bought “The Night Circus” because the edition in question used a stepback cover. But that feature looks like a short-run printer option vs. a POD option, unfortunately.

    And Jennette McCurdy’s book really does nail the 90s era of book covers. I’m curious why they went with that era, rather than the one she’s actually known for (by other people, I’ve never heard of her or watched her show). Juxtaposed with the title, though, the cover is a real attention-getter.

    BookRiot is apparently allergic to Amazon? The links don’t go there at all, so you have to highlight and right-click to search out the books listed there. It turns out this Dorothy Eden has books published in Kindle, at reasonable prices, so it looks like I’ve found some new winter reads.

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