Book Covers

by Jason Stotts

I’ve been thinking a lot about book covers recently, especially now that I have a draft of Eros and Ethos done.  I was talking with someone about what a good cover might look like and decided I’d try to figure out what I would want in a book cover.  So, I went to my bookshelf and emptied it into two piles: covers I liked and covers I didn’t.  I then had way too many covers in the like pile, so I thinned it out more.  I realized I still had way too many books, so I grouped what was left into three piles:

1. Good: I like the cover, but it has problems.

2. Better: I really like the cover.

3. Best: Covers that really do it for me

So, what follows is book covers I like and some reasons why.  Please forgive my lack of appropriate aesthetic vocabulary.  Oh, and if you click on the Amazon link and buy a book, you support my work.

Group 1: Good

The Philosophy of Erotic Love by Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins

– I like that the title is very easy to pick out.

– I like that the picture is appropriate to the subject

– What is with the hearts in the corners and the myriad fonts??



Perv: The Sexual Deviant in all of Us by Jesse Bering

– I like that the cover gives you a good idea what is going to be in it.

– I like how the title and author are very large and prominent.

– Something about the fakeness of the picture bothers me.



Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics by A.O. Rorty

– Really dislike the failure to use capital letters.

– Like how simply it is and how prominent the title is.



Heloise and Abelard by James Burge

 – Really like the colors

– Really like how the title is a medieval style to match the subject.

– I like the title being integrated into the picture.



Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

– Like how title is so prominent

– Like how subtitle is on cover

– Dislike interspersing of title and subtitle

– Like how image matches book content



Love for Sale by Nils Johan Ringdal

– I like how the picture matches the subject.

– Dislike how title and author have same color and are next to each other.



Essays on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead by Robert Mayhew

– Like that the title and editor is clear.

– Like that the picture is appropriate.


Group 2: Better

The Story of O by Pauline Reage

– I like how simple and direct it is: “This is a book. This is it’s title. This is who wrote it.  That’s all you need.”



Love in Abundance by Kathy Labriola

– I like the appropriateness of the picture and it being the whole cover

– I like the title being integrated into the picture

– Would prefer title and author larger



Bonk by Mary Roach

– A little busy for me

– Like the prominence of the title and author

– Why is the subtitle above the title?



On Nietzsche by Eric Steinhart

– Simple, clean, classic.

– Author should be larger.



Sperm Wars by Robin Baker

– Good cover for the content.

– I like the prominence of the author and title

– I like how the subtitle could be a book description and so heralds the title.



Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ by Friedrich Nietzsche

– Simple, direct, no-nonsense cover.



The Fragility of Goodness by Martha Nussbaum

– On my copy, the cover is a beautiful deep hunter green.

– I like the prominence of the title and author

– I dislike that peach color on green.



Sexual Desire by Roger Scruton

– I like how clean it is and direct.



Little Birds by Anais Nin

– Simple, but very effective.

– Tells you what it is clearly and directly.



Three Plays by Ayn Rand

– Very clean and direct.

– Like the simple picture and prominent title and author.



The Sleep of Reason by Martha Nussbaum and Juha Sihvola

– I like the color and the placement of the info on the cover.

– I like the appropriate picture.

– I seem to like the “thirds” style covers.



Introduction to a Philosophy of Music by Peter Kivy

– Clean, direct, simple.

– Dislike failure to capitalize.  Would want author more prominent (font or weight, not necessarily location).


Group 3: Best

The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

– Clean, direct, simple.

– Picture explains content.



Sex for One by Betty Dodson

– Really good use of picture and title.

– Really like the bottom bar and how it offsets the picture.



Sex Appeal by Paul Abramson

– Great integration of picture and text.



Orgasms for Two by Betty Dodson

– Good colors, good placement, good layout

– Picture describes content.



Not Passion’s Slave by Robert Solomon

– Really like cover overall

– Would take off subtitle badge and put title and subtitle above, with picture in center.



Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

– I don’t know why, but I really like this cover.



Aristotle by Werner Jaeger

– I really like the colors and the simplicity of it.

– It seems very distinguished.



The Selfish Path to Romance by Ed Locke and Ellen Kenner

– Really like the cover.

– Would remove green Ayn Rand bar, that’ll be clear when you read it and detracts from the clean cover.



Arousal by Michael Bader

– Really well done cover

– Perfect picture and integration of picture and text.



On the Genealogy of Morality by Friedrich Nietzsche

– This cover just seems so appropriate for this book.



A Treatise on Political Economy by Jean-Baptiste Say

– I love the deep blue of the cover and how direct it is: nothing superfluous.



About Love by Robert Solomon

– Really great placement of text and picture

– Really great picture.



Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

– This is one of my favorite covers.

– It’s so perfect for the book, I can’t even describe it.  Perhaps it’s the understated nature of it.



Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture by Marilyn Skinner

– This is another of my favorite covers.



Sexual Fluidity by Lisa Diamond

– Again, perfect integration of picture and text.



Marriage and Morals by Bertrand Russell

– I don’t know why I like this cover, but I really do.


  1. No Comments