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The Worst Book Cover Ever!

March 18, 2013
This is not the WORST BOOK COVER EVER.  It's the cover that led me to start thinking about book covers.

This is not the WORST BOOK COVER EVER. It’s the cover that led me to start thinking about book covers.

Since I’m not very observant sometimes, I might not be qualified to judge the worst book cover ever.  I don’t notice when my wife has changed her hair.  I don’t notice that I’ve worn the same shirt three days in a row (it’s been washed… we do a lot of laundry).  I don’t notice that I’m wearing mismatched socks.  And now I realize that I don’t look at book covers. 

When I began reading Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham a few days ago, all I noticed was the red cover.  Then as I was reading, I noticed the blot on the cover made a picture.  Oh, I thought, the cover means something! Maybe I should have noticed this before I started reading. 

This didn’t just happen with Talking to the Dead.  When I read The Power of Habit: (with a really long subtitle) by Charles Duhigg, all I noticed was yellow (maybe my new habit should be to pay more attention to book covers… or what my wife’s hair looks like).  When I read The Bookseller by Mark Pryor, all I noticed was that there weren’t any books on the cover.  I’ve read several other books over the last few weeks, and I can’t tell you what their covers look like. 

If a book cover has a hot chick with cleavage on it, I’ll notice that right away. I might even stare at it (or glance briefly before I’m caught), but I won’t read that book.  I can’t be seen reading a book with a hot chick with cleavage on the cover.  It’ll make me look like a pervert, and I can’t have people think that I’m a pervert.  That’s bad for my reputation. 

There are several variations of the hot chick with cleavage book cover.  There’s the hot chick with blood on her.  There’s the hot chick with vampire teeth.  There’s the hot chick holding a big gun (or other kind of weapon).  The best is the bloody hot chick with vampire teeth holding a big gun.  If I see a hot chick with a hot guy, then I know the book is a romance, and I’m not interested. 

Yeah, I don’t read books that have hot chicks with cleavage on the covers, but I’m an expert on them.

The publishing industry thinks book covers are important.  Every guide to self-publishing says to spend some money to have a professional graphics designer put together a book cover (or photograph/paint a hot chick with cleavage), but I don’t know.  I don’t look at book covers until I’m halfway through the book.  If everybody else is like me, then publishers are wasting their time and money (but I don’t think everybody is like me). 

I think this happened when I started reading digital books.  The pictures are so small on my phone (and other electronic devices) that it’s easy to ignore them.  But this also extends to my book store and library selections now.  Maybe I’m the exception. 

I know that my reading habits are not normal.  I quit books at the first moment I lose interest.  I’ll tell other readers that books suck and feel no need to say anything else.  I don’t read any more than three books from any author anymore.  And now I know that I ignore book covers. 

Lke I said earlier, maybe I’m not the most qualified person to judge a bad book cover, but I think I’ve found the worst. 

And now without further ranting, I present what I think is the WORST BOOK COVER EVER!

Обкладинка книги "Над прірвою у житі"

A hot chick with cleavage might have helped. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

14 Comments
  1. That’s a very bloody cover. Though if you squint really hard, I think you can make out a hot chick with cleavage. Or is it just me?

    • It depends on which character the figure is supposed to be and your definition of “hot chick with cleavage.” But yeah, the cover has a lot of red on it. That’s all I noticed for a while. The Catcher in the Rye cover has a lot of… I don’t even know what color that is.

      • I was actually referring to Saliger’s cover (I read that book off my computer screen, so I didn’t even see its cover until now). To me, it’s a shade of red, though I can’t name the exact one.

  2. I have no opinions on book covers, except I wish they would tell me straight off if the book sucks or not. I’m just here to chastise you for not paying attention to your wife’s hair!

    • I’ve seen book covers that say the book is great, but I’ve never seen one that says it sucks (that would be an interesting sales strategy). As for my wife’s hair, I’ve learned that when she tells me she’s going out to get her hair done, that it’s when she gets back that I need to pay attention to her hair. I think that’s how it works.

      • Reminds me of Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book. On wife’s hair – Exactly and failure to comply is deserving of a night on the couch or a rolling of the eyes, depending on her mood.

  3. It’s definitely not a very inspiring cover. Now I’m on a mission to find a worse one. 🙂

  4. I suppose when a book’s as eminent as The Catcher in the Rye it doesn’t need a fancy cover… Much like a turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwich doesn’t need fancy packaging, it’s perfect as it is. Nice food-related comparison there.

    • I think that was the cover of my copy decades ago when I read it, so the lack of creativity (or effort or something like that) didn’t stop me from reading the book. Several of my friends told me how great the book was, so I read it and probably didn’t even notice the cover.

  5. Everyone knows that cover, so while it may be desperately lacking in creativity, it obviously did its job.

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