Bookish Cover Similarities

The above photo is a sneak preview of my mini haul I’ll be posting as soon as I get my other books I ordered online in the mail.

But this post came about when I was watching a video & I saw the cover for Men Explain Things to Me and Other Essays by Rebecca Solnit. I realized the cover looks kind of similar to Dog Stars by Peter Heller. I started thinking that there’s actually a lot of covers that I’ve mixed up before because they look so alike.

So after a quick google search, turns out I’m not the first person to think of this… So I’ll add some other sites down below that have their own examples. But my contributions are less lookalikes, and more books (based off of some aspect of their cover) that my brain tends to associate with each other. The content of the books do not relate, it’s strictly judging the book by its cover. So here we go, (click on any of the books to be directed to their Goodreads)

I noticed dogstars looks like menexplain

So I wondered about others & thought of how weshouldhangout looks like  bend of the world  which also kind of reminds me of lightbulb which was written by John Green who also wrote an abundance which always made me think of love affairs which also reminds me of super sad true love story which is similar to this book I read for class, whistlingvivaldi.

See where I’m going with these? It’s like a chain reaction.

I also just got this beauty, suddenlight which reminded me of  echo and a little bit of shock of the fall whose other edition, shock of the fall2 reminds me of the bottom perspective of welcoemtobraggsville which reminded me of monstersoftempleton

But if we go into all the books with tree covers we’ll be here all day. Plus isn’t that a bit ironic? All those print books with trees on them?

Also, McNally Jackson pointed this out on their Instagram. There seems to be a neon sign trend… neon1 neon2 neon3 neon4

They used the examples The Musical Brain by Cesar Aira (translated by Chris Andrews), The Extreme Centre: A Warning by Tariq Ali, & a certain edition of Women by Bukowski.

So what does this mean? Probably nothing. The New Yorker and The Atlantic both have articles on how or why covers nowadays seem to all look pretty similar. But none of their information or arguments really made me feel like the art of the book cover is going to “die” or that they’re all so similar that we don’t believe one stands out over another. Bright Lights, Big Citys cover shows us that certain trends have at least some root in the recent past at least. Both of the above sources imply a bit of hate on the wonders of photoshop & pretty fonts, which as a book buyer, I really love. That’s not to say I don’t also love illustrations & other less common art forms for a cover. I think it’s all about whether it’s done well or done shitty, not necessarily the media used.

& yes, I think covers are important. We definitely judge books by their covers. If you’re a new or self published author & you have a cover that looks like your book is still an ARC or that you just slapped on a flickr image with some MicrosoftWord font, I’m probably going to judge the quality of your writing in association with that cover. It’s one of the reasons book designers exist.

I also tend to really hate covers that look like this. I can’t fully explain why. I think I just associate it with bad, chick (I hate that word, but it gets my point across), cliche, YA. In fact, I think it’s true that a lot of YA covers tend to look alike based on images, while adult covers tend to look alike based on font.

My cover preferences are pretty simple. I like matte books (hmm a nice soft, velvet lamination). I like blue books. I like books with deckled edges. I like books with a square spine. I like books that don’t have a person’s photo on their cover, unless that person is a celebrity and/or the book is a biography. But any of these tastes can be thrown out the window if the book is just designed damn well and appealing. Plus book buyers tend to like those extras like foiled pages, embossing, sprayed edges, or John Green’s favorite, some nice & pretty head & tail bands. But I also love ebooks, so just call me confused.

(Also if any book production / design people out there have some recommendations of books about those topics, please comment!)

Feel free to post about your own similarities in covers you’ve noticed and I’ll link it here. Also check out the Goodreads thread for something similar to this post.

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