What were the top book covers of 2009?

cover-designsNever judge a book by its cover. Unless, of course, you’re on a competition jury selecting the year’s best book covers and book designs. Then, by all means, judge away. That’s what the AIGA, a national design organization, did when it winnowed down 800 submissions to name the Top 50 covers of 2009.

The winning entries run the gamut from fiction to nonfiction, coffee-table books to graphic novels, minimalism to kitchen-sink aesthetic. My favorites of the bunch are probably The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, which shows a svelte, modern silhouette of the poet hiding beneath a hoop skirt, and Vintage’s new Vladimir Nabokov paperbacks that re-imagine his novels as display cases, a cute nod to the author’s hobby of lepidoptery. But honestly, nearly all of the covers picked by the AIGA are pretty fantastic, so take some time to browse them and tell us your favorites. Any great covers from 2009 not on the list that you think should be?

Comments (28 total) Add your comment
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  • rebecca

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

  • Jelana

    Ooh, Rebecca, good call. Was Death With Interruptions in ’09? I liked the cover on the paperback.

  • sean markle

    the reissue of all the old bond novels that penguin did

    • VanityFeral

      Absolutely. They are all just out of this world.

  • John

    “The Song is You” by Arthur Phillips

  • Scott

    Half of those covers are kind of boring. Then again, that minimalist junk never did it for me. It reminds of those pieces of “art” that are just a red dot on a white canvas. Not classy, just lame. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” as well as “Under the Dome” (Stephen King) are at least two covers that should be on a list of best covers of 2009. I’m sure there are many more with actual images on them and not just words.

    • Peter

      That’s the Japanese flag, you insensitive clod!

      • Scott

        Haha, okay, no, not the Japanese flag. Plus, that’s placed neatly in the middle and not called “abstract art” — we’ll go with the other standby: BLACK TRIANGLE ON WHITE CANVAS CORNER.

    • Lisa Simpson

      These are chosen by designers rather than artists or readers, who would bring a different sensibility to what makes an effective book cover.

  • apple

    This panel must consist of a bunch of damn hipster idiots. Really all the “winners” look the same, pretentious as hell. I wouldn’t read any of these books based on the covers.

    • Manx

      haha yeah they usually are

  • Milly

    I know that “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” came out earlier than 2009, but I still think it’s one of the most catching covers out in stores.

    And contrary to some of the commenters above, I loved the new look for Vladimir Nabokov’s books – all together they’re very stunning.

    • Celia

      I think all the Stieg Larsson covers pretty awesome. All three of them are so eye-catching and beautiful.

  • tbeshear

    Too many of them look like design class exercises. Hey, I can use typography, clip art and scissors (or Photoshop, these days). I’m not sure a single one makes use of a really striking photo. For example, the cover to William Vollmann’s Imperial should really be on the list.

  • Jolacla

    That list of book covers is horrible. Many of them were repeated several times….you had to enlarge each thumbnail to really see it….some of them were not book covers but pictures inside the book….and some of them were pictures of the book at an angle…. Why couldnt they just put a dang list of the 50 book covers on there????????

    • Jennifer

      Jolacla – the competition is not just for covers, it’s also for book design. That’s why.

  • Lisa Simpson

    A.S. Byatt’s “The Children’s Book” had an absolutely gorgeous jacket.

  • carol

    Thanks for the book love. i enjoyed seeing these covers.

  • Brenda Barrett

    Isn’t it lepidopterology?

    • Richard

      It’s either.

  • Barb

    I would say –
    The CreateSpace edition of ‘Persuasion’
    ‘Varney the Vampire’
    ‘Delilah’

  • katiebabs

    So blah. They all look like books you would find in a museum book store.

  • Sky

    LOL…. search ” Ec4bag ” on google to get the same designer bags with Karolina. ” Ec4bag ” is just for fashion ladies, wow! Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi, Coach, Miu Miu, Dior, Hermes, Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana

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