The Best Book Covers of 2011

All year long I’m around books.  At home, in the office, in warehouses, in bookstores, in libraries and book tradeshows, I see them everywhere.  It’s difficult for me to walk by them without stopping and picking one up.  Why?  The cover.

A cleverly designed book cover can propel a book’s sales.  Each of us has a different visual perspective, but you know a great visual design when you see it.  Some covers simply stop you in your tracks and almost make you pick up the book.  Other covers just fall flat, dooming the book before it even has a chance.  And a little known fact:  authors generally have little to no say in the cover design.

Every year, I collect my favorite covers of the year.  I read the best cover lists to see which covers made it.  This year, I decided to share my list of the best book covers for 2011. (See also 2012 winners).


1Q84 by Haruki Murakami; Design by Chip Kidd; Published by Knopf 

The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson; Design by Smart Guys design; Published by Revell 

Crossroads by Mary Ting; Published by World Castle Publishing 

Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin; Design by Jody Waldrup; Published by Center Street  

Games to Play After Dark by Seth Gardner Borden; Design by Ralph Fowler; Published by Vintage  

Hubble: Imaging Space and Time by David Devorkin and Robert Smith; Design by Sam Serebin; Published by National Geographic 

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley; Design by Diane Hobbing; Published by Delacorte Press 

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta; Design by Rob Grom; Published by St. Martin’s Press (see my interview with Tom Perrotta)

Lightning Rods by Helen Dewitt; Design by Steve Attardo; Published by New Directions 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs; Design by Doogie Horner; Published by Quirk Books  

Mozart’s Last Aria by Matt Rees; Design by Betty Lew; Published by Harper Perennial  

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; Design by John Fontana; Published by Doubleday  (see my interview with Erin Morgenstern)

Odd Bits by Jennifer McLagan and Leigh Beisch; Design by Betsy Stromberg; Published by Ten Speed Press 

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson; Design by Meighan Cavanaugh; Published by Riverhead 

The Selected Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and Sheila Fisher; Design by Chris Welch; Published by W.W. Norton and Company 

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt; Design by Dan Stiles; Published by Ecco 

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø; Design by Peter Mendelsund; Published by Knopf 

 Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson; Design by Joy O’Meara; Published by Simon & Schuster

 Then Again by Diane Keaton; Design by Emily Harwood Blass; Published by Random House 

The Wild Life of Our Bodies by Rob Dunn; Design by Fritz Metsch; Published by HarperCollins 

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