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Go Ahead, Judge: The Best Book Covers of 2009

Bcoy-judge_300x120 As anyone in the business of selling books knows, sometimes we really do judge books by their covers. (I know I've bought books because of their covers, and not bought others for the same reason.) We've blogged casually but enthusiastically about our favorite book covers in previous years (and it's a constant topic of conversation on our book team here and just about anywhere book people get together, as far as I can tell), but this year, as they say in the reality shows, we've taken it to the next level. Thanks to our Magazines team, which built a sleek and fun voting widget to help them choose the best magazine covers of the year (here's their landing page--the widget itself lives no more now that the voting is over), we were able to do the same to open up customer voting for the best book covers of 2009. And so we narrowed down our favorite covers of the year to 60 nominees in ten categories, and now the rest is up to you.

You can find a link to the best covers voting on our Best Books of 2009 page, but if you're in a hurry, you can go straight to the voting page. The first round of voting, in which you choose your favorite in each of the ten categories, goes through December 7, and then they'll be a second round through December 17 to choose the Best Cover of 2009 from the 10 category champs.

We'll be posting plenty more about covers here over the next few weeks (including interviews with designers and more), but let's just start off with our nominees. You can see larger versions of all these images on our voting page or on this page, but here's a quick thumbnail gallery of each category after the jump. I know which ones I love the best (here are a few), but I'm looking forward to seeing what the top choices will turn out to be from this lovely array. And if there are favorites of yours that have been left off the ballot (some of my personal favorites didn't make the cut either), please shout them out in the comments, and we can feature some of them on Omni later. (We're not the only ones doing this, by the way: I know that the excellent Book Design Review is going to hold their annual favorite covers poll, with a little twist this year, by asking three booksellers to make their own selections.)

This one of the most fun things we've put together on the site recently, and we hope you'll enjoy it too.



Childrens & Teens:

Arts & Comics:

Cooking, Food & Wine:

Famous Faces:

One of a Kind Covers:

Classics Reimagined:


From a Series:



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For nonfiction, COLUMBINE by Dave Cullen. It is stark and haunting. It won many book design awards.

I would nominate Anne Rice's "Angel Time" for fiction. Beautifully made book, from typeface to binding to edging to cover. A piece of art.

How could you have a catagory for famous faces and not list "The Beckham Experiment: How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America by Grant Wahl (Hardcover - Jul 14, 2009)"?

I'll tell you one I hate!

"Uranium" by Zoellner.

Not too bad a book but the cover photo of a rock (uranium ore one presumes) has a very narrow plane of focus. Consequently, most of the rock is out of focus.

Violette L. Reid, Editor and Cheif

You should learn how to spell before you become "Editor and CHEIF." (Editor in Chief???)

Book covers are such a funny thing. I didn't like the nominees but different things appeal to different readers. Violette L. Reid, author of "The First Chronicle of Zayashariya: Out of Night" and "Violette Ardor: A Volume of Poetry."

In non-fiction you left out BAD TO THE BONE: Memoir Of A Rebel Doggie Blogger by Bo Hoefinger. What's more captivating than a royal blue cover with a cute dog? And doesn't the title leave you wanting to find out exactly what a rebel doggie blogger is?

Did I mention it's also the first memoir written by a dog ever published in non-fiction? Not bad for a writer in a fur suit.

I'm giving a bark out to BAD TO THE BONE.

What about Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption" for non-fiction, or Glenn Beck's "Arguing With Idiots" for Famous Faces? Regardless of your thoughts on the authors or the subject matter, as book covers go, they beat most of what was nominated.

I have to say, those Fiction covers are especially bland and mediocre.

What gives? I think I can pull a handful of random new releases from the bookstore and come up with better nominees....

Well, what can I say? Too late to change all the graphics to read Most Mediocre Covers of 2009. I guess blandness is in the eye of the beholder. But I'm serious about what I said in the post: point to other ones you like better and we'll feature them here too.

Can I nominate "Going Rogue?" Beats ’em all, for my money.

I have to agree with Marilee... is this the best you can do? I could pull ten more interesting book covers from 2009 off my personal library shelf and I don't even read that much. Please not to be sucking up to specific publishers next time and try to find the real books for people to choose from.

Sad to say these nominees really disappointed me. These were supposed to be visually interesting and captivating right? In most categories I thought the nominees were really bland, keep looking!

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