Books are always subject to cover trends. One cover is successful, so lots of books like it take up that style. Sometimes, it’s easy to trace back where a trend started – many will remember after Twilight’s success, every book looked like it, including some repackaged classic novels. Some are harder to trace, though, especially now as we’re seeing more specific cover types.
Text Based Covers
One really common cover treatment lately is based in text. The title, author name and tagline dominate the cover, which is otherwise simple – a single color or two, maybe a subtle pattern or a small icon to go with it. It can be eye catching, but it doesn’t reveal too much about the inside of the book.
One type of cover that’s becoming more and more popular in YA is the illustrated cover. These tend to be fairly simple and sometimes overlap with text based covers or icon covers, but have some sort of illustration element. This one can often be traced back to Eleanor and Park, especially as it’s largely used for contemporary books.
A very common theme that’s been successful throughout the years is a basic cover with some sort of central image – sometimes it’s the text, sometimes it’s an illustration, and sometimes it’s not the only detail, but it’s always the one that sticks in your mind. This is a trend most commonly seen in fantasy, so it usually ties into the book in some way as well. We’ve seen this type of cover work for Twilight, for The Hunger Games, for Divergent, and for Red Queen. With such success, it’s no wonder we’ve seen this type of cover over and over again, and I wouldn’t expect it to leave any time soon.
When in doubt, a go-to cover style is cover models. Even as readers bemoaned seeing so many book covers that were just a pretty girl in a pretty dress, the cover model never really went away – it’s just changed. The biggest change has been getting people of color on the covers. Readers are thrilled to see covers that reflect their actual faces and families, so this is another trend that’s not doing anywhere any time soon – in fact, several well-loved series in recent years have switched from iconic imagery to cover models in paperback or in the middle of the series.
There are so many cover styles on the shelves now, and it’s certainly not limited to these. There are more abstract covers, like Blood, Water, Paint, and there are covers that are harder to pinpoint as a specific style, like The Bird and the Blade or Easy Prey. And of course, plenty of covers have overlapping styles, some of which you can see in this post. The ultimate idea is to appeal to the wide variety of readers out there, however possible.
One big, consistent thing, however, is the move away from darker covers. We’ve referenced Twilight several times, but when it came out and was so successful, darker covers became the normal. Most covers were either black or white, with some pop of color. But across all the different cover types on recent releases, there’s a move towards color. There are still darker covers out there, but for the most part, YA book covers have become brighter and more colorful, filling our shelves with rainbows.
What kind of covers do you prefer? Have you noticed any cover trends? Answer our poll and tweet us @piquebeyond!