Although I sometimes like to imagine myself above the fray when the Internet rears up and cries out in a unified declaration of post-modern disgust (really, who am I kidding...), I take notice. So, when a Tumblr featuring Kindle Cover Disasters went viral, I dropped everything to see what all the fuss was about. But instead of retching, what I found lifted my spirits, opened my eyes, and may have sparked the beginnings of a dangerous new digital obsession.
Let me put it another way: there are moments you'll never forget in your life, and then there is your first time with ebook cover "disasters." Just one taste, and I guarantee you'll be hooked. Forget caffeine — you need to start mainlining ebook covers, and not in an icky, self-important, cooler-than-thou kind of way. What I'm suggesting is that you look to the ebook cover as an oasis of authenticity in an all-too-airbrushed world.
Of course, these ebook covers are well outside the realm of the ordinary, and as a lifelong hater of everything, I absolutely understand the urge to mock these curious creations. (Nothing on the inside has been evaluated — it all could be fantastic.) But, if you can resist the call of the taunt and instead take a moment to appreciate the creativity here, I think you'll be glad that you did. So, in response to all the naysayers and an ode to non-conformity in every form, I've put together a little Kindle cover celebration of my own: 10 ebook covers worth reconsidering for their unmitigated awesomeness:
The Genius of Genre
If you're going to go genre, why not go all the way. Of course, there will always be room for epic adventures of fantastical realism like Game of Thrones, but to my eye there's something just a little more alluring about spectacle with a touch of the B-movie to it. If you can bring me the timeless wonder of a trip through outer space and a talking rock, you've won me over already, and I know I cannot be the only one.
The Softcore Spectacle
There is perhaps no cover art more iconic than the romances featuring Fabio that practically wallpapered grocery store checkout aisles and drug store counters throughout the '90s. With amateur porn taking over the Internet and modern "romance" novels like Fifty Shades of Grey increasingly adopting depressingly subtle cover designs to attract a wider audience, there's something refreshing, reinvigorating, and altogether appealing about a return to the romance of the romance novel in all its outlandish glory. So bring on the gay knights, and more cover art with bound and brazen semi-nude blondes.
The Ode to Clip Art
Ever since those crazy, hazy middle school afternoons when I found myself alone in my room cutting out pictures of Backstreet Boys to hang on my wall, I've loved a good collage. There's something so intimate about the hand-cut mashup that even in digital form it doesn't lose its poignancy. I mean, is it really even possible to look at an image of a stripper hottie and a cheese puff pimp against the backdrop of the big city without smiling?
Melodrama Run Wild
With all the serious, staid, and dare I say stodgy book covers out there, sometimes the heart yearns for a little something more — or maybe a whole lot more in the form of a horse embracing his lady lover. Sure, it's bizarre — even, perhaps, in bad taste — but it delights the senses in a way yet another classic release never could. Like Gone with the Wind for a third dimension, this cover is just too good to be true.
A Whole New Take on Minimalism
My physical shelves are literally lined with cover art featuring heavy, minimalist text of the Helvetica persuasion, and it's getting a bit tired. Of course, when you pair a well-honed modern font with a cat on a ladder, everything changes. For bringing minimalist type-setting to new heights (as well as asking the tough questions), David Evan's Does God Ever Speak Through Cats deserves high praise.
The Gloriously Goulish
If there's anything B-movies do better than fantasy, surely it's horror, and with the cover art for Legacy of the Eldric, David Burrows has both bases covered. From the eerie glow of the burning sword to the freaky aura of the cowering figure's bare back, this cover just screams, "I'll see you in the basement for Dungeons and Dragons," and I mean that as a compliment of the highest order.
The Modern Masterpiece
Shawn O'Tool's The Yississ War is an ebook cover I can easily imagine on the shelves at my local bookshop. From the perfect shade of red to the artfully imperfect creature featured, this design is a hipster's dream come true, and if you don't start seeing this character in tattoo form at craft brew bars around the country, the internet simply isn't doing its job.
I learned to draw at an early age thanks to some classy instructional manuals dredged up from my parents collection of old school books of the '60s and '70s, so I feel a warm sense of familiarity when I take in How to Draw Multicultural Superheroes. Apart from being a big fan of the premise, the style itself strikes me as both warm and inviting, an accessible cover that draws the eye and the heart, welcoming anyone with a passion for diversity and drawing. If that's not a Kindle cover win, I don't know what is.
From the multicolored lightning that is not quite streaming from ghoulish hands, to the strange yellow background patterned with uneven rows of hieroglyphics, to the charming young lady walking straight towards the main figure's elbow, there is literally nothing not to love about the cover for Titanimus makes Jenny a Genie. I am already looking into getting this image enlarged, printed, and framed for my kitchen. After all, with all the perfect, factory-made Ikea art in the world, isn't it refreshing to have an altogether different kind of imagery to revel in from time to time?
The Historical Hit
This cover belongs on T-Shirts everywhere. From the old-timey picture to the almost certainly unintentional pun, this cover has the power to captivate you in an instant, and that's saying something. After all, how many books can make you laugh right off the bat with the promise of a history of transportation? That right there is the magic of the ebook cover, born of pure imagination and no one to veto.