Back Cover of a Book Examples: 17 Interesting Ideas to Inspire You

POSTED ON Sep 14, 2023

Shannon Clark

Written by Shannon Clark

Home > Blog > Book Design, Cover Design > Back Cover of a Book Examples: 17 Interesting Ideas to Inspire You

If there were ever an industry that fully embodied the phrase “first impressions matter,” it would be the book publishing industry. Even the fashion industry relaxes its standards from time to time (e.g., casual Fridays, work-from-home attire, “mom jeans”), but not books. If anything, the expectations are higher now than they’ve ever been. With a sea of books gushing from every online bookseller, it’s no surprise that over 4 million books were published in 2022. 

In this article, we’re focusing on the back cover of a book examples because, for books to stand out in a crowded market, they have to do more than expected.

Typically, people notice the front cover first, and if it does its job well, you’ll flip the book over and read the back cover. Back covers are an opportunity to continue what the front cover starts visually, even before a single word about the book is read.

A Look at Back Cover Design

The standard back cover design is in a block style with a mix and match of the following:

  • testimonial
  • blurb
  • author bio
  • publishing info

This format has been done for so long that many designers have jumped on the bandwagon creating more cookie-cutter back cover designs.

What if when a reader flips to the back cover, they’re greeted with something interesting and unexpected? Wouldn’t that make them even more curious about what’s inside?

Below we’ll take a look at some unique back cover of a book examples. The ones in this list were selected based on 3 criteria: 

  1. The back cover design connects seamlessly with the front cover.
  2. The design breaks a “rule” of standard back cover design and does something unexpected.
  3. There’s a unique element that makes the reader pause (e.g., typography, imagery, unique display of elements, unusual use of space).
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Between the Mountain and the Sky

back of a book cover example between the mountain and the sky

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Notes: The illustration of a mother clutching a child in her arms within a sea of multi-colored mountains and sky flows onto the back cover beautifully, providing the perfect backdrop for the book’s blurb.

To Kill A Mockingbird (reimagined)

Back cover of a book example featuring a revisited cover for To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Notes: This redesign of cover for the popular book To Kill a Mockingbird offers an interesting twist on previous covers. Although this famous story’s cover has gone through many incarnations, this one (created by graphic artist Marijana Gluhović ) offers a new way of looking at the story—through the eyes of the father (Atticus), who waits patiently, The twist is that in the story, Atticus is not a violent man, nor does he condone violence. The image of him holding a rifle and relaxing back in a chair surrounded by darkness is loaded with symbolism.

Girl Submerged

A back of the cover book examples of the book Girl Submerged by Avara Yaron

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Notes: The single image tilted downward on its axis from the front cover to the back brings to life the subtitle “Surging Tides” in an unexpected way. If the image was horizontal, the water would appear calm, but adjusting its angle downward gives the feeling of dangerous waters. This would not have been as effective if the image was only on the front cover.

The House Sitter

A back cover of a book examples of the book The House Sitter by Jeanie Green

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Notes: This cover merges colors, words, and imagery well. The designer uses the horse’s back as a guideline for formatting the text. The contrast between the dark color of the horse and the lighter background (sky) offers a nice dark-to-light contrast with the back cover fonts. 

Proof

A back cover of the book examples of the book Proof by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones

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Notes: There is a playfulness in the book’s design that extends from the front to the back cover. The vintage-style hand lettering and design flourishes are reminiscent of an old stenciled window or street sign.

We’re All Wonders

Back cover of a book examples featuring We're All Wonders

Publisher’s Website

Notes: Children’s books are an excellent example of using all of your cover’s real estate to evoke your book’s story. What makes this cover design stand out is its simplicity. The main character is on the front cover. A short message from him is on the back cover, and the theme of the book—”Choose Kind”—is flying by in the background.

Swipe

A back cover of the book examples of the book Swipe by Evan Angler

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Notes: The play on the word “swipe” makes for an interesting back cover design where the words are displayed in a landscape view instead of the standard portrait style. The reader has to turn the book sideways to read it which encourages engagement. The blurb is less of a summary and more of an invitation to find out what happens to the main character, Logan. 

Neighborliness

A back cover of the book examples of the book Neighborliness by David Docusen

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Notes: In this cover design for Neighborliness, horizontal lines, seemingly random blocks of text, and a subdued color palette create an interesting conversation piece. It’s almost uncomfortable to take in, not unlike strangers meeting for the first time and trying to break through the barriers of their differences. 

La Tercera Rebelión

Back cover of a book examples La Tecra Rebelion

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Notes:  Before reading the back blurb, it’s easy to get caught up in the action and vibrant imagery running from the front cover to the back. It is fast, violent, and unexpected. This cover begins telling the story before you open to the first chapter.

The Psalm 119 Experience

A back cover of a book example of the book The Psalm 119 Experience by John Kramp

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Notes: In the book’s title and later in the description you see the words  “journey,” “discover a secret,” and “unique experience.” The maze that continues from the front cover to the back, encapsulates these same feelings of not always knowing where you’re going but believing that there is something great at the end. 

Ganbatte

A back cover of a book examples of the book Ganbatte by Hector Garcia

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Notes: The illustration of the giant wave that appears to start at the back cover and flow to the front feels like forward movement, which is the subject of the book. The design combines illustration with real images (origami boat) to create a fun take on “a boat at sea..”

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea

A back cover of a book examples of the book The Templeton Twins by Ellis Weiner and illustrated by Jeremy Holmes

Publisher’s Website

Notes: This creative cover design uses the element of two to divide the characters (twins) and split up the elements of the book cover into two columns. The back cover complements the front by carrying over the chalk and grid theme on a blue background, which looks like a blueprint. This falls in line with the story about twins who are kidnapped from their inventor father. What will they do to escape? Maybe they’ll invent something.

Are You Kidding Me?

A back cover of a book examples of the book Are You Kidding Me by Ray Artigue

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Notes: This is a fun use of an inverted image from the front cover to add interest to the back. Instead of using all of the back cover spaces, the designer limits the words to the interior of the image, leaving the author bio for the head. Whimsical, curious, and unexpected. 

Warum Steppenbüffel 

A back cover of a book examples of the book Warum Steppenbuffel by Michael Sembach

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Notes: Book design trends may shift from country to country, but quality is universal. The quirky design for this German book of short stories uses bright primary colors, interesting characters (bull blowing a bubble on the back cover), and blocks to separate the different elements and unexpected typography.

Little Pianist

A back cover of a book examples of the book Little Pianist by Aria Altmann

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Notes: This children’s piano songbook is unique because it appeals to two age groups: children who will play the music and adults who will buy the book. The typography is light and playful for kids and the gentle framing of the song with musical notes on the back cover are reminiscent of song lyrics. However, the dark night sky, bold contrasting colors, and city landscape with hard lines look more grown up.

The Meal of Fortune

A back cover of a book examples of the book The Meal of Fortune by Phillip Brady

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Notes: Using the back cover image as a play on the word “Meal” from the front cover is ingenious. The design demonstrates how proper placement of elements, and the right selection of typography and images can make even the most minimal color selections (black, white, and blue) pop off of the page.

Blood in Shadow

A back cover of a book examples of the book Blood in Shadow by Laura Casey

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Notes: Without opening this book, you already have an idea about the story. The clever use of a gun firing off the page and the bullet splitting the back cover content draws your eyes back to the front cover. It is a clever use of imagery. The choice of black and white and only a hint of red in the blood splatter creates a bold focal point.  Who gets shot or killed? Where will the bullet go next? 

Conclusion

Whatever your budget for book cover design, researching what’s out there is a great way to get inspired. 

While it is true that a lot of books are elbowing for space, the good news is that creative authors who are willing to think outside the box can stand out in the crowded market.

When creating your book cover, view the entire cover as a single statement that can incite curiosity and keep potential readers guessing. A well-planned, unique book cover design can pull the reader into the story before the first page is read. 

Hopefully, these back cover of a book examples provided some inspiration to help you move in the right direction.

For self-publishers, deciding where and how you’ll spend your book budget can be a tough decision. A professional book designer is a solid investment. You can find them in all price ranges and skill sets. Start by taking a close look at their portfolio to see if you like their design style. Make sure you view the work they’ve done in your book’s genre and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. If you have a smaller budget, no worries. A quality pre-made book cover will work. Opt for those that offer customizations, so you can tweak the cover to make it your own.

Shannon Clark

Written by
Shannon Clark

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