You Looking at Me? It’s the Attack of the #Facecover

otherboleynUsed to be book cover imagery was dominated by faceless women: First, cover girls lost their heads, and then they showed some spine. In recent years, publishers have done an about-face, putting mugs front and center. An increasing number of book covers depict the face in extreme, vivid closeup—so close up, at times, that only an eye or a mouth can make it in. Many of them are staring dead into the camera, a look so intimate it almost confronts the reader, daring her to come closer. Most of these faces are white and female, and many of them wear a neutral makeup palette with a kicky lip. Always, they are obscured by—some might say trapped behind—the title lettering.

Perhaps this trend is a response to the popularity of #bookface or Humans of New York. Perhaps it’s a low-fi answer to those creepy jetBlue holograms that seem to make eye contact, or an attempt to make up for years of cover girl decapitation. Whatever the reason, we need to face the truth: we’re living in a new era of book cover design. Call it the age of the #facecover.

Once you notice one, you start seeing them everywhere. Do you have more examples? Tweet them to us: @booklistreader.




About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist. She worked in bookstores for twelve years, reviews books for The Boston Globe, and writes about books, culture, and politics for several other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Genie.

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