In spite of the common saying "don't judge a book by its cover," studies show that actual books are overwhelmingly judged on the appearances of their covers. While studies have been conducted on what style or form of cover art is most attractive, most interesting, or most likely to sell, the current research conducts a visual analysis of the conventions contained in the covers of the best selling fiction books in the US, using the methods and ideas found in the theories of semiotics and visual culture, to offer a new perspective on the visual imagery of the covers. This study finds that the predominant trend among successful book covers is to forgo narrative in favor of recreating "experiences" tied to the content.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Book covers--Evaluation; Best sellers; Fiction

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Communication (CLA)


Patrick Scanlon

Advisor/Committee Member

Jonathan Schroeder

Advisor/Committee Member

Juilee Decker


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NC973 .G35 2015


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes