Large bookstores are becoming more and more of an endangered species these days with the shift from analog to digital in the book medium. To me, this evolution is a bittersweet one. When I lived in larger cities like St.Louis and Oklahoma City it was not uncommon to take a Sunday trip to the local Barnes & Noble or Borders store. I rarely had any particular item of interest in mind when I’d walk through the front doors. I would meander aimlessly through the new release section, just glancing from cover to cover, taking in the design and subconsciously forming a mental picture (regardless of accuracy) of the story the books pages would tell. Some covers used humor, some used strong emotional imagery, and some relied exclusively on a text treatment to lure potential readers to pick the book up and read the back cover or possibly thumb through a few pages.
This process of meandering through a bookstore, waiting for the right cover to somehow speak to you is one of the more unfortunate losses in the shift from the analog medium to digital medium. Scanning the listing pages of Amazon just doesn’t reproduce this same sense of adventure and discovery. I don’t think books will ever totally go the way of the dinosaur, but it’s obvious that already the paradigm is shifting. To honor that sense of adventure and discovery of wandering through a large bookstore I’d like to share with you a post from the site The Casual Optimist. They’ve put together a compilation called 50 Memorable Covers from the last four years. You’ll find a great mix of compelling covers. Take a look and let me know via the comments below which covers might catch your eye from across a bookstore, enticing you to take a closer look.