Don't judge a book by its cover, they say. But what if it looks so bad, even a five-year-old with the oldest version of MS Paint could have done a better job?

There's a subreddit, called r/TerribleBookCovers, and its members are—you guessed it—collecting the worst book covers that have ever been published. Whether it's an insulting title or a hideous drawing, they have it all. Continue scrolling and check out some of the most popular pictures within the online community.

#1

Everything About This Is Terrible

Everything About This Is Terrible

henrikst1 Report

juice
Community Member
5 months ago

i have no words

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In order to understand what is a bad book cover, we can start by figuring out what is a good one instead. Renowned book designer Chip Kidd (who created the cover for Jurassic Park and many others), said that book design is all about giving form to content but also appreciating the balance between the two.

In his Ted talk, Kidd explained that on his first day of graphic design class in school, the teacher drew a picture of an apple, then wrote the word Apple and said: "Listen up. You either say this," pointing to the word apple, "or you can show this," pointing to the picture of the apple.

"But you don't do this," he said, pointing to a picture of an apple with the word Apple beneath it. "Because this is treating your audience like a moron. And they deserve better."

So a book cover can show or tell, but can't do both.

#2

It’s Worth A Look!

It’s Worth A Look!

reginaldVince Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

who said to themselves 'somebody really needs to write this book'????

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#3

Wtf?

Wtf?

point5_ Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
5 months ago

Well, why not?

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Best-selling author Jeff Goins thinks covers should also know and respect the audience of the book.

"Books are not created in a vacuum. They are not merely a manifestation of the author's creativity. The content needs a form, and the form will influence the way the content is consumed," Goins wrote. "All art has an audience, and books are no different. Good book design, then, is not just an expression of the story or idea behind a book. It is a piece of the marketing. As such, it needs to matter to the people it was intended for."

#4

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

Chtorrr Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

I always thought Gollum was kind of cute...NOT THIS ONE

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#5

Do Your Kids Suffer From Nightmares? No, Not Yet? Well This Should Help A Lot

Do Your Kids Suffer From Nightmares? No, Not Yet? Well This Should Help A Lot

CrazyBooyy Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

lol the double chin why does that scare me so bad

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#6

My Mom Used To Read This One To Me

My Mom Used To Read This One To Me

KillinCat Report

Stephanie Keith
Community Member
5 months ago

Wait what!?!?!?!?

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Coming back to Chip Kidd, he said that a book designer has a responsibility to three groups of people: the reader, the publisher, and the author. So the ultimate goal of a good book design is to get people to respond. For the reader, you want people to say, "Wow! I need to read that." For the publisher, you want them to say, "This is something we can print." And for the author, you want them to say, "Yes! This expresses my idea better than I could!"

So I guess you could say that a terrible book design is boring, unmarketable, and superficial.

#7

Found This In A Doctors Office A Few Years Ago. I Think About This Way Too Much

Found This In A Doctors Office A Few Years Ago. I Think About This Way Too Much

UndeniablyCake Report

Isaac7lego
Community Member
5 months ago

What..........The.............F***!!!!! If I saw this in my doctors office I would be seriously weirded out!!!!

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#8

Not Sure If This Has Been Posted Before, But...

Not Sure If This Has Been Posted Before, But...

18021982 Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

this must be a joke

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#9

Prehistoric Passion From Mars

Prehistoric Passion From Mars

telperion87 Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

the alien tho...

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#10

The Very Hungry Cthulupillar

The Very Hungry Cthulupillar

LuciferJonez Report

Real_Katsuki_Bakugou
Community Member
5 months ago

Low-key I would read this, it looks very interesting lol

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#11

Kissing The Coronavirus (Coronavirus Erotica?!)

Kissing The Coronavirus (Coronavirus Erotica?!)

bookdepository1 Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

is it just me or does the lady look like sandra bullock?

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#12

How Ironic

How Ironic

Redwards426 Report

Amy Pattie
Community Member
5 months ago

This must be a troll cover

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#13

I’m Just Waiting For The Film Adaptation

I’m Just Waiting For The Film Adaptation

tabitha21 Report

Just a Snowball
Community Member
5 months ago

what-

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#14

My Librarian Wife Always Has Interesting Finds

My Librarian Wife Always Has Interesting Finds

johnc98 Report

Salam Payne
Community Member
5 months ago

As in Bruce Wayne???

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#15

When Your Mom Tells You To Get A Real Job, But You Double Down Trying To Prove You Can Start That Cult You Always Said You Would...

When Your Mom Tells You To Get A Real Job, But You Double Down Trying To Prove You Can Start That Cult You Always Said You Would...

savage0ne1 Report

Dash Blue
Community Member
5 months ago

I was not interested, but then I saw, Foreward by Maxine Sanders. Hell. I’m in!

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#16

Woof? I Feel So Empty

Woof? I Feel So Empty

LovelyWetBrat Report

Troux
Community Member
5 months ago

This is another photoshop. The word is Tonsils. https://www.amazon.com/Good-bye-Tonsils-Whitman-Tell-Tale/dp/B0007FB2L4

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#17

Call Him Xi Dada

Call Him Xi Dada

MVpizzaprincess Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

no. just no.

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#18

Browsing Through Books At A Thrift Store, Um...

Browsing Through Books At A Thrift Store, Um...

sophiaross Report

I'm a Gryffindor
Community Member
5 months ago

Hermione, I choose you!

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#19

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover, Even If It Is A Collage Of Jpegs

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover, Even If It Is A Collage Of Jpegs

SpahsgonnaSpah Report

Princess Toadstool
Community Member
5 months ago

I thought the hair was drawn in ms paint

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#20

Even The Price Is Questionable

Even The Price Is Questionable

juliamich04 Report

Ian Milne
Community Member
5 months ago

Rihanna wrote the accompanying song to this book - we found love in a hopeless place

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#21

I Think I've Found It! The Most Glorious Photoshop Of All Time!

I Think I've Found It! The Most Glorious Photoshop Of All Time!

TituCusiYupanqui Report

Just a Snowball
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

my nightmares just had nightmares

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#22

Terrible Everything

Terrible Everything

NormalCharmander Report

Borka Szabó
Community Member
5 months ago

i've read "pretty stoned" first

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#23

How To Talk With Your Dog About Homosexuality And Communism

How To Talk With Your Dog About Homosexuality And Communism

reddit.com Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

Translation: how to talk with your puppy about homosexuality and communism (portuguese)

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#24

That Lighthouse Imagery...

That Lighthouse Imagery...

Amybo82 Report

Pusfarm
Community Member
5 months ago

If I ever wanted to shine a light on constipation, a lighthouse would not be the first thing to come to mind.

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#25

Empress Theresa - Final Cover

Empress Theresa - Final Cover

Wheredoesthetoastgo2 Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

this one is kind of a mood

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#26

His Leg On Ready Player One’s Cover

His Leg On Ready Player One’s Cover

reddit.com Report

Isaac7lego
Community Member
5 months ago

I thought this was photoshopped at first....I looked at my copy its real!!!!

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#27

Kissing The Coronavirus Is Back!

Kissing The Coronavirus Is Back!

bookdepository1 Report

Angela B
Community Member
5 months ago

Wait.... there's a second one?

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#28

Romance Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Romance Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving

pearshapedcat Report

MummyWantsABrownie
Community Member
5 months ago

Is the fish supposed to cover the nipples? Didn't quite manage that...

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#29

I Can’t Believe It’s Real

I Can’t Believe It’s Real

beartrapperkeeper Report

qwerty
Community Member
5 months ago

Why?

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#30

Librarian Wife Comes Through Again

Librarian Wife Comes Through Again

johnc98 Report

Just a Snowball
Community Member
5 months ago

always the darn fish sticks

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#31

The 50th Edition Lotr Covers Are Something Else...

The 50th Edition Lotr Covers Are Something Else...

bertmerps Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
5 months ago

WHAT DID THEY DO TO LEGOLAS

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#32

I Don't Even Know What To Say About This Book Cover

I Don't Even Know What To Say About This Book Cover

Chtorrr Report

Just a Snowball
Community Member
5 months ago

reminds me of those little hand puppets that look like t-rexes

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#33

Til That Native American Women Shot At Cowboys With Lasers (Also There Was Young Love In The Wild West)

Til That Native American Women Shot At Cowboys With Lasers (Also There Was Young Love In The Wild West)

TituCusiYupanqui Report

Just a Snowball
Community Member
5 months ago

photoshop go brr brr

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#34

Wtf

Wtf

Chanel_Lackaday Report

Jihana
Community Member
5 months ago

Bonus point for the authors name

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#35

Ten Things Doctors Won't Tell You About Your Cpap Machine

Ten Things Doctors Won't Tell You About Your Cpap Machine

ptigue Report

S. Tor Storm
Community Member
5 months ago

one piece of tape for each thing

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Note: this post originally had 142 images. It’s been shortened to the top 35 images based on user votes.