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30 Coolest Alternative Book Covers

30 Coolest Alternative Book Covers

30 Coolest Alternative Book Covers

Books are the window into our own imaginations. A great read can create its own world within our minds, so it seems tremendously unfair that there should only be one cover image to represent it, which may not correlate with your experience.

Well these good people have refused to accept that and spent their own time and effort creating alternative and, in many cases, superior, covers for a range of classics.

Below are 30 of our favourites, let us know any we've missed in the comments...

Click on an image for more information

Watership Down

Author: Richard Adams

Artist: Aurora Cacciapuoti

This charming reworking of Adams' childhood classic is simple, but effective, with an array of bunny ears nudging into view at the bottom. Hopefully they're not playboy bunny ears - that would really ruin the innocence.

A Tale of Two Cities

Author: Charles Dickens

Artist:Rowan Stocks-Moore

An absolutely ingenious alternative design for Dickens' tome, combining the towering landmarks of London and Paris beautifully. Le Tour Eiffel was actually built after Dickens wrote the book (in 1889 - Tale of Two Cities was published in 1859), but we're sure if he'd seen this cover he'd have thrown in a mention in an updated version.


Author: Douglas Coupland

Artist: Bryan Connor

As we all know, everything is better made out of lego. And this alternative cover for Coupland's Microserfs is no exception, taking inspiration from the original cover by William Graef and running with the theme.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End of The World

Author: Haruki Murakami

Artist: M.S. Corley

This stunning design perfectly mirrors dreamlike nature of the book; Corley explains that "the image for this was inspired by 'the End of the World' town which is in the narrator's unconscious mind...and since the narrator was never named nor described I created an image of Haruki Murakami himself for the rest of the head."


Author: Joseph Heller

Artist:Kulvinder Dhillon

A stylish reinterpretation of the classic cover, retaining the bold title typography but updated with a modern feel. One of many great alternative book covers by Beat The Pulp, including Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies and Brave New World.

Catcher in the Rye

Author: J.D. Salinger

Artist: Beth Elaine Austin

The original is a classic in its own right, but this alternative is effortlessly cool; employing a a striking illustration style to capture of the essence of Holden Caulfield, the 'hero' of the book.

High Fidelity

Author: Nick Hornby

Artist: Hans Kroes

If we had the chance to go back and do a school art assignment again, this is what we would do. Hans Kroes created this incredible alternative cover for Nick Hornby's High Fidelity using "mainly James Last and other garbage that would make your ears bleed, from a second-hand shop of course'. An old vinyl record becomes Rob Fleming's head, filled with silhouettes of his former girlfriends, who he contacts through the course of the novel. As if this wasn't brilliant enough, the central record label is evocative of pair of big old headphones. Unbelievably cool.


Author: Stephen King

Artist: Manel de Ramón

Relying on hand-drawn illustration, this wonderfully evocative cover brings a sense of fairy tale-esque sense of menace to Stephen King's classic thriller. It's a perfect example of how old-fashioned artistry can easily out-do Photoshoppery.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Author: L. Frank Baum

Artist: Paul Bartlett

This stunning reimagining of this children's classic combines elements of the characters that we all know and love to create one composite of a wide-eyed face; a mystified young girl in a strange new land.

American Psycho

Author: Bret Easton Ellis

Artist: Shawny Withay

Ellis's iconic novel of a crazed yuppie deserves a cover which is just as debauched as Patrick Bateman himself. This simple yet effective design cleverly gives an insight of the lead character's total apathy as well as showcasing his dangerous bloodlust.

Alice in Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll

Artist: Christian Jackson

One of a series of brilliant hyper-minimal designs, Christian Jackson manages to capture the spirit of Alice in Wonderland with just a single white, grinning, Cheshire Cat crescent of a smile. Superb.

The Twits

Author: Roald Dahl

Artist: Craig Munro

Whilst Quentin Blake is the man who brings Dahl's vivid characters to life, if they ever decide to update the imagery they could do much worse than approach Mr. Munro. This brilliant alternative cartoon version of The Twits captures the madness of Mr & Mrs Twit perfectly.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Author: Phillip K. Dick

Artist: Hannes Beer

Beer created this cover and others as part of an 'All Day Everyday' project, where a poster was made about one item that had been inspirational in the previous 24 hours. Amazingly, each one was designed and created within 60 minutes. If only we could be that productive...

Origin of Species

Author: Charles Darwin

Artist: Delicious Design League

A joyful celebration of Darwin's seminal work on evolution, the premier league stars of the animal kingdom are all represented looking very happy indeed. Forget those sober typefaces and dark colours - all scientific books should have covers like this one.


Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Artist: Emmanuel Polanko

There are many fan-made covers of this classic book, but this one is our favourite, by the French designer Emmanuel Polanko. Minimal, stylish and elegant, with the flourish on the 'o' completing the impression of the young Lolita's face beautifully.

The Return of the King

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Artist: Jack Fish

Inspired by Obey's updated 1984 and Animal Farm covers, Jack Fish designed these fantastic new covers for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This is our favourite of the three: Sauran's eye is always going to be the coolest element. Fish thought that "many people seemed had seen the films but discounted the books" and "wanted to attract new and different audiences to read the books by combining elements people were familiar with from the films with an all-new style of cover design". Job done we think.

The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Artist: Jason Edmiston

A suitably frightening and evocative design for this classic, Edmiston's stunning illustrations and a well-positioned prop displaying both sides of Mr Hyde's personality.


Author: George Orwell

Artist: Luke James

Like Lolita, there are many unofficial new covers for Orwell's epic, but our favourite is this one, with the famous Big Brother security camera shining a light on the title and the famous first line from the novel, while retaining the famous Penguin orange and white colour scheme.

You can see a bigger version of the cover here.

The Illustrated Man

Author: Ray Bradbury

Artist:Micco Caporale

Ray Bradbury is responsible for one of the most famous cover designs of all time, with the Joe Pernaciaro-designed cover for Farenheit 451. But Micco Caporle has designed a stunning alternative to another of Bradbury's books, with this incredible design for The Illustrated Man. Appropriately enough, it's illustrated, depicting the vagrant whose tattoos each tell a different tale within the book's pages.

Romeo & Juliet

Author: William Shakespeare

Artist:Christopher Porter

Porter states that he "tried to go with a direction that would appeal to younger generations, the Irvine Welsh generation, the sort of people who are more than likely to judge a book by it’s cover", and this is certainly an incredibly eye-catching and arresting alternative cover. Combining a beautiful, sad photo with a modern graphic design element at the bottom, this is brilliantly done.

Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

Artist: M.S. Corley

A direct mock of the Penguin Marber grid covers from the 1960s, Corley created this fantastic alternative for the first Potter outing, following the rules of one bold colour, black and photograph. "I felt like one of the most pivotal parts of the book was Harry getting his letter from Hogwarts so I created an image of the owl flying out from Hogwarts carrying his letter." The red for the wax seal completes the image, with the added bonus of making the title rectangle hugely eye-catching.


Author: Frank Herbert

Artist: Paul J. Murray

This subtle but brilliant design depicts the desert planet Arrakis and the Fremen fighters which populate it, as two other planets lurk ominously in the distance.


Author: Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

Artist: Michael Cullen-Benson

An elegant alternate cover with a shadow morphing into the hands of a ticking clock across the whole cover, Cullen-Benson cites his inspiration for the design as, "the climactic ending, that lead me and I think many others, to question morality. What exactly can one man do to save humanity and how far would you be willing to go to do so? No other page in the Watchmen book had more resonance for me, then when those two strangers embraced each other in their last moments of life."

The Road

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Artist: Ken K Chung

Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic masterpiece hits you like a bus and that's exactly what this re-designed cover manages to do as well. The beautifully designed image hints at some of the devastating events which befall the lead characters and clues you into the fact that this one might not have the happiest of endings.

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas

Author: Hunter S. Thompson

Artist: Nate Gonzalez

One of four brilliant designs, this new "old" cover for Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo classic is our favourite. The handpainted stars-and-stripes suitcase consisting of the substances that lead the two protagonists on their journey into the unknown...

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Author: Gabriel García Márquez

Artist: Oli Phillips

Phillips' response to the original artwork of this epic book utilises an autumnal set of leaves; representing where the characters found within are from, and as a metaphor for their family tree. Understated and elegant - very cool indeed.

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Author: C.S. Lewis

Artist:Rowan Stocks-Moore

A second entry from Stocks-Moore, this is a clever piece of design, incorporating the wardrobe - the gateway into Narnia - as the centrepiece of the Lion and the mane simultaneously acting as a clock; although of course in Narnia, it may turn from day to night, but it will always be winter...


Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Artist:Smoke & Song

Mysterious artist Smoke & Song takes inspiration from the cover of Loneliness, removing the dot from the title to create its very own outlier. Very clever, and very cool.

A Clockwork Orange

Author: Anthony Burgess

Artist: Amy Harding

So much of A Clockwork Orange's artwork is iconic, that it's hard to shed new light on it. However, Amy Harding has done a terrific job; again keeping it simple but effective, with stylish typography and a centrepiece of Alex's dead-eyed stare.

Anatomía Del Fascismo

Author: Robert O. Paxton

Artist: Carles Barrios

A striking redesign of this important historical work by Paxton; cleverly using a literal take on the book's title as a series of tools dissect the Fascist emblem, the Swastika, with methodical precision.