Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

16 Books Featuring Books on the Cover

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Ashley Holstrom

Staff Writer

Ashley Holstrom helps make books at Sourcebooks. She lives near Chicago with her cat named after Hemingway and her bookshelves organized by color. Newsletter: Crooked Reads. Twitter: @alholstrom.

Book lovers love books about books. We know this. But do you know what else tickles our fancy? Books about books that have books on the cover. Big books, small books, old books, new books, bright books, dark books—any book imagery on a cover is a win in our world. And the book doesn’t even have to be about reading or publishing! We just like looking at them in any form. 

Below is a mere sampling of recent(ish) books featuring books on the cover, spanning in genre from romance, memoir, young adult fiction, comics, middle grade mystery, and adult fiction. Readers of all ages and types rejoice! 

Cover designers and artists have been credited to the best of our ability. If you know who an uncredited artist is, please let us know so they can get proper recognition. Cover design is an art form that needs to be acknowledged and appreciated. 

If you’re the kind to judge books by their covers, you’re going to love judging these books by the books on their covers. Talk about meta. 

cover of Almost American Girl

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

The books on this cover may be a small detail, but they’re what tether our author and narrator to her true self. When a summer vacation to Alabama from Seoul becomes a new full-time home, Robin has to learn how to fit in at a school where she knows no one. But when her mother enrolls her in a comics class, she begins to feel at home.

Illustrated by Robin Ha.

bookish life of nina hill cover

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Nina is perfectly content keeping her eyes down and at a book — just like she’s doing on this lovely illustrated cover. So when the father she never knew dies and a slew of new siblings arrive, and her trivia nemesis wants to get to know her, she has to learn how to step outside of the comfort of her reading chair.

Cover design and illustration by Vikki Chu.

Book Love cover image

Book Love by Debbie Tung

Of course a delightful collection of comics about being a book person has teetering piles of books on the cover! I mean, that’s just the law.

Cover design and art by Debbie Tung.

book of speculation cover erika swyler

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Simon, a young librarian, is trying to figure out if there’s a curse on his family. One day, he receives an old, water-damaged book — like one of the stack on this beautiful cover — that turns out to be a log of strange things happening around a traveling circus in the 1700s. In it he finds that generations of mermaids in his family have drowned, and he has a few weeks to save his sister from the same fate, if there is indeed a curse on the women in his family.

bromance book club cover

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

When Gavin finds out his wife’s been faking it in bed, the bromance book club comes to the rescue. The group of men read romance novels to learn how to woo the women in their lives. It’s fun and adorable, just like this cover with a classic clincher in a back pocket.

Cover art by Jess Cruickshank, design by Colleen Reinhart.

brown girl dreaming cover

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

The cover for Jacqueline Woodson’s beautiful memoir in verse showcases the magic that comes from reading. It’s one of my favorite book covers of all time.

Don't Check Out This Book by Kate Klise

Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise

This fun middle grade novel is a punny mystery in which a scandal just may be underfoot. Appleton Elementary School has a new librarian with a secret reading list, the principal doesn’t remember hiring her, and the new school board president instated a new dress code of white gloves and bow ties. A team of 5th grade sleuths are determined to get to the bottom of these strange events.

the field guide to the north american teenager sydney mardi gras

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Norris is the new kid in school, and as a Black French Canadian, he stands out in Texas. His solution is to stay far away from the world around him, observing and cataloging everyone he meets into groups: the Loners, the Jocks, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. This cover captures the new kid experience of a notebook being your only friend and confidant.

Jacket art by Christina Allen, design by Michelle Cunningham.

girl with the louding voice cover

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

Okay, these are little pages of books cut into flowers, but you have to admit they make for a stunning book cover. This is the story of Adunni, a teen in a rural Nigerian village who yearns for an education so she can speak up for herself, and maybe even help other girls like her.

Cover design by Chistopher Lin, illustration by Vikki Chu, lettering by Jason Booher.

i will judge you by your bookshelf cover

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

Oh look, another collection of comics about being a book lover! I love the detail in this one: a person peeking through the stacks, a cat asleep in the tiniest place.

Illustration by Grant Snider.

the lost book of adana moreau

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata

Don’t you just love a book cover with a real book on it? This one is so cool for the story of the lost manuscript by a Latin American science fiction writer and the lives those papers changed in trying to find the owner.

Cover art by John Gall.

my life with bob cover

My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul

Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review, has kept a book where she lists every book she reads, and this book is the story of that book. Of course the cover is covered in books.

A Tale for the Time Being cover

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A book is at the heart of this moving story, so of course it’s on the cover. When Ruth finds a diary inside a Hello Kitty lunchbox, washed ashore from the other side of the world, she becomes obsessed with the teen to whom the items belonged.

Cover design by Jim Tierney.

thirteenth tale cover

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Reclusive author Vida Winter is known for her collection of 12 stories, but no one knows the truth of who she is. Now old and frail, she works with a biographer to piece together the history she planned on keeping hidden.

Cover design by Honi Werner.

well read black girl cover

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves Edited by Glory Edim

Glory Edim rounded up some of the best Black women writers to tell the stories of the first time they saw themselves represented in books and how important it is for readers to have similar moments.

Cover design by Sharanya Durvasula.

For more collections of rockin’ book art, be sure to check out Book Riot’s book covers archive.