Lets Talk Book Covers

Note: For this entire week I am going to be blogging about the various Indian history books I read recently so be prepared ! 🙂 

I usually don’t discuss book covers as much as some other blogs do but this is something I wanted to write on and get your opinion.

First check out these 2 book covers

596633   17128251

What do you think ?

Personally I wasn’t fond of the covers at all. For one thing they just don’t seem like a lot of work went in and the design itself is too literal. Its as if they looked at the titles and said “Just put a pre-partition map for one and a post-partition map of India for the other”. Sure there are other elements present but the maps dominate and I don’t think they are necessary at all.

The one on the left is slightly better but look once again at the right-hand one. Why are there silhouettes of street lights, trees and random people, running right across the center ? What are they trying to convey ? We had these even before independence right ? 😐

Now consider this


Now this one I actually liked 🙂 Its not too literal but more importantly, it is as accurate as it gets 😀 Every one in India would have gone through this chaos at some point in their lives – I know I have ! If you look closely, some of the signboards are quite hilarious too. You can check out more such amazing photos by the same photographer in his blog here.

What do you think ? 🙂 Agree ? Disagree ? How would you design the first 2 if given the chance ?


3 thoughts on “Lets Talk Book Covers

  1. Hello TRB!

    Googling about Bipin Chandra’s books led me here. Though am not much of an voracious reader, I must confess that I liked reading this blog. And I plan to read some of the books recommended here.

    Though if I can disagree, I felt that Bipin Chandra’s book covers were designed better. The colours are catchy and one can never miss them while looking through a library shelf. The inversion of the colours – blue and yellow between the two books make them look like companion pieces, which they are. The ‘India Since Independence’ cover juxtaposes the Parliament building which represents the new rulers and a people movement illustration to show what was happening at the ground level. Seems quite apt, I thought. Though I will agree that the ‘streetlight, trees, people’ silhouettes appeared quite random. 🙂

    On the other hand, Guha’s book cover probably only represents the urban India’s chaos. Plus, the Hindi signboards were quite lost on non-Hindi speakers like me. I wouldn’t call it a bad book cover, but it wasn’t particularly remarkable too.

    But I would totally agree with you that that Bipin Chandra’s first book was written better and to the point. He meanders too much in the second one and each chapter reads like a Congress annual report.



    1. Hi Rajesh !

      First, thank you for stopping by and taking the time out to read and comment on my blog 🙂

      Regarding the covers, I am not trying to say that a cover should capture everything about India – that is definitely impossible.
      Perception of colours is subjective so I’ll leave that but my main problem was also with the maps dominating the cover. Like I had written, it didn’t look like a lot of effort was put in. For instance, I would have been happier if ‘India Since Independence’ had an iconic, rare photo on the cover – one from the 1st general elections for example. Thats why it was disappointing.

      “Congress annual report” sounds right 🙂


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