Book covers during the earlier times were meant primarily for protection of the precious inside pages that ordinarily consisted of intricately written texts and drawings. But aside from protection, book covers were also intended for decorative purposes such that they used to depict the culture of the particular group of people that published the books. Hence in the early 19th century a book cover creator usually bound books in leather, cloth, gold, silver, wood and jewels - with designs that spoke of the civilization of the given period.
A book, so it is said, should not be judged by its cover. A tattered book cover may not necessarily mean rotten contents in the same way that a glossy book cover may not guarantee a good read. And yet in this modern age, a book cover design very well tells what is inside the book and what a reader should expect to find in the pages.
For instance, if you check out contemporary comic books, you will notice the beautiful artistry poured out on the cover designs by the book cover creator. The illustrations are very impressive and somehow convey stories of their own, much like telling a synopsis of the stories written on every page. This is actually a marketing technique employed by comic book publishers in which they try to outsell competitors by catching the attention of readers, most of which are children, through gorgeous book wraps.
Apart from the classic types of book covers such as hard covers, paperbacks, dust jackets and cloth covers, different book covers nowadays may come in the form of holograms, foils and illustrations in glossy hard paper.
Incidentally, if you examine closely how books were bound and covered during the pre-modern period, you will realize how tediously each book cover was made. This is not surprising at all considering the fact that books were covered one by one by hand since machines were yet to be discovered during that time. Hence looking at the picture of an ancient copy of the Bible will reveal how laborious it was to cover just a single book. If such methods were still used at present, chances are that the price of a book cover would probably be much more than the price of the book itself. But thanks to the onset of modern techniques and new age machines, most book covers are now much cheaper and practical.
Different types of book covers may evoke varied ideas, thoughts and meanings - depending on what the author of the book himself wants to convey to the readers. Book authors are usually very conscious about the cover designs of their published works. This is quite understandable because the book cover design itself serves as an advertisement of the written work. Therefore a religious book requires a special design that should suit the theme of said work and the author has all the right to reject a cover design of grotesquely drawn figures that picture some sort of cult or demonic characters. Remember that the sales potential of a book starts right from its cover. When the buyers scan each book on the bookshelves, the first thing that meets their eyes is its cover.