Superbly Awful Library Books: mega-gallery of terrible (but awesome) book covers




Uh, some of those are pretty bad. But you know, I actually had that biology coloring book when I was a kid. It was rad. I colored in all the pages that talked about diseases or maladies of my family members. uh…


I want to know why the background in the cocaine & crack classroom looks like a discrete cosine transform demo.


I have Dancing with Cats. It’s sublime, surreal, and brilliant.


I was starting to suspect fakery until I reached the Jean Ray Laury dollmaking book. Once upon a time, I had that book, and it was pretty informative.
Now I want to read that home firearm safety book to see if the lady on the cover ends up shooting the dude sitting by the fireplace.


Yeah, I was going to say I’m pretty sure that was required for a biology course I had at some point in … 1990, maybe?


The biology coloring books are often sold in college bookstores, as they’re a good way to learn the names of things.


I remember the human evolution coloring book, but haven’t seen the [general] biology one.


I want to learn why "the other 90 percent of your brain " should be devoted towards such a mindless task.


Ahahahaha I too suspected fakery until I got to the Nuclear War Fun Book, which my radical activist grandmother had on her shelf. It’s great, it has a flip-book in the corners of children dying horribly in a nuclear blast.


They have maps spread all over the table but there’s no interior decorating in Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe they’re playing GURPS.


Um…I’m pretty sure the female advice book “Ask A Man” is in the wrong place. Should it be filed in the “must read” category?


The ones on mental illness are only as hilarious as mental illness. Talking to kids about things like that can be really difficult.

But I really liked the one about the microwaved little-girl-sandwich.


Brain is melting.


Having worked in a library I know that strange books sometimes arrive as part of approval plans, and it’s more expensive to ship 'em back than it is to keep them.

I really thought Wrestling For Gay Guys was made up, though, until I checked WorldCat and found that it’s owned by at least twelve libraries. Most are in the UK, but Princeton, Michigan State University, and UCLA all have copies.

It’s the subtitle–“overcoming problems, fears and hang-ups” that really sells it.


If the purpose of a book cover is to make me want to read a book, they succeeded. I want to read pretty much all of these, especially Wrestling for Gay Men. (Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong!)

This is also a pretty good example of how design trends change and “look ridiculous” to future generations. These fonts – they scream 70s. And no one in the 10s would use color palettes like these. But . . . in thirty years, they’ll be laughing at our League Gothic and dingy covers.


It don’t need selling for me, man. The title alone, even without the line drawing of straining jockstraps, won me over instantly.


According to the library record the illustrations are by “Matt”. I could have sworn they were by Tom of Finland.


Awesome: Home Firearm Safety.
That one picture tells a whole story.


Can you really put “How you look and Dress” down to a design trend? Seems like a failure on so many levels.