Unsung Hero of 2016: The People Who Tricked Us Into Reading Over and Over Again

Book designers of the world: we thank you.

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2016 seemed to bring us ever closer to a post-verbal age. Social media has made visual language our default method of communication, be it in the form of an Instagram post, a Snap, or an emoji-laden text.

Our beloved authors, of course, still speak in the traditional form—but, lucky for them, there are talented book designers to take their written word and radiate its meaning in a beautiful visual form.

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Our beloved authors, of course, still speak in the traditional form—but, lucky for them, there are talented book designers to take their written word and radiate its meaning in a beautiful visual form that will coax potential readers into temporarily putting down their phones, and taking a moment to consider what's on offer.

A good book cover—a stunning, clever book cover—and talented book designers scratch more than one itch. They provide a vital service to authors, transforming the universe of the authors' prose or verse into something so visually arresting it makes readers literally think, "I have to touch this, now." And buying gorgeous books, reading them in public, displaying them in our homes answers our ultra-visual culture's call to constantly curate. But mostly, a beautiful book provides pleasure and comfort.

Good thing for us, this was a banner year for book design.

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And now that it's almost 2017, we're all stressed and we all need to be around beautiful things. More specifically, we all need to be around beautiful books. Good thing for us, this was a banner year for book design.

Below, some of our favorite cover designs of the year.

"The Mothers" by Brit Bennett, $26, penguinrandomhouse.com.

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"The Mothers" by Brit Bennett, $26, penguinrandomhouse.com.

"The Bed Moved" by Rebecca Schiff, $25, penguinrandomhouse.com.

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"Girl Through Glass" by Sari Wilson, $26, indiebound.org.

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"Sex Object" by Jessica Valenti, $26, harpercollins.com.

"Sweetbitter: A Novel" by Stephanie Danler, $25, penguinrandomhouse.com.

"How to Ruin Everything" by George Watsky, $16, penguinrandomhouse.com.

"How to Set a Fire and Why" by Jesse Ball, $25, penguinrandomhouse.com.

"The Girls" by Emma Cline, $27, penguinrandomhouse.com.

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