Cover Geek #13: Popular Spine Colors

It’s hard to get a rainbow shelf. There’s not just the saturation problem stopping you from deciding where to put that neon book or that really really light pink, but also a significant lack of covers in certain colors. It’s obvious that some colors are just more often used than others.

So, today I’ll be talking about the three most popular spine colors of YA books (in my opinion).

After looking at my shelves, blue was definitely a very common color. Whether it’s teal or navy or cobalt, there seemed to be a lot of blue covers. It makes sense, because it’s appealing to the eyes and also has a lot of shades that are still appealing, something I can’t really say for colors like yellow or purple.

Some prominent examples on my shelf are The Rose and the Dagger, All the Bright Places, Gemina, and Anatomy of a Misfit.


Maybe this is just me, because I buy a lot of red books–but there’s a lot of red books out there. A lot of them I never expected–like The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine? That black and white cover actually has a bright red spine. #shook

And this does kind of encompass those reddish oranges, but the warm section of my bookshelf is super strong, as well as the aforementioned cool section. Maybe it’s the blood or the fire or the gore–who knows?–but red seems to be popping up a lot.

Some examples are The Hate U Give, The Wrath and the Dawn, Illuminae (this counts as red okay), and Girl against the Universe.

Lastly, black. This is somewhat of a given–there are dozens upon dozens of fantasy and sci-fi novels with black spines or at the very least, very dark ones. Maybe it’s the impending doom of our favorite heroes and heroines, the grim reaper smiling down upon us, or a plague heading towards us to wipe us all out. Either way, this color (or better yet, absence of color) is quite popular on YA novels.

Let’s think about this again. Here’s a list of some of the most popular YA books (1M+ ratings on Goodreads) & their spine & cover colors.

The Hunger Games | Black, Red, Blue
Twilight | Black, Black, Black, Black
The Fault in Our Stars | Blue
Divergent | Grey-Blue, Gray-Green, Red, Blue
Percy Jackson | Blue-Black, Orange (which is basically red), Blue, Red, Black
The Mortal Instruments | Black+something

I don’t know if this is something about bold colors, or a favoring towards primaries or something else. The disproportionate number of predominantly blue, red, and black covers came off as surprising to me once I found out.

So, as much as we might want to find that perfect chartreuse or peach, you’ll probably end up with a disproportionate amount of blacks, reds, and blues on your bookshelf. Just sayin’.

much love, vicky

What’s the most common color on your bookshelf?

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