Inspired by this recent compilation by Abe Books of 50 iconic book covers, we decided to take a look at local books of the last 30 years to find the most iconic covers in Hawaii literature. What do we mean when we say iconic? Something about the cover, some element has become synonymous with that particular story or book. When the two are so closely associated with one another that people become familiar with the cover even if they haven’t read or have no interest in reading the book.

A cover is iconic when you can change the title or remove it altogether and still recognize it—when you can spot it underneath a stack of tomes and know instantly what it is. What makes a cover iconic we wondered? It’s more than just something original or zany like a special font, vibrant color or unique art piece… the cover is an extension of the book and a representation of what’s inside.

Here are some of the local books we think have iconic covers (some are obvious and others we feel are becoming iconic):

We had a tough time differentiating which covers were “iconic” and which ones we just plain liked. There were so many we wanted to put up that we thought were eye catching and original but not necessarily iconic. So we’ll have another post in the future with our “favorite book covers”. Many thanks to our sometimes-guest-blogger Dawn Sueoka for her help in compiling these.

Leave us a comment with any books you think have iconic covers! I’m quite sure we missed a few…