My cover's done. And ain't it beauty? The frustrated artist in me LOVES book covers.
It's not a stretch to say that while you can't judge a book by its cover you darn well can mess up its sales potential by being ugly. Covers are supposed to not only intrigue the passerby (There's something called the "airport test," I'm told. Will a passerby take a second glance at a cover of a book someone's reading?) but also attempt to suggest the story in an image.
They were originally "dust covers," and some people still call them that, which tickles me a little since we all love covers so much that who even thinks about taking them off to read 'em. And oddly they may be one of the biggest reasons I resist an e-reader.
For fun, here are some links about book covers. First is a New York Times article about covers that WEREN'T chosen--designers' favorites that just couldn't be used. You decide why:
The Cover Not Chosen
Next, here's one from the UK's Guardian about the possibly first book cover ever:
The First Book Cover
And here's on from Los Angeles Times about an actual art show showing classic cover art and the titles that might have been if the titular characters' genders were reversed:
The Classic Book Covers ReImagined