The British Library Wants You To See These Awesome Old Book Covers

We love cool book covers here at the Reading Room, so you can imagine our excitement when we saw what the British Library has done with their flickr page. The institution has combed its collection for out-of-copyright covers from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and they’ve made them all available online.

So how many out-of-copyright covers did the British Library uncover? Well, an awful lot. There are over 1,000,000 of these covers online, according to Digital Arts Online, who first reported on the collection. That makes sense, considering that the British Library is the largest library in the world!

The images are organized (somewhat loosely) based on the cover style: you’ll find all of the text-heavy cover designs grouped together, for instance. 

Check out some of our favorites below, or click here to explore the collection yourself! If you find a really cool cover, be sure to share it with us in the comments section.


Stephen Lovely, writer