By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated June 23, 2010 at 01:25 PM EDT

Never judge a book by its cover. Unless, of course, you’re on a competition jury selecting the year’s best book covers and book designs. Then, by all means, judge away. That’s what the AIGA, a national design organization, did when it winnowed down 800 submissions to name the Top 50 covers of 2009.

The winning entries run the gamut from fiction to nonfiction, coffee-table books to graphic novels, minimalism to kitchen-sink aesthetic. My favorites of the bunch are probably The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, which shows a svelte, modern silhouette of the poet hiding beneath a hoop skirt, and Vintage’s new Vladimir Nabokov paperbacks that re-imagine his novels as display cases, a cute nod to the author’s hobby of lepidoptery. But honestly, nearly all of the covers picked by the AIGA are pretty fantastic, so take some time to browse them and tell us your favorites. Any great covers from 2009 not on the list that you think should be?