Two of my favorite covers of all time come from The Catcher in the Rye. The great white space, the nice typography, and ultimately the utter respect for the text.
I only recently read up on how Salinger had a clause in his contract which limited his covers to Title and Author only. Dot Dot Dot had a nice write up on this, though unfortunately they don’t seem to credit their source:
In the 1950s Salinger had a clause put in his publisher’s contracts that insisted only the text of the title of the book and his name were to appear on any future editions of his work, and absolutely no images. This hard line was particularly prompted by an early fatal experience with a publisher who covered a collection of short stories, then titled for Esmé – with Love and Squalour (after one of them) with a dramatic illustrated portrait of a seductive blonde. Salinger’s outrage is understandable: his Esmé is a precocious young girl of seven, and the story depicts a chance encounter and redemptive conversation with a solider on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Nevertheless, it’s instructive to see how various publishers and nationalities have dealt with Salinger’s legal one-liner over the past half-decade of reprints and new editions.