So I am!
The way I compiled my list was simple. First, I googled the book covers for all of King's books, be they novels, novellas released by themselves, collections or e-books, and I looked through the google results for the ones that I liked least. I automatically discounted movie tie-in versions, which are always bad, and foreign language versions, just due to me not understanding the various cultures they come from and I don't want to seem like I'm just making fun of a foreign culture for being foreign. But dangit, some of those covers were weird. Yeah, I guess I just made fun of them anyway. Sue me.
I also didn't generally go for the artfully minimalist covers Simon & Schuster recently put out. They're fine, if not what I generally go for in cover art, and I'm not sure how well they'll age, but I wasn't about to list the covers as being bad just for being minimalist. After all, most of them were pretty dang representative.
My criteria for my choices were not 100% the same across the board. I'll be honest; in several cases I actually was pretty okay with all the covers. But I was committed to choosing one as the worst for all cases, and thus, I'm doing this list as an opposite to what Bryant usually does; best to worst. Each one of those chosen I could find something about it I didn't like; it wasn't representative, or in some cases, misleading, or in many cases just ugly or cheesy.
Let's start with a special list, which is:
Books That Only Have One Edition (as far as I can tell)
The following books I only ever have seen one cover for, so as with the others, I'll rank them best to worst.
I have yet to read this one, but its cover makes me think it's just a story about a baseball player. I know it's more than that, so it's a tad misleading. However, the intent of this cover is absolutely to harken back to days of yore and good old stories about the Grand Game, and it works well, so it's getting placed pretty low.
Again, never seen a physical copy of this, and I only know it exists thanks to the internet. I listed it this low because as far as I can tell there's nothing wrong with this, per se, it's just not all that interesting.
I like this cover. As far as I can tell, it perfectly encapsulates the purpose behind this book (a coffee-table book of photographs of gargoyle statues), and it's arty as well. I guess it's only rated ahead of Ghost Brothers because it's kinda cute, and therefore not really appropriate to something I'd call a nightmare.
I said I wouldn't do any of the minimalist covers, but this is the only cover this story received. There's a graphic novel called Road Rage that's based partially on this story, and there's a cover for the anthology He Is Legend that it initially appeared in, but neither of those count. This one is ranked as high as it is because it's just kinda boring.
Now this one is just lazy. It's a photograph. With red banners across it. If I could whip this up in Microsoft Paint in just a few seconds, it shouldn't be on a professionally published book.
The Main List
These books all have at least two editions to pick from in the English language.
While the cover is appropriately moody, but I have two issues with it. First, the trees are bare, when this plot takes place in the middle of summer. Second, who is that ghostly woman in the lake? It can't be Johanna, because she didn't die anywhere near the lake, and if it's Sarah, why is she white? The original cover is more honest.
Again, nothing overtly wrong with this. I just don't like that it makes it look like a horror novel when it isn't. I told you it was going to come up a lot in this list.
Replace Stephen King's name with, say, Nora Roberts's, and I would assume that this is actually a futuristic romance novel. While this isn't a horrible cover, the others are so much more evocative.
I don't know what edition this is, but my biggest question is; what car is that, because it's not Christine. Christine was a 1957 Plymouth Fury. This car is from the 1920's.
And that's not Church. Church is a black cat, and he doesn't turn evil upon return from the dead. Otherwise, this is a pretty eye-catching and creepy cover.
What are we selling, here? First, like Full Dark, No Stars, this one is named after a dark time of day and yet has a bright orange color. Why? Also, this is another cover that tells me absolutely nothing. Nothing other than that the graphic designer was drunk that day. This one also suffers from "Stephen King's Name Will Sell the Book" syndrome. Published well past the point where King had become an institution, Just After Sunset would be utterly unsellable with this cover, had King's name not been prominently (if blurrily) plastered on the cover.
Signet really wants me to believe this is a horror novel. Again, I loathe misleading covers. This one might be the worst because while Signet's other covers are just kinda bland, this one openly lies about the kind of story you're about to read.
Yay, Vampire porn! No, seriously, it looks like part of the True Blood series.
Again with the misrepresentation. This is not about a man with a healing touch, religion plays little to no role in this, and in no way does this communicate anything to do with the story. Not only that, it's cheap and tacky-looking.
Well, I hope this was a fun post. I still have just under 300 pages to go in The Tommyknockers, and I'm honestly not sure when I'll be done as this promises to be a busy period of time for me. I'll have the post up as soon as I'm done reading.