Found the original essay, and added the sources in. Check it out; it is really a wonderful read (and was even cross posted to Racialicious).
The best book covers are the ones without people on them, and the art leaves it up to your imagination.
On that last post, Wolitzer mentions that book jackets for women’s novels are much differently designed than ones written by men. It is so true! The same goes for YA lit geared towards girls; they tend to be flowery, featuring women’s legs/any body parts really, with soft tones.
I remember reading an article quite a while back about a female writer who switched publishers or to self-publishing, can’t remember, simply because they refused to listen to her about her book covers. They kept publishing her books with “chick lit” covers (like mentioned above) even though her books were not at all chick lit. I’m going to see if I can find it.
The Guardian has a BUNCH of articles on this topic. Battle of the Authors’ Sexes Continue, with Jennifer Weiner making the argument.