Book cover design dances to the marketing imperative. 100+ years ago, what that looked like was a bit different.
Public Domain Review shares some gorgeous examples of book design from over a century ago, when books were more than (hopefully great) writing in an appealing package—they were physical works of art in and of themselves.
Many of these might also have been covered with dustjackets, but not only were they less likely to survive to our modern times, they might have been much blander versions of the actual book covers.
Easily can I imagine discarding dustjackets to show off these covers on my bookshelves.
What strikes me is the flair added to what are mostly decidedly minimalist designs.
Some of these seem to anticipate the Art Deco era.
Some of these cover designs are dreamlike.
The book covers for darker tales are also fascinating.
More info, book scans, and download links for these books and many others are linked from the Public Domain Review post.