I had a hard time finding a book in my collection that I bought for the cover. There are a lot of titles that I made sure to buy second hand to avoid movie covers- they're almost always hideous and cheesy- but not many that I saw on a shelf and just thought "I have to have it! It looks so cool!" I'm wary of book covers, since they so often lie. I've purchased plenty of sci-fi and fantasy books with truly horrible covers, knowing that the stories by the likes of Ursula K. LeGuin, Arthur C. Clarke, Katherine Kerr, Tanith Lee, etc. are so much more than their dated, poorly executed cover art. There are a few that I've purchased because of the old binding- leather-bound volumes of works I may or may not actually read someday. It also would have been much easier to find books that I have purchased for the interior illustrations (many a fairy tale collection has been purchased simply to look at the work of Kay Nielson).
So after scouring my shelves, I did finally run across one that called to me with the sheer power of good design: Toby Barlow's Sharp Teeth. The premise of the book was interesting, but the format (long form, free verse poetry- *shiver*) made me wary. But just seeing the beautiful matte red cloth cover, contrasted with the shining black dog slightly inlaid into the surface made me grab it up. I have yet to read it, but it sits there, looking pretty on my shelves and biding its time.