Saturday, March 20, 2010

Judging a Book by It's Cover

You know that old cliche - "Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover". It started out rather literally, back when books just had a title on the outside. So you really couldn't glean much about the contents by the cover, and so people felt the need to instruct others to look past the cover. However, nowadays with all the rather extravagant book covers, it is hard not to judge a book based on it's cover. I mean really isn't that what first draws you in. Imagine this scenario - you are walking down the aisles of the book store and an end cap is covered with several books that are "suggested" if you like that genre. Don't you pick up the one that appeals to your eyes the most? I am so totally guilty of this! Or how about this scenario - you are browsing on Amazon or PaperbackSwap and all you can see is book cover after book cover. What makes you click the third one over the thirty-third one? If I am way off base on this one, please someone enlighten me. I guess my real question is "How much does Cover Art influence your interest in a title?" Personally, I think it can have positive and negative effects. I used to be categorically against any book that showed a man and woman in a "lover's embrace" on the cover, but since I started reading JR Ward and Larissa Ione, I had to get over it. I also used to avoid any books with "cartoon" like covers - but hello - Sookie Stackhouse series!? So although I do still get drawn to a book based on the appeal of the cover art, I have broadened my horizons, so to speak, and do not just pass over a book that doesn't grab me right off, especially if it was suggested to me.
Another topic when it comes to cover art is, re-releases. With so many books becoming movies and television shows, there has been a huge insurgence of re-releases. And almost all of them will have "movie stills" as the cover art. How do you feel about this? For example, I have heard of lost of "hardcore" twilight fans buying second copies of the series so they can have the originals and the new movie poster ones. I can't seem to understand this at all but do you? Explain it to me, please!


  1. Well, as one who has written two books and paid a lot of money for the cover art, I can say the cover is pretty important to me. *grin*
    I love my covers and am so thankful for the guy who created them!

  2. I try not to let the cover influence me as there are so many instances of the cover having nothing to do with the story, but it's hard to ignore.

    I freely admit that I'm prejudiced against Fabio covers, featuring the swooning heroine and the Fabio-like cover-boy, as they're so cheesy.

    On the other hand, some covers are so beautiful that I can't resist picking them up!

    Wish I could explain why some people want both the original and movie tie-in covers so buy the same book twice, but I'm stumped. Personally, I always prefer the original covers as the book is usually better than the movie. Just my opinion of course. :)

  3. I am not influenced by the cover as much as I am by reviews.

  4. Alexia - I tend to agree with you about books being better then the movie, there is so much more detail, and I can imagine the characters how I want.
    Karen - didn't know cover art was expensive, I think that might effect me a little more when I am looking. Love your covers BTW =)
    Vet - more and more I am looking to reviews more than covers, good point!

  5. Well, you can go real simple for real cheap. Or mediocre for a little more.
    OR, real nice - but you have to pay for it.
    Thanks. *grin*

  6. I think the cover is an important part of the book, and the book buying process. Thinking about not just the front cover (which needs to grab your attention to differentiate itself from the myriad of other books in its category), what about the back cover?

    I tend to read a lot of non-fiction, and I firmly believe that the promises made on the covers need to match what's inside. (This is where our negative review thread comes into play).

    I recently wrote a negative review on a book, first because I could barely stand to read the contents, but also because the book promised to give tips, and be easy to read - when it was neither. I think truth in marketing needs to be called into question when a book isn't what it promises to be.

    As far as covers, I am drawn to covers that are colorful, and give me something to ponder. My most recent read, "The Girl She Used To Be" by David Cristofano has a picture of a girl with her back to us sitting on a suitcase in the middle of a long dirt road. I think that picture made me want to read it almost as much as the first page.

  7. Very good points Michelle! I totally agree that the little blurbs on a book need to be accurate, especially when it comes to non-fiction and self-help. These books are meant to educate in one way or another and should do that. And how annoying to read a book that touts itself as an "easy read" when it is not!


I love love love love to hear what other people think - share your thoughts so we can start a dialogue!