Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Discussions (10): Do you judge a book by its cover?

This week, I want to talk about one of my absolute favorite things about novels... their covers. There's this old saying "never judge a book by it's cover" but then why do they have entire teams devoted to producing the perfect cover for novels? For seriously?!?!

I think most people are going to agree with me when I say I 100% judge a book by it's cover. When I walk into a bookstore and am browsing, a cover it what is going to make me pick up this novel or that, first. In the teen section, I will always gravitate towards the pretty covers. Since becoming a blogger, I see a lot more novels now and tend to know when things come out so I do a lot less browsing but once upon a time, I solely relayed on covers to entice me enough to pick them up. And to be honest, I've found some of the best books by falling in love with covers. Want some examples? Well, here you are:
What drew me to it?: A girl wearing heels on a swing. What? Why? Now, granted, this has nothing to do with the story but this is the reason I picked up the book and read the jacket flap. And it blew my mind with how good it was.
What drew me to it?: In a sea full of female faces, here was the gorgeous guy falling from the heavens with a trail of blood red feathers. It was dark and mood and so intensely sad that I HAD to snatch it off the shelf. So glad I did!
What drew me to it?: Everything about the lush red of her hair to the moody, deep, twinkling blue in the background was right for me. The dress was gorgeous and the girl had a secret. What I found inside was even more beautiful than the outside.

Oftentimes, the cover is the only thing a reader has to go on so you can bet we judge books by their covers. That's why the release of a cover is such a big deal. For the author it means that their book is really real and I truly believe that their cover depends on how well it will sell. I know there will be those of you out there who are less shallow than me (and I hope to hear from you on why you don't) but I feel confident in saying that many, many people will say they do. And with such gorgeous covers out there, why shouldn't we?

Oh, right. I can answer my own question. We shouldn't because we might miss a gem that just didn't sparkle as loudly next to the little beauty with an okay inside. So, here are a few series I would have never picked up without some nudging because I'm not wild about their covers:

But, Amber. WTFBBQ!?!?! These are some of my/your favorite books. What in the heck are you talking about? Well, that's true... But I passed over each of these books numerous times before finally picking them up because I always saw something shiner. NOW, I love all of these books plus their covers. I'm crazy for them. But they never shouted as loud on the shelf.

So I've also learned to pick up more than just the shiny ones. Being a blogger has helped with that. Goodreads has changed my life. Now I can see the cover AND the summary. All of a sudden, the shelves aren't nearly as scary because I'm not passing up lovelies because I'm not wild about their covers.

So now it's your turn. Please tell me, do you judge books by their covers? Pros/cons?

Have a suggestion on what we should discuss next? Tell me here!

Next week's question comes from my good friend Kate from That Book Blog who suggests: Bad boys vs good boys. You can bet I've got me an opinion on this one!


  1. Thanks for posting this! I actually asked an anonymous advice site if they judge books by their covers because I recently got chewed out on one of my posts from someone that basically said "oh, you're one of THOSE people".

    Well it's safe to say that "THOSE people" are like...what, 90% or more of book readers? Who's going to go to the store and pick up the book with the lousiest cover and genuinely have an interest in it? I'm sure that one anonymous judge of mine wouldn't.

    Honestly,'s not like I won't give the book a chance just because I don't like how the front of it looks. The covers of books are designed to attract, so it's kind of pointless to me that some people choose to argue with those who do care about what the cover looks like.

  2. I agree with you, Amber. I even include a seperate cover rating on my reviews. True, I don't really buy books; I'm more of a library person, and so I often sit and read the first chapter before I pick a book up.
    It's more the other way around, where I select a book that has a summary I dislike becuase I'm taking a chance on the gorgeous cover. And yes, nine times out of ten, the book doesn't live up to it. But, on the off chance it does, then my "superficial" attituide rewards me with a book I'd never have chosen otherwise, that is actually quite spectacular.
    Thanks for the discussion!
    -Rachel Star

  3. I totally agree with you ! I can't say I 100% judge a book by its cover but it has a huge impact on me !

    It's been a while since I visited your blog sorry :S I love the design :D !

  4. I actually wrote a post on this a couple of weeks ago, where I admitted that I definitely judge a book by it's cover. Especially when it comes to the movie edition cover (for the books who have movie adaptations) because I hate the movie covers (well I do 9.5 times out of 10) and I can't bring myself to buy them, even if it means going without the book!

  5. I don't think anyone can say that they aren't swayed in some way by a book cover. It IS marketing after all. There's something about a great cover though, it draws my eye and it makes me much more likely to pick it up and check out the synopsis. Of course, I have picked up some books that have had great covers...and the stories just didn't work for me.

  6. I agree with you Amber the cover has a huge impact on the purchase of many books.
    I joined the discussion on my blog.
    Erika@Let's talk about books

  7. I find myself drawn to books and swayed by their covers. I lean more toward realistic photo type covers and am not crazy about illustrated ones. I have purchased many a book by authors I have not read before, based soley on a great covers. You can quickly miss out on some great books by doing this. It almost happened to me with C L Wilson's Tairen Soul series. The 1st two books were given to me. Not knowing the author and based on their covers I wouldn't have purchased them. I am SO glad I gave them a chance. It turned out to be one of my top favorite paranormal series.

  8. I TOTALLY do... I can't help it. It's the initial attraction. If it's not pretty I won;t really look at it...

    Now if I read the synopsis, then see it has an ugly cover I;ll buy the digital one for my Nook! LOL

  9. I actually really love the cover for CITY OF BONES and CITY OF ASHES, but the others in the series didn't do it for me.

    Covers are super important! They can definitely make a purchase for people (or hinder one).

  10. While browsing for books either at the library or book store if a book has an interesting or intriguing cover then of course I'm going to pick it up and read the summary. Not to say I won't pick up a book with a less interesting cover. But yes I covers are important.

  11. I do and dont jusge books by their cover it depends.. for example if i see a cover im attracted to I dont just buy it but I will pick it up read the back and see reviews or rating to see if its worth my time. now books are absolutely fricken amazing that dont have the best cover such as hunger games vampire academy well lets just say I need some convincing. i wont necessarily pick it out but i will eye it and if it comes to my attention again Ill look into it.

    one of my favorite things about books are their pretty cover. thats one of the reasons why I wont buy a kindle i like having the actual book on my shelf so I can look at the pretty cover when I want or show it off lol
    great topic


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