Never judge a book by its cover

8 Feb

How often have you heard the phrase, never judge a book by its cover? and how many times have you completely ignored it?

We all do it.

My personal favourite reads are crime thrillers, but I really don’t like there covers. My favourite covers are Sophie Kinsella type designs, light and fluffy if you like – I will admit I am partial to reading a bit of chick lit, and I am not ashamed.

As most of you know, i read whatever comes my way. I like my books to be well read. I feel guilty reading a brand new book….I don’t know why, I think it has something to do with the way I abuse books. My worse habit is reading in the bath, and yes I have often dropped them.

This as a whole, leaves me little room to judge. However, given two or three books at a time, I will read them in order of my favourite cover. Oh yeah, and have i ever mentioned that I don’t read the blurb on the back?

Anyway, as many of you know I have thought about my book cover, what I want, what appeals. We now know, what I want doesn’t matter, it’s what my target audience wants.

But how do I know? What if they are like me and actually don’t care? Or, what if, they do care, and a slight misalignment puts the reader off? As for all of this with it must work as a thumbnail image….do people actually look? I for one, when looking at texts online (normally for uni so I accept this is slightly different), care more about the blurb, and reviews. the cover doesn’t come into it.

So what is important to you? Is it the content, the cover, or the review? All three perhaps? – Or is it you are just attracted to your own favourite genre style? Have you ever dismissed a book to then later realise your mistake? Thoughts please.


9 Responses to “Never judge a book by its cover”

  1. submeg October 30, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    I will look at the covers, but I will also read the blurb. The cover doesn’t hold much importance, but if the blurb sounds boring, I won’t read it.

    • Ellie October 31, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

      Since writing this post I have to admit I have also started reading the blurb. One reason only. I read the most dire novel. Following this I picked up a book and couldn’t get beyond the first page – that hasn’t happened to me since Lord of the Rings! Now I am somewhat cautious, but still will try everything.

  2. Jessica S February 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I’m sure I should give a great plug for the importance of content here, but it’s not going to happen. When I look at eBooks (and print books, for that matter), if the cover is awful, I won’t pick it up to read the blurb. However, if the cover is simply amazing, and the blurb is just so-so, I’ll give the writer the benefit of the doubt. I love hard backs, and I have been known to buy a book just so I could add the cover to my library at home. Not a great way to save money, but it probably is my one buying vice.

    So, Ellie, if you’re looking to target readers like me, cover cover cover!!! No pressure, but that thumbnail must look vivid and enticing, and become more so when that thumbnail gets bigger. 🙂

    • Ellie February 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

      I know, my head is hanging in shame and i am pulling that little puppy dog look…the one I hope will mean I don’t get detention lol!

      the thing is I know the importance, I really do….Right if I dont hear tomorrow about uni covers etc, we shall get this sorted. No more messing. Time to put the professional hat on!

  3. Charlotte February 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Some of everything, for me. There’s no doubt covers are important, especially when you’re shopping in a physical book shop – it’s the first thing you see, and the only initial way of picking the few out of the rows and rows of books available. The ones I pick up first are the ones that catch my eye.

    However, the next thing I always do is read the blurb. If it doesn’t interest me, I’ll put the book back, no matter how beautiful the cover was.

    Reviews mean less to me, especially those ‘endorsements’ that are plastered all over the front and back cover. I don’t trust them. I pay more attention to reader reviews on, say,, but even then I take them with a pinch of salt, because they are usually opinions. Just because a few people didn’t like the book on a subjective level doesn’t mean I won’t.

    So I suppose the blurb is probably the part that is most important to me.

    • Ellie February 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

      So actually for you, if purchasing online, you will go by the content rather than anything else…as it should be. Having said that, i bought a book yesterday by cover only. I know. I can’t believe it either. It has a black cover and the title is in red and white. I don’t know why, but I just thought, ‘I have to read that.’ How bizarre!

      Nice to hear from you again.

      • Charlotte February 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

        Actually yes, quite true. Maybe that’s partly why I prefer shopping online for books, these days – one can largely skip the cover art issue altogether and go straight to the content.

        Can’t say I blame you for buying entirely for covers, though – I love beautiful art and I sometimes get that urge when I see a really good one, just to own the gorgeousness of the cover. And it does give a sort of subliminal belief that the contents must ‘match’ the cover in some way.

        Let us know how that one turns out – whether the story was as good as you expected, or whether it made sense with the cover art. It’d be interesting!

  4. Michele DeFilippo February 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    There’s no way to predict what font or image another person may like, but if the cover designer and client stay focused on what the cover is supposed to DO, then the cover design will be a success.

    See my blog post contrasting some self-published and bestseller covers here. As you’ll see, the bestsellers look deceptively simple, but they accomplish one critical goal. They make the prospective buyer want to know more, and that’s when people buy.

    Michele DeFilippo
    1106 Design
    Your Book. Designed. With Hand-Holding.

    • Ellie February 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

      I think the problem is we all like to believe that we are budding artists inside, just waiting for the opportunity to be released. Thank goodness most of us have the sense to know that although we may think we are capable, we most certainly aren’t!

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