Feature: Let’s Talk about Books – Judging a Book by the Cover

Welcome to a new feature here at The Bibliophile Chronicles. Each week we’ll be taking the time to look at some different topics in the book world. Feel free to comment with your opinions and ideas, I’d love to hear from you!

Do you judge a book by its cover?

This is a well known saying, and many would stand up and say “No, the cover is not important – the content is what really matters.” And I would have to agree, the cover is unimportant if the story is an amazing one, but with so many books out there, there has to be something that makes you pick one over another, right?

I recently attended an event run by The Society of Young Publishers, and Canongate’s  Rafaela Romaya stated that she was in the business of “selling books by the cover.” She argued that humans are visual people, and the books they publish are designed to look good in a home, whether it be on a shelf or on a coffee table. She argues that particular detail is taken on the spines for that exact reason. So clearly a lot of work goes into creating a beautiful cover, bit what effect does that have on the buyer?

In the past I would be one of those people who would stand up and say “actually, I don’t judge a book by the co21017636ver,” but I think in some capacity, we all do. I am often told by friends and family that I have a “book type” that the cover often contains swords, or crowns a female warrior or a dragon. This is probably correct, and clearly book covers are designed with that in mind. Genre is immensely important and a book cover goes a long way in deciding which genre that book falls into.

With the price of a new book not exactly being cheap, every aspect of the book has to draw the reader in if they are going to take it home and make it part of their collection. The cover, the font and the colour all things that draw the reader in, and as I look at my shelves I see so many books that in my opinion, have absolutely beautiful colours.

Of course a book can have a bad cover and be a completely wonderful story, but when standing in a book store surrounded by books, a beautiful cover might be just the little nudge that makes you take it off the shelf.

So from now on, I might stop saying “don’t judge a book by the cover” and start saying that perhaps the cover is one of the most important elements of all.

What do you think, do you judge a book by the cover? Or are you purely interested in the story. Do you have a certain type of cover that immediately draws your eye? Let me know in the comments! 

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5 thoughts on “Feature: Let’s Talk about Books – Judging a Book by the Cover

  • What's She Reading?

    I’m right there with Aj. A really, really good synopsis can override a bad cover, but the odds of me picking up a book with a bad cover is slim. The thing for me is that I, for some reason, associate bad covers with cheap quality writing and I don’t generally enjoy books like that.

  • Rachel

    I used to think I was immune to this, but I’ve realised that even on NetGalley (where the investment is seconds of time, rather than pounds of money) I’m far more likely to click through to learn more about a book with a gorgeous cover. Sad but true! There have been some STUNNING covers this year though 😉