Monday, September 17, 2007

Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Ah, the all important cover. It's the first thing we see when cruising for a new read, and often, if we aren't familiar with an author or the book in question, it can determine whether or not we pick said book up.

So, what makes you pick up a cover? Is it a hot male torso? A classic clinch? Or something more mainstream?

And here's another question: How do you feel about reading a book only to find out the cover isn't true to the story? Say the heroine has short red hair in the book, but the cover shows her with long blonde locks. Or there's an ocean scene on the front when they actually went to a lake. Would that bother you or not?

What are some of your favorite covers? Have you ever read a book with an awful cover only to find out the book was amazingly good? Or picked up a book because of its great cover only to find out the book was suckworthy?

Let's talk covers!


  1. I'm probably going to get hit over the head for this, but...
    covers don't mean that much to me.

    The title gets me to pick it up and the blurb will get me to read it or not.

  2. I admit that covers do play an important part in picking a book from the shelf. It's what sets it apart, attracts my attention. That's why I was so disappointed to see the cover for the latest Lilith Saintcrow's book. Her previous two books had such lovely covers...

    And now Orbit is putting manga-style covers on their romance books for Liz Maverick, etc. I didn't notice they were actually romance novels until I overheard a manga fan make a comment about how those books were "fakes." I ended up buying one, but I ripped off the cover.

  3. I definitely am first attracted to a book by its cover. That's the first thing that catches my eye and helps me decide if I want to read the back copy blurb. And I've read several of those books where the people (if there are people on the cover) don't match their description in the story. Drives me crazy! I have to admit that aside from the obvious of not liking the stereotypical clinch covers, I prefer NO people on the covers. I like to allow MY imagination conjur up the her and heroine's appearance based on the author's description. There have been a few times where I haven't purchased a book because the hero on the cover is a total turn-off for me. Once I see the artist's rendition, I can't view the hero or heroine in any other way. Gee, am I that shallow? ;-) Hopefully I'm not the only one that has felt that way from time to time :-)


  4. Covers can make or break a book, sadly--and I say "sadly", because even editors (much less lowly authors) have very little control over how the cover comes out. The art director almost never reads any part of the manuscript, so even though the editor provides character descriptions, hair/eye color mistakes are common.

    For me, personally, that stuff is mainly meaningless. I do love a good, innovative cover--but usually I look at it as a totally separate entity from the book itself. A great cover will make me pick up a book, but only the author, the quality of writing on the first page, or the back cover copy can make me buy the book.

    Cover elements that always get me: sexy fruit (e.g., cherries), closeups on body parts (just an eye and part of the face, just a mouth, just the legs from the knee down), women from the back, with some kind of interesting tattoo or corset situation.

  5. I'll second Jennifer's comment, it's the title that gets me and then the blurb. As far covers, though, I'm not getting this foot fetish that seems to be going around. I've read at least 3 or 4 books this summer with either one foot, two feet or a leg from the knee down on the cover. Hmmm? It makes me wonder the cover artist used to work for a shoe catalog.

  6. Sometimes I'll pick up a book just because of the cover - especially when I'm hitting the thrift store, and I won't be wasting money if the books stink. The worst hit I took was a paperback by a writer I don't remember - the cover drew my eyes and the blurb sounded interesting. Too bad the book wasn't worth the '3 for a quarter' I paid for it. One surprise I found just from the cover was a book called 'Fearless Jones'. Flashy neon colors, neat title - and ended up being one heck of an enjoyable read.

  7. Anonymous9:50 PM

    I like a nicely done clinch cover :)

  8. A quirky cover or title will pull me in. I hate cinch covers. Bright colors, wit, a good blurb, those are the things that grab me.

  9. The worst cover I ever saw was the one they gave Suz B for Lucky's book. Fortunately, the cover didn't deter me from buying the book because the story was fab.

    I usually like covers without people on them.

  10. Recently read a book where the girl on the cover had short, straight, light-blonde hair. Heroine in the book had long, curly, black hair. Bugged me every time I picked it back up and saw her face.

  11. I won a grab bag of books once and put off reading one particular book because the cover just sucked! But when I had nothing else to read, I picked up that one and started reading it and was angry with myself for waiting so long because the story was better than all the other ones with the good covers.

    Ever since them I pay more attention to the blurb and reviews than I do to the cover art.