{DISCUSSION} Judge a Book by its Cover

Do you judge books by their cover?

I think every reader knows that experience of walking into a bookstore because they’re looking for a new book. Maybe they have an idea of what they want. Maybe they’re just there to peruse and see what catches their eye.

Ah! But that’s the key, isn’t it? Catching their eye.

We, as readers, may say “covers don’t matter.” That it’s the story hidden within the depths of the pages that make a book worth it, but… how are you to know what the story is? How are you to know whether to spend the time or money on that book sitting in front of you? How do you know it’ll be worth it? That it’ll even be good?

Straight answer: You don’t.

There is never a sure-fire way to figure out whether that book is going to be good or not. Even if you read 100 reviews before the book, you won’t know. Why? Because you are you. No one knows you or what you’ll like, but you. Which means your only option is to stumble around in the endless maze of books and pray you take the right turn at the appropriate genre and land on the Holy Grail- I mean… a good book. ;p

But how do you even begin to select one from the thousands, maybe millions, of books out there?


Do you know why it takes forever for publishers to get books onto shelves for you to devour and savor? Because of all the little details they worry about before that book is even announced to the public. And the first thing readers will see and hear about, and therefore the most important aspect of marketing a book, is the cover.

In fact, covers are so important that there are release parties- well in advance of the actual book release -just for the cover of the book! Bloggers are recruited to join a single-day event solely to post the gorgeous new cover for the whole world to see for the very first time. (And maybe they’ll post the blurb, too. :p)

Another reason why it’s so obvious that covers are extremely important is because they can change. (as we previously discussedHow often has an entire series been published and then suddenly the cover changes? They re-vamp the entire series with a brand new face, and why? Because it catches the eye! Because it grabs new readers!

Because covers are everything!

I don’t know about you, but I won’t even touch a book if the cover doesn’t catch my eye. Sure, it might be a good book, but I don’t have eternity to waft through the ceaseless tide of books in a bookstore. I may have a half hour at most. Thus, I have to be very selective and decisive when picking up a book to even read the blurb, and I use the covers to choose just which ones to spend more time on.

I also know of many readers, book bloggers in particular ;), who buy a book just because the cover is gorgeous. After all, most readers don’t shove books into a dark closet or box when they’re done with them. They display them. They show them off on their bookshelf like a prize or award, and because bookshelves are so gosh-darn important to readers (as we previously discussed), it’s vital that the cover looks appealing.

But what do you think?
Do you judge a book by its cover?
Let me know in the comments!

And check out my discussion from last week:
ARC vs Final Copy


43 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Judge a Book by its Cover”

  1. I am a book lover I do not exactly go by only the cover, but on the whole the cover and the printed pages also have to be nice. I enjoy reading and like when its a decent cover and the pages are also of good quality 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I feel books are also somewhat like food. The presentation is also important. Of course inside and out both need to go together, But I am not saying they need to have fancy covers like children’s boos ect, but when you look somehow they need to reflect what is inside. I hope you get what I mean 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I rarely go by covers. Mostly because I dislike the current art style of mass published covers. I really prefer the highly stylized covers of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Plus, when you put self-publishing into the mix, the availability of cheap, high quality covers means even really sub-par books can look as good as something you’d see on the shelf at the grocery store or airport. I feel like I’m more apt to be deceived by covers these days, so I go by reviews from trusted sources or very specific groups.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I can attest to that, as well. I can’t even recall the number of YA books I’ve read recently because the cover was snazzy (and the blurb sounded interesting), but they were ARCs. So, I didn’t have any reviews to go off of. Not to mention, I’m overly paranoid of accidentally reading spoilers. :/


    1. Hahahaha! Not a bad way to phrase it. You’re owning up to the fact that you love book covers, particularly older covers. That’s the first step to recovery. 😉 Just kidding! But what do you mean by ‘cheesy?’

      Liked by 1 person

  3. All valid points Melanie! I wrote a post about covers some months ago and also said I would never have read some of my best books based on their covers. It’s because some friends kept pushing these books that I spared them a second glance and tried my luck. I ended loving them! If you’re interested in my intake … here is the link (not mandatory of course!) http://bewareofthereader.com/?p=609 I love reading your “listicles “;-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Sophie! Thanks for sharing your post. I will check it out and it’s kind of crazy how many good stories are hidden behind sub-par covers. Really quite a shame. Though, I don’t have any pushy friends to share books with me. So, I suppose I’ll just stick to cover-judging. :p

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Of course we judge covers. It’s hard not to when that’s the first thing we see and cover reveals are such a big deal. I don’t know about anybody else but I also HATE movie covers, and like we discussed before I prefer that all my covers match in a series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh! I do, too! I’ve been wanting to buy Nerve, but have only been able to find the movie cover. (Which looks cool, but still.) sigh

      It’s just kind of like… why do you have to do that? You know it’ll never look as cool (or be as popular) as the original, art-based cover for many reasons, but mainly (I think) because people can’t imagine their own view of characters anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Mm. My biggest thing with faces is that… I don’t actually fully imagine faces. Hahaha! Even when I’m the one writing the story, I only have like… an outline. I don’t know the full details and am incapable of imagining them in full detail. Which means the face on the cover doesn’t ever look right to me anyway. may have a defective imagination 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Depends. When I go into a store to BROWSE then yes, covers are the big deciding factor. But I usually BUY books based on recommendations or reviews from friends. In those cases, I barely glance at the cover and go straight for the content.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm… Then I guess covers are only important for books/authors we haven’t heard about and for our bookshelves, obviously. 😉

      Though… I don’t really listen to recommendations. >.> I just… find I don’t have the same opinion of books as my friends and fellow book bloggers. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When you’re in a bookstore I think book covers play a big role.

    Personally I prefer to rely on reviews. My favorite way to discover new books is through the reviews & comments that people offer via blog posts and conversations. There are specific people within my circles who have demonstrated that they either have a sharp eye for good stories, or they tend to like the same types of stories that I enjoy. I don’t really believe in relying on reviews in general. I rely on reviews by specific people that I know, either personally or through their past reviews. Granted, I do sometimes look at random reviews to sample contrasting views. Often what really interests me are the exceptions. If I see a book where 90% gave it either a 4 or 5 star review, I’m really curious about the remaining few who only gave it a 1, 2, or 3. Not because I don’t trust that 90% honestly liked the story, but rather because I really value knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a story, assuming of course that the reviewer offers some concrete reasons for their rating.

    In a bookstore, I wander, and sometimes I pick up a book, but I almost always jot down the title and look it up later, see what the reviews say.
    It is funny though, even though I don’t rely on book covers, I do sometimes wish the publishers chose a better one, or find myself preferring one version over another. I know the words don’t change, but it’s always nice to have a beautiful cover that really captures a pivotal scene just like you imagined it. Then every time you see it, you’re right back in the thick of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think a cover is important, especially if it points me to an author new to me. But it is not everything. If the book summary does not appeal, I will not buy it simply because of the cover.
    Also, if I already know and like an author and want to purchase a new book by her, I will still buy it even if I don’t like the cover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. The cover isn’t everything, but for debut authors or indie publishers, it’s the first gateway to pass through to gain readers. And readers are always finding new authors so I’d say there is a pretty hefty emphasis on covers.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I totally agree that covers are everything!!! So many times I’ve been walking through a book store and passed up even reading a synopsis because the cover didn’t appeal to me. Publishers focus so much time and effort now into catching the readers eye and making them interested in what’s on the pages inside! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And, to be honest, I almost wonder if the publishers are spending too much time working on the covers because… personally, I feel that the stories and writing quality has been going down. Makes me worried. :/

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you!!! Finally someone who agrees. 😜 I used to think it was just a hype factor that made me expect more from a book, but I’ve been sorely disappointed by ARCs lately. So I can’t say that’s the reason anymore. I hope it doesn’t continue. I’d hate to think there may come a time when I no longer have any new books I want to read because I know I won’t enjoy them. 😢

          Liked by 1 person

          1. There will always be new books to read! The problem is figuring out what you’re looking for in books at that particular moment. I keep finding myself going towards books I know are “safe” but I think I’ve saturated myself a bit with safe books. I’m sure you know what I mean 😂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hahahaha! My biggest problem is finding a new plot or genre because everything just feels repetitive. I can’t find originality so I guess I am staying in the ‘safe zone.’ I’m trying a horror right now, but… :/

              Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s ALL about the covers…that’s why, if you compare a YA book from 2010-2011 and one now, you will see a significant differences. The art featured more generic faces and more illustrations. Now, books have incredible graphic art that pop from the page (Flame, Warcross, The Glass Spare) so they stand out and are incredibly pleasing to the eye.

    Liked by 1 person

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