Judging Books by Their Covers

I admit it.  I’m a book cover snob.  I never really thought about it until just now, when someone on Twitter posted this Pinterest page displaying a bunch of book covers.  I liked some of them, true.  But for the most part, I found a lot of the covers to be way too busy for me.

Maybe they’re too pulp?  I don’t mind actual pulp fiction, but I really find most pulp fiction covers grating.

UK cover of The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Come to think of it, I initially got hooked on Julia Quinn because of the UK covers of her Bridgerton series (though I love her writing too).

Rocked by this (kind of) sudden realization, I despaired at the possibility of being a “shallow” book consumer.  Has my reading life been a lie all along?

(Yes, I know that’s a tad melodramatic.  But I have a point, I promise).

That’s why I started to look for people who legitimize judging books by their covers.  Hey, a girl needs to validate her unconscious habits!  So what did I find?

  1. Judging a Book by Its Cover (A Blog) – Apparently, there’s an actual blog out there that does book reviews based on nothing but the cover.  It’s freaking brilliant. BRILLIANT, I tell you!
  2. Judging a Book by Its Cover (An Article/Post) – This fairly old post on GeekDad recognizes the effect of having the right kind of cover to attract the right kind of reader.  In other words, the cover is meant to market the book (so you better get it right).  So really, covers are important.
  3. The Caustic Cover Critic – Let me just say that this guy just has some of the best reflections on book covers, especially with regards to the actual contents of the book, the book titles, and the overall appeal (or lack thereof) to him as a consumer.  I recommend this particular post:  Odd Titles, Dull Covers.

Having been validated, I moved on to contemplating my own book cover preferences:

  • Largely minimalist
  • Effective balance of image and text
  • The text must NEVER take up the entire cover (unless they’re business or self-help books)
  • The image must NEVER look like it’s just tacked on
  • Basically if the cover looks like it was made by someone who clearly didn’t know how to at least use PhotoShop effectively, I will pretend that book doesn’t exist.

I’m sure there are more elements that affect my book cover pickiness, but those are the major ones.

But what about you guys?  Do you judge books by their covers?  What do you like or don’t like to see?

EDIT:  Speaking of book covers, one of my favorite authors Susan Elizabeth Phillips is asking for people to vote for the cover of her next novel.  If you like her work too, please vote. 🙂

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