Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Book Cover

Following Romance Book Junkies cute post, I am weighing in on the "Do or Don't" judge a book by its cover topic. I do judge a book by its cover initially. Here me out... I majored in marketing and I have an advertising and marketing background. Just as with any product that is being sold, the consumer is attracted by visual representation. Why should a book be any different?

When you are searching the shelves at your favorite bookstore or online there are multiple items to choose from. It's a book lovers playground! What helps you decide which book to pick up? Initially it is the cover. From this point the eye sees what it likes or doesn't like giving the consumer the thought "Pick me up" or "Pass me over, move on". Now once this phased has been completed most people will flip to the back of the book, if the cover attracted them, or read from the middle or end. If you flip to the back side to read the synopsis, you are still essentially judging the book by its cover! It is the backside, but still the cover. Regardless of how you choose to further decide if you will like a book or if you even read about it after liking the cover image, you were initially attracted or not attracted by the front cover. There is nothing wrong with this. As an author, illustrator, editor and publisher your job is to attract customers to your book. Your cover is giving the reader a reason why they should pick up your book over thousands of others. What if someone hasn't read a review and they are blind shopping? They most likely will not pick up every book in the store and read the synopsis. They have to be drawn to the book and this is done by title and cover. Just as you are attracted to a guy in the bar, the snack on a store shelf, the dress in your favorite shop, a killer pair of shoes or any other purchase decisions you make, you will or will not be attracted to a book most likely, if your honest, based on its cover.

That all being said I must say that after you read the book you can no longer judge it by its cover. I don't believe anyone can have an honest opinion of a book until they have read it. There will be those books have look so attractive but when you get into the full package you realize how awful it is. There will be books that you will love so much you'll want to give the cover a well needed makeover so that it will attract others better and with more zeal. Then there are the books that attracted you and have stayed with you. They are steadfast and true. Regardless of your final judgment or review on a book, initially you made a first judgment. That judgment was most likely made based on the cover. I have given horrible reviews to great covers and great reviews to horrible covers! The marketing in me screams to help the great books and commends the awful ones for doing such a great job with their cover. ( I wish the authors had the writing to match!) Based on my truthfulness and opinion on the subject......

Do you?


  1. Thanks for visiting us! I agree completely with what you said. It's the cover that will get me to pick up a book and flip through it, frequently, but it's what's inside the book that convinces me to buy. That being said, I also find that the cover of a book is not just an attention getter - it can be an important clue to what kind of book it is. For instance, woman in a challenging pose, with lots of tattoos, against a murky/dark background? Probably urban fantasy. Light or white background, glossy photos of food? Probably a cookbook. Etc.

  2. I totally agree! The cover can be such insight into the book and the reader might not even fully understand the impact of the cover or title until they start reading it! I love it!

  3. Absolutely! Its appalling how little input some authors get into their covers...Its a surprise to most of them as well until they see the final version :)
    I enjoy following you cause of posts like these - keep them coming! (P.S> I am also a Marketing major in my MBA :) )
    e-Volving Books


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