Confession: I Judge Books by Their Covers (And I Bet You Do, Too)

I’ll admit it.  I judge books by their covers.  98% of the time if the cover doesn’t appeal to me, I won’t pick up the book (or click on it) and read the blurb.  And publishing companies know this.  That’s why they spend lots of time and money designing beautiful (or at least eye-catching and interesting) book covers.  That’s why self-published authors pay independent book cover designers good money to make their book look professional and appealing.

the vault of dreamers by caragh m obrien

There’s just something so pretty about a bookshelf full of beautiful book covers.  Online book retailers will never be able to duplicate that beauty.  Ever.  When I go into a bookstore, especially an indie one that pays a lot of attention to appearance, I tend to spend a heck of a lot more money than I do shopping for books online.  My eye is drawn to all the pretties.  Shiny, glittery, cluttered, clean, all the different possibilities for cover design.

queen of someday sherry ficklin

Of course, judging books by their covers has its drawbacks.  I’m sure I’ve overlooked some amazing self-published or indie books because the covers didn’t appeal to me.  The only way I’d ever pay attention to such books is by reading reviews by other book bloggers.  I read a review on Chapter Break the other day with a low-budget cover (I can’t find it now, but when I do I’ll update this post), where Julie said that the cover didn’t do the book justice.  She said it was an occasion where she’s glad she didn’t judge the book by its cover, because it turned out to be awesome.

Then again, sometimes I’ll love a book’s cover and hate the book.  Or at least dislike the book.  One such recent example for me was Beau, Lee, The Bomb, and Me.  The cover is (in my opinion) super cute and appealing.  So I then read the blurb, which sounded interesting.  And then I read the book, which was so not amazing.


But I’m successful enough at choosing books by their covers that I don’t think I’ll change my ways anytime soon.  Don’t look at me like that.  I’m pretty darn sure that you judge books by their covers, at least some of the time.

To what extent do you choose what books to read based on the cover?  What other criteria do you use when deciding whether a book is worth your time?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. A book’s cover is what initially will make me click on it, read the blurb, check-out reviews, etc. However, I very rarely will purchase a title based on that alone. I won’t lie, it does happen, but I’ve been burned one too many times to make my decision just on that one aspect.

  2. Julie

    So you already know I’m a judge-by-the-cover kind of gal. I just can’t equate good writing and good editing to poor cover art choices. But sometimes authors buy really nice stock photos and their book isn’t up to par. So yea there are drawbacks, but I can’t fight my nature heh.

  3. A book cover is kind of important to me. I originally refrained from reading The Selection because the cover looked strange to me. I dragged my feet before reading Cinder because the cover just seemed WEIRD. I don’t like that I judge covers, it’s unintentional but still happens!! Great post 🙂

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