Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Cover is Worth a Thousand Words

This week I had some input on the cover design of my new book and it got me thinking.

Do people really judge a book by its cover?

According to Wikipedia "a book cover is a protective covering used to bind together the pages of a book." But it's really so much more. It's that all important initial impression. Like buying a house. If you don't like the outside you might not want to go inside.

When I'm browsing in a bookstore, online or physical, and not looking for a specific title or author, an attractive cover will catch my eye. Then I'll read the blurb and the synopsis and if it strikes a chord I'll pull out my credit card.

I believe the cover can be a great sales tool - as long as it doesn't deceive the reader. My pet peeve is characters on the cover who look nothing like the descriptions in the story.

What do you think? Do you judge a book by its cover?



JP said...

Well unless I'm buying a repair manual for a dishwasher the cover more than likely will sway me to first, pick the book up, and than read it. I think it's a make it or break it matter in most cases.

Calisa said...

Gail, I'm the same way. Unless I'm looking for someone specific I look at the covers for one that looks interesting. Not necessarily judging the books, but I do choose attractive, appealing, over bland. It depends on what I'm after in which book I will read a blurb and if the cover art doesn't depict the theme I'm wanting I don't even really look at them. My pet peeves are: 1) characters who don't look like the internal descriptions, and 2)blurbs that lead me to believe I'll be reading one thing and it's completely different when I actually read the book.
I once read a blurb and bought the book only to discover what I read was not even close. I kept flipping to the blurb to make sure I was reading the right book. Too distracting to focus on the read. It's the same with cover art.

Rachel said...

Hey Gale,
I personally don't care for naked men/women in risque positions unless it is an e-book. If I'm carrying a book around that is filled with juicy bits I'd rather not announce it :)

I'm not sure I would say the cover art is what makes me zero in on a particular book. When I'm browsing, it is titles that stop me. I like provocative titles that hint at what is inside. Take Delilah's Unbridled: that makes me stop and think. Or even Amanda Quick's one word books. Reckless, Ravished, Scandal.
Sorry to all the cover artists :)

I will say bad cover art detracts for me. I don't like too many things going on, busy covers turn me off so you are absolutely correct that covers are the first impression and first impressions are lasting so we'd all better get it right!

Great post,

GPS said...

I feel the same way about sitting in the dentist's office (or wherever) and reading a book with a sexy cover. So I have bookcovers in all sizes and decorated with cats, books...

Julia Barrett said...

The topic of covers seems to be all over the blogosphere. I do judge a book by its cover and I do want a cover to reflect, at least a bit, of the themes and or characters inside. A great or even good cover can sell a book, especially when it comes to romance. A lousy cover can kill even the best book.

Denise said...

I have to admit that an interesting cover will catch my eye but it's the blurb that will get me to open the book and the first page will convince me to buy. My pet peeve is when the cover art does not depict the characters correctly--wrong hair colors, location has nothing to do with story, etc. But, I don't discover that until I've read the book so it's not a part of the decisionmaking process. Bottom line, I believe the beauty of a book is more than cover deep. Denise Golinowski