Is book cover really important? Kelsey Gulick thinks it is. In her post she concluded that she pays attention to the book cover and makes her choice based on that. I wrote immediately I don’t judge by the cover, but I feel I should ponder on this.
I’m often reminded of the “don’t judge a book by a cover” whenever I go to the bookstore or library. I notice covers, of course. But I think I base my choices on:
- the title;
- the description (it helps the book if there are *no* “recommended” opinions on the cover);
- a fragment in a random place of the book.
When a book covers catches my attention, I usually check those things. I think I didn’t buy a book only because I liked the cover. I remember that Celia S. Friedman’s The Coldfire Trilogy got my attention years ago because it didn’t feature a half-naked woman (moreover not rescued by a mighty warrior with a big sword) but after all I decided to buy it because the story seemed interesting. Lately I get my books mainly from the library, some of the old ones are cover with a grey paper, so I totally don’t see the cover. What I see first is the title, and if the title sounds interesting, I take out the book to read more about it, about the author and a fragment.
While reading I don’t care how the cover looks like. I can read or buy a book with a crappy cover. Like Polish version of Heartland by Jann Turner. This example probably is the best example of “don’t judge a book by its cover” – it was better than the cover suggested. Btw, I can play a crappy looking game, I can watch a crappy looking anime – when the plot is good – and I feel repulsed when all I see is beautiful people on screen because it’s so fake and plastic. Why should a cover matter? I’m reading the contents. All I see is usually just a side of a book on a shelf.
When I’m in the shop or library, I can ignore (omit) some books because of their covers. I usually ignore pastel-coloured covers, film covers or covers with half of a body/face. Such covers aren’t usually found in the science-fiction/fantasy genre which I’m usually reading. Paranormal romance is imho a subgenre of romance, so I ignore it. I have some books with pastel coloured covers… Because I cared about the contents.
On the other hand, I care about covers a lot. I care about quality covers. I’m so tired with all those “stereotypical” covers. One of the sites there was a slideshow of several books, including one by Amy Tan and one by Lisa See. The photo cover on both was really similar, an upper body of a woman in a Chinese dress without a face. Sounds similar? A lot of books had covers like that. So totally not standing out. How should I notice a book like that? Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star (Polish version) cover was so standing out. A bright yellow cover with big black letters. Now, which one would you notice? I don’t understand the idea behind the similarity of covers. Do you?
Do you care about a book cover? Does it influence your choice in any way?