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Musing Mondays: Book Covers

July 13, 2009

We all know the old adage about not judging a book by it’s cover, but just how much sway does a book cover have when it comes to your choice of book – whether buying or borrowing? Are there any books you’ve bought based on the cover alone?

Musing Mondays @ Just One More Page

I’ve never understood the relation between the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ and an actual book cover; the saying isn’t about books at all. The whole point of a book cover is to manipulate (better yet, to influence) you to buy the novel. The aesthetics of a book holds enormous sway of a buyer, not only the cover but also the size, feel and shape can all influence. Think about if for a moment, a person would be instantly attracted to a book that is unusual; perhaps it has a different size than the norm; the cover is holographic for example, whatever, the point is that people are drawn to something that is aesthetically-pleasing (or the opposite). It doesn’t mean they’ll buy it, but publishers want you to pick the book up.

A book cover is extremely important and I love finding ones, both good and bad. I’ve seen some ugly ones, and I’ve seen some beautiful ones. There’s unique ones, strange ones, bold ones, what-the-hell ones, abstract ones. It takes talent to design a cover and I think it’s a bit naive to say that people aren’t influence by a cover.

Here are some good covers that I’ve seen:


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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2009 9:22 pm

    Jeez, those are some funky covers. I wish my cover of Brave New World or A Clockwork Orange looked like that. They’re surprisingly banal.

    I think people are swayed by covers unless, they always stick to what’s on their TBR, and don’t go out doing random browsing. More than half my books are results of random browsing – which is why my TBR seems to be growing exponentially.

  2. July 13, 2009 11:31 pm

    I’ve admired some of these same covers. Another question I like to ask is how many book design awards are given to bad books with great design? None that I can recall off the top of my head. Publishers reserve the investment in good design and high production value for books of merit. So impulse pick away. There is a genius in marketing somewhere who knows you will like a particular book.

  3. July 14, 2009 12:54 am

    uncertainprinciples – I like going into a bookshop and just having a browse, you tend to find some great books that way.

    Frances – I agree although this is one exceptionally bad cover: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Assassination-Jesse-James-Coward-Robert/dp/0285637541/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247529187&sr=1-1

  4. July 14, 2009 5:43 am

    Very cool covers. I recognized some of them (from this). I love good covers – they can definitely enhance the reading experience for me.

  5. July 15, 2009 9:29 pm

    I guess that says a lot about people, because I would put those covers in the ugly pile, and I would not pick them up to read what’s on the back. Such a shame, but I am drawn to different covers. Color, people, scenery

    • July 15, 2009 11:26 pm

      Fair enough, but that’s the thing there’s a cover for everyone. 🙂

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