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Booking Through Thursday — Cover

April 21, 2011

It’s Thursday and time for Booking through Thursday.  Today’s Question is as follows:

CAN you judge a book by its cover?

My Answer …

Well for starters I think this is a poorly worded question.  Anyone CAN judge a book by its cover.  You look at a cover and you judge it … done.  So should the question really be Do you judge a book by its cover or Should you judge a book by its cover?  My answer to this is it depends.

If I am just browsing through the shelves at a bookstore, after the title, the cover is the first thing I am going to see.  If it is eye-catching and appealing the odds of me reading the synopsis increases.  If it is ugly and not very well done it can be an easy turn off and I may set the book down without reading any further about it.  However, this is all assuming the title hasn’t caught my attention completely.  Sometimes I will be so intrigued by the title that I will ignore the frills and decorations and go straight for the meat of the book.  I have some books at home with some really ugly covers, but have some really interesting titles and intriguing synopses.

Should books be judged by their covers? Of course not, but it would be nice if all publishing houses put the time and effort to create beautiful and aesthetically pleasing book covers.  Of course what may seem aesthetic to me, may not to another, just as one book may be enjoyable to me and may be completely boring for another.

Really covers can just be used as another litmus test when we decide what we want to read.  We can’t use them as definitive answers, because if we judged all of the books out there by their covers we would most likely miss out on some great books to read.

I recently read a book that was beautifully written but had a really unappealing cover (or at least unappealing to me):

What do you think of the cover?  How would you judge the book?  I loved the book (review here), but if I had spotted this at a book store I would never have picked up the book based on the cover.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2011 7:09 am

    I wonder if authors have a say so in the covers for their books?-I probably would in a quick view decide the cover you showed in your post is for a very sentimental book and would probably not buy it-

  2. April 21, 2011 7:10 am

    You know normally I wouldn’t like that pattern on anything else but I like the look of the book. It is a little much but it has a different look. Happy Reading!

  3. April 21, 2011 7:28 am

    I think your comments are spot on. We all use that first litmus test with the cover if we are just browsing. As for the cover you have here – no, it’s not particularly appealing. I think this is why you see so many covers change from the hardback to the paperback versions.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  4. April 21, 2011 7:35 am

    I do like your example of book covers being like a “litmus test.”

    Here’s MY BTT POST

  5. April 21, 2011 7:37 am

    I definitely agree with you on the alternative verbs. Can – is it possible to obtain reasonable evidence about the book from its cover. Should – is this a viable book appraisal method. Do – one’s personal habits.

    At first I thought that book cover was lovely – I liked the pattern and the floral colours, then I looked closer and think it’s hideous!

  6. April 21, 2011 8:29 am

    I couldn’t agree more as there are loads of good books with not so great covers. And I also look at titles a lot too, so maybe that will be a question for next time, judging a book by its title! 🙂

  7. April 21, 2011 10:41 am

    The cover draws you into the book,hopefully it’s right about the content.

  8. April 21, 2011 12:40 pm

    I think for me the cover of a book really doesn’t make a difference to me. Your answer made me realise that when I do go into a book shop (usually I get my books online) I pull a book off the shelf and immediately read the back mostly I will decide to by before I even look at the front cover.

  9. April 21, 2011 1:19 pm

    I do believe it’s definitely a mistake to judge a book by its cover, but I’m afraid I’m guilty of doing just that, now and then. Foolish, I know – but I never seem to learn my lesson!

  10. April 21, 2011 7:49 pm

    Great answer! I think you said it perfectly.

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