Book covers: we all judge them. And why not?

judgebookbycover imageHow many of you can say that you, honestly, have never chosen, or discounted, a book just from looking at its cover? None of you? That’s what I thought.

From primary school, it is drilled into us that we should ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Of course, it was never meant as ‘don’t just read a book because you think it has a pretty cover’, it was meant as ‘don’t judge someone without getting to know them first’. Yes, I agree that you shouldn’t judge a person without first getting to know them, but I do not agree that you shouldn’t judge a book based on its cover.While you could argue that you are making assumptions based on the books appearance, there are so many great books out there, so why waste your time reading something that doesn’t look interesting? Of course you’re going to judge a book by its cover, and you should; you can tell a lot about a book by its cover.

Imagine this. You need a new book to read, so you wander into a local book shop on your lunch break. You have 15 minutes, as you need to eat lunch as well, so you need to choose quickly. When you walk in the shop, you see a bookcase with a ‘new releases’ sign. On that bookcase are 5 books. You can see a knife on one cover, a spaceship on another, a couple kissing on another, police tape on another, and a cartoon drawing of a dragon on the final cover. You know that you only read romance, so you’re going to go straight for the couple kissing, aren’t you? Of course you are. It makes sense. Why waste time that you can’t really afford to lose reading the blurb of a book that is clearly not something you will read? This way, you can discount 4 books in the ‘New Release’ section, and head over to the ‘Romance’ section.

An attractive cover will always make a book stand out. A good picture with a clear title is bound to attract more attention than a book with clashing colours and a title you can’t read. So, why is it such a taboo to judge a book by its cover? In my opinion, it shouldn’t be. You choose other things based on how they look; clothes, shoes, wallpaper, food – how they look all matters. Why are books so different?

So, is this such a bad thing that books are judged by their covers? Yes, there is a chance that you will miss a book with an amazing story line that is amazingly written, but that chance is very slim in my experience. Usually, a well thought out cover conveys a well thought out plot, with time spent combing the text for mistakes. In contrast, a cover that is difficult to read and understand, usually conveys the same can be said of the plot.

So, go ahead and judge books by their covers. If you like the look of that cover, check out the blurb. If you don’t, keep walking. Yes, you may miss something great, but it’s unlikely, and you can tell a lot about a book by its cover.

So, what do you think? Do you agree? Do you judge books by their covers? Let me know!!


7 thoughts on “Book covers: we all judge them. And why not?

  1. Yes I do. What’s more, I’ve constructed mine specially to show what the book is about, what influenced me and who it’s aimed at (ie people who will get those visual clues and like it because they like the same stuff as me).




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