You Judge Books By The Cover, Don’t You?

Discussion Brown

This post was inspired by Books, j’adore’s review of Two Boys Kissing. She mentions how the cover was a bit misleading to the actual book and how that turned others away from reading it. That got me thinking about the fact that I, too, judge books by the cover. Then I started to wonder how much of my opinion is affected by a book’s cover instead of its content.Two Boys Kissing

I don’t know ANYONE who isn’t guilty of judging books by their covers. For a while, I felt really bad when I did this. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I’ve heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” more times than I can count in my lifetime.

However, I think Maria from Books, j’adore is right about the fact that the phrase may be more for people than books. The point of the cover is to reflect the book. It’s supposed to catch attention, but not just any attention-Β the attention that’s going to urge readers to pick up the book and read it.

I think that in order for the cover to do that, it must properly reflect the book so that it can attract the type of people who would ENJOY the book for what it is. Not for what it looks like it might be.

I guess this could go both ways:

– the book cover doesn’t reflect the book, but you like the book anyway, or

– the book cover doesn’t reflect the book, and you end up disliking the book.

In the first scenario, you most likely don’t mind. Sure, the cover could be better and actually give you an idea of the book, but you don’t really care because you like the book anyway.

In the second scenario, it probably really bothers you. You were expecting a book like the one that popped into your mind when you first saw the cover. You might even feel a bit cheated by the fact that the cover is so misleading.

Although, I tend to assume a book is great if it has a fabulous cover- just because. My mind goes “pretty cover = awesome book.” This gets me into tons of trouble because I often end up reading books I don’t like simply because of the cover. Which is both a waste of time (and sometimes money) and can lead to a DNF review. (DNF reviews haunt me if you don’t know, so it’s a very bad thing for me.)

I try to at least base more of my opinion on the summary and other reviews, but the cover DOES play a role in my decision of whether or not to read a book.

You should definitely check out Maria’s review of Two Boys Kissing. It not only inspired me to read the book, but also to write this post! πŸ˜€

What do you think? Do you judge books by their covers? How much do you think the cover plays into your opinion of the book?

14 thoughts on “You Judge Books By The Cover, Don’t You?

  1. I judge books by their covers, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I do it, you do it, we all do it (even if you don’t admit it! πŸ˜‰

    Yes, the book’s cover is supposed to be representative of the book, and sum up the story in one image…as in, a picture is worth a thousand words. When the cover doesn’t fit the book, I feel deceived, lied to by the marketing and design team. When a book’s cover can’t be more perfect, I herald it and sing praises.

    The cover is the initial draw – whether it’s the color, design, font, or the author. It all starts with the cover.


  2. Lol, I’m absolutely not feeling guilty about judging books by their covers. I agree that a book not possessing a eye-catchy is not necessarily bad but I do tend on reading books that have a beautiful cover. THEY are the ones that tell me wheither or not I will buy the book to have at home in my personal library since I do like to admire my books, hehehe. They’re my babies and I feel more attatched to pretty covers. BUT, I don’t just buy a book because it has a pretty cover. No, I read the blurb, check out some reviews and look to see if some of my blogger friends liked it. THEN, I will decide if yes or not I’m going to buy it. Nice discussion. πŸ™‚ And maybe our meaning of pretty are different you know? ^^


    1. Me too! I only keep favorites or books that I liked that had awesome covers on my shelf. Usually it’s both though. Like a favorite + awesome cover. And I totally get what you’re saying, it would be a bit insane to just buy books with cool covers. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚


  3. Great post, Jessica πŸ™‚
    I naturally judge covers, I just do. After all, it’s usually the first thing I’ll see of a book. In an attempt to not be superficial about pretty covers, I always read synopses and will put down books with awesome covers that don’t have interesting summaries. But I have to say–I probably won’t pick up/click on (in the case of Goodreads) a book if I don’t notice the cover.
    I’m very guilty of cover-judging in that if I’m trying to decide which books to display on the front/top of my tiny bookcase, I give the prettier spines high priority. Cover appeal also factors into my decision of whether to buy a physical copy or not.
    I think that authors/publishers/I-don’t-know-who should put quite a bit of effort into cover design, though. It’s not just there to protect the pages, it should reflect the novel. Slapping a model’s headshot along with a title and author name is not only unappealing, it’s a sign (to me) that whoever was in charge doesn’t think the book good enough to put in time to create an awesome cover.


  4. As much as I hate to admit it, covers definitely come into play when I’m making my book-reading decisions. The best example for this I can think of is Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. I’ve actually seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one, so maybe it’s not the BEST example, but the cover is just so off-putting to me that I don’t know if I’d ever be able to bring myself to read it. But I think that if the cover was different, I’d probably be more interested!


    1. Really? I actually kind of like that cover… but it is kinda bright and the font is a bit hard to read. I haven’t really heard much about that book, though, so I probably wouldn’t read it either. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚


  5. Yes I totally judge books by their covers. The covers are my at a glance hint at what the book is about, the genre, and the mood. Covers are very important for picking which book to consider reading πŸ™‚


  6. I think most people do judge books by their cover, I mean they don’t have a cover for nothing and that cover is most likely the image you see first about the book, even before you read the blurb. That’s what I like about cover reveals and books that don’t have a cover yet, you can’t judge them on their cover and it’s interesting to see how that sometime scan change your judgement.

    Also if the book cover doesn’t reflect the book it can happen you never pick up the book because the cover doesn’t reflect the kind of story you want to read.

    I’ve also been mislead by covers a few times, I’ve also had a few cases where the cover was okay and I enjoyed the book, but the cover gave me a whole different idea about the book, then where the book actually was about.


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