Monday, October 1, 2007

Judging a Book, October 2007

By Fence

The cover of a book has always been important. Why else would we be warned to "never judge a book by its cover" if that was not the case? We are warned so that we don't go along with those first impressions but instead dig a little deeper and wait until we have read the book before we judge it. Today it is so easy to buy books online. There are more titles to choose from, books are often cheaper, and we can instantly find what we are looking for. But at the same time it means that don't get to pick up a book. We don't get to flick through it and read a random sentence. We don't get the feel of the book when we are browsing online. Sure, many online sellers offer customer reviews, or let us read the first page, but it isn't the same. And I think that often we let ourselves be persuaded by the cover art that we see. Those little thumbnail pictures that grab our attention as we scan through pages and pages of titles.

We do use the cover art to make a decision. And why shouldn't we?

And when there are different versions of the same book available, well, then the cover becomes even more important.

It is a superficial way of making a judgement call, and really, the cover design of a book tells us very little about the words inside. A book with a stunning cover may end up being the most disappointing read. And of course the opposite is just as likely. A boring cover may conceal a wonderful read.

But that doesn't really matter to me. I don't judge a book by its cover; I judge its cover by its cover. A great cover might pique my interest in a particular book, but it isn't the be all and end all of why I read or don't read a book. That is down to the words inside. Of course I do love a well designed cover. Whether it is simplistic and plain or ornate and filled with details doesn't really matter once it works as a whole. Of course what works for me might not work for you. That's the beauty of personal taste. What I love you may hate. What I hate, you may love. And no one can tell you that you are wrong, or I am right. Both of us are, and neither of us are.


Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

so true!!!

Heather T.

Chris said...

Great one, Fence :) I've bought so many books just for the cover, and you're absolutely's not a telling sign that the book will be good, but at least it's something pretty to look at :p

Debi said...

Wonderful article!
"I don't judge a book by its cover, I judge its cover by its cover." So perfectly said!

Rhinoa said...

I do pick books up sometimes that I wouldn't normally because of the cover and I am not ashamed of it. I do prefer to buy books in actual shops even if it is a little more expensive. I don't want them to disappear from the high street and I love to flick through them. Anything I can't find then I will get it online.