Random Musings

Judging A Book By Its Cover

You know the phrase. We all know it.

Image result for don't judge a book by its cover

Yet, I absolutely, totally do it

It’s not always in a bad way, like being automatically turned off by a book if the cover isn’t up to what I believe the standard to be (and how did I create this mental standard? Who bloody knows). Like, if I hear about a book and it sounds really promising and has a really awesome premise, I’m definitely going to read it, even if the cover ends up looking like shit. I am guilty of, however, perusing through books and looking at the covers to grab me and if it doesn’t, then there’s a pretty good chance that I won’t pick up a book unless I already have a connection to it, i.e., I’ve read the author before, I’ve heard about it, etc.


I know this is a bad thing to do, but…yeah, still totally guilty.

I am, also, totally guilty of the opposite. If a book has a phenomenal cover that completely catches my eye, half of the time, I’ll be tempted to check out/buy the book without even reading the back blurb to see if it’s interesting. I’ve actually found some really awesome books this way (can I remember any of them off the top of my head? No, of course not, that would be too convenient and make too much sense). So maybe that erases my sin of being so judgmental towards book covers? Maybe?

I’m not really sure why I equate good book cover art to good writing, because that’s certainly not always the case. It definitely does a disservice to books that might not have had the opportunity or the funds to make super quality art and I know I’m probably missing out on some gems (not that my To-Read list needs to get any longer, by any means, but still). It’s just an interesting quirk I’ve noticed I have and probably a sin in the book lover’s world.

I’m curious: any of you suffer from the same fault as me? If you used to, were you ever able to break that habit (and if you did, how)?


9 thoughts on “Judging A Book By Its Cover”

  1. I’m a fiend for the blurb: I’ll browse through piles and piles of books in the library/book store/whatever, and while an interesting cover or title might catch my interest, it’s the blurb that determines whether the book makes it onto my ‘to read’ list. I have read so many bloody blurbs in bookstores and then never bought the book haha.

    1. That’s fair, too. A solid blurb is always a great pull-in (which is why I get so stressed out that I’m shit at writing query letters, which I consider close-ish to writing blurbs) XD.

  2. I think there is something subliminal about picking some books because of their covers; I definitely have bought different editions of books I already own because they came out with limited/new artwork that I really like (see my reviews of Folio society editions haha). I buy a lot of my books online from used bookstore sites; usually they are older and have had different printings so I typically buy the one that is most aesthetically pleasing (and best quality for the money I spend). That being said, I think it is usually the title that grabs me when browsing in a bookstore rather than the cover. Just my two cents; great post!

    1. Oooh, that’s a fair point. Whenever I’m shopping for books on ThriftBooks, I’ll usually choose the cover that I think is the prettiest/most appealing. I completely forgot I did that! I am also a sucker for a good title. It just blows my mind about how much aesthetics can impact opinions. Thanks for offering your two cents, I’m always glad to hear it! 🙂

  3. I’ve been told by my students that there is a section/part in “Blink” that talks about just this. And they then went on to say that out of all of Malcom whatever his last name is, book’s that they enjoyed that cover the most and it’s why they chose it to read from their book list.

    I ALWAYS judge books by their covers/titles – to pick up – then I read to determine if it goes in my bag. It’s the worst bc, as you know, I have over 140ish books in my home that I haven’t even read. All because of titles, blurbs and covers.

  4. Oh, definitely. The title/cover are things that initially catch my eye, especially for authors/series I’ve no previous connection to (as you mention). The blurb and/or first page are then the “deciding” factors, though I don’t always plan to buy a given book right then even if I want to. I can SOMETIMES respect my book budget enough to wait to buy a new one until it’s in budget… SOMETIMES.

    1. I like the *sometimes* emphasis. 😉 Book buying is definitely my weakness. It’s been so interesting to see how many people switch between covers, blurbs and titles as their main hooks/decision makers.

  5. With so many books out there I think it’s inevitable. Had I hundred lives I’d still never be able to give every book a proper chance.
    I’ve definitely picked up books because of their covers.

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