When I take a stroll down the aisles at Barnes & Nobel I go straight to the ya books section and never turn back. I browse the spines of each book picking one up every once in a while and moving them in the light to see how the covers shine. I love marveling at book covers. A beautiful cover can have me gazing at a book for several minutes at a time. I turn it over. I read the synopsis. I take off the book jacket to see what’s underneath if it’s a hardcover. When what’s underneath the book jacket is as or more beautiful then the cover itself I smile, knowing I have just found a precious gem. 

Looking at covers feels very ritualistic for me. Just as much as admiring someone creating art in front of me is ritualistic. Seeing the byproduct of an artists hours of hard work in book form feels special and a lot of the time, I will buy a book solely for its cover. 

As a book lover or really as a human your told to never judge a book by it’s cover. Your supposed to look deeper. To have this innate desire to delve beneath the surface. But in truth, how often do we actually put that notion into practice? When you see a beautiful cover do you not shriek on the inside and immediately want to hold it and admire it and know more? When you see a beautiful cover are you not more inclined to read it? Humans are creatures captivated by beautiful things. Why when it comes to books do we sometimes shame a person that says that the cover is the first thing that attracts them to a book? Isn’t that truer to who we are? To how we actually act on our day to day wheither we think about it or not? 

Out of the over 100 books on my shelves there are only 10 book covers I do not care for and half of those are only because of a change in taste. This is not an accident. I am 100% more likely to buy a book if I love its cover. Do I still read the synopsis? Well sometimes. Do I look at reviews? That’s sometimes as well. Do I have must buy authors? 100% I do! However, if a cover is absolutely gorgeous I’m definitely doing everything I can to get that book on my shelves. 

For a long time I told myself that I don’t judge a book by its cover. I told myself that it was wrong, that a book with any cover imaginable could suprise me and could become one of my favorite books of all time, but that was a lie, it was a lie beacuse my eyes have always skimmed over covers that were not to my taste. It wasn’t even a conscious thing. Gorgeous covers are designed to catch my eye and I feel for it every time and if I’m honest it very rarely steered me wrong. 

So this is my confession: My name is Tiana Wolfe and I judge books by their covers. Is it hard to say? Yes. Should I be ashamed? No. Should I open my eyes to books with covers I don’t particularly like? Probably, but none of that changes the fact that when I walk into a book store and see a beautiful cover the little girl inside me screeches and I’m no longer afraid to say that it’s not good or bad, but just is, a part of me that will never go away. 

Thanks for reading! Let me know what your thoughts are down in the comments! Do you judge books by their covers? How do you decide to pick up a book? 

-Till next time! 

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45 thoughts on “Judging Books by Their Covers: An Unapologetic Discussion

  1. I definitely judge books by covers (and titles!). It helps to understand who they’re marketed at and saves time. A bit like separating the bookstore into genres if you think about it. I’ve some quick rules:

    1. Name of the author is massive, and theirs some moody lighting/fog going on = probably a thriller by James Patterson, so not for me. Unless I’m in the mood for a thriller by James Patterson (in which case the marketing works brilliantly)

    2. Its got ‘Girl’ in the title = trying to recreate the success of Gone Girl, so probably intelligent fiction aimed at women, and not for me. Unless I’m after some intelligent fiction (in which case the marketing works brilliantly)

    3. Has rockets on the front and pictures of astronauts or the NASA logo = THIS IS FOR ME!

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  2. I think the cover is always useful to see who it is aimed at. Also, these days covers don’t seem to go too badly wrong, most manage to look appealing to an audience. I think I am definitely guilty of judging a book by its cover, although I rarely go entirely by the cover alone, usually I will read the blurb as well as check the Goodreads rating.

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    1. Covers are 100% made to catch the eye and it’s good to have a sense of what others think about the story as well (and as a book blogger hearing others opinions on books is inevitable) in truth more often then not I know something about a book before seeing it in stores but sometimes a book is just too good looking to resist.

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  3. I needed this post. Tiana, as always, you sum up your thoughts very well and I love your discussion posts because they’re so interesting and crisp! Keep up the great work! As for me, yes, I judge books by their covers too. I love those books which have a matte kinda feel because that’s how it is. I don’t even know why. Plus books that have minimalistic designs and/or a mysterious cover art satisfy my penchant for hunting down great book covers. P.S: Do keep these discussion posts coming up!! And I do hope you did well in Camp NaNoWriMo! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😭 I completely failed Camp Nanowrimo! Too many things came up this month. I.e. Getting a job, research papers, finals, and the idea hitting for The Raven Book Crate and trying to do what I can to get that set up. I’m happy you enjoyed this post! Honestly, it’s bothering me a bit that my posts have been pretty short lately and that I haven’t had as much time for blogging as I used to. However, I know for right now the missing time is temporary and I should be able to get back into the grove sometime in the future!

      I also have a huge penchant for minimalistic covers! I think they are gorgeous! Plus, mystery is always a good thing to have in life.

      Feeling more inspired then ever.

      -Tiana ❀️

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    1. I am also starting to think it might not have much to do with vanity so much as practicality. Like certain books are marketed to look a certain way for their audience and when you are not the intended audience the look of the book probably won’t appeal to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess that can be true sometimes, but I’m not sure to what extent. Because I love a lot of covers whose stories I end up hating, and vice-versa. It’s really a hit or miss for me.
        So, clearly, either publishers need to do a better job at analysing their audience or I’m broken πŸ˜„

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  4. Covers are meant to get people to buy the book, so I don’t think it’s really unfair of us to judge the book by its cover. I mean, what’s the point of all that time and money spent on designing a cover if it’s not pretty?

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  5. It’s interesting to hear this β€” I too am biased towards pretty covers, and I think it would be hard for most people to claim otherwise with a clean conscience. However, I’ve got limited reading time, so I chose to purchase books largely based on lists labeled: “need to read next”, or “am interested in this topic now” or “this is by favourite author”. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy and “bond” with a beautiful cover, but ultimately I’ve got to make that the last consideration.

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  6. I’m strange in that I don’t judge books by their covers, but by their titles. If a book has an interesting title, I am far more likely to read the synopsis. I do find certain covers more appealing than others, but I will not buy a book solely based on its cover.

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    1. Titles are really important to me as well, but I look at it more in the way they the titile is situated inside the cover itself aesthetically. I still look at other things when it comes to buying books (reviews, synopsis, the tag line, etc.) it’s just that a really good cover can hook me to a book like nothing else can.

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  7. YES. I mean, I judge books by their covers all the time. We bookworms are aesthetic people and we NEED those covers to be aesthetic too. Obviously I know that just because the cover is pretty doesn’t mean it’ll be a good book. But I will still gravitate towards the pretty covers because we humans are visual humans. Love the discussion! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true and basically what your saying is the essence of what I’m trying to get at in this discussion we are all aesthetic people and humans always love to admire beautiful things. So what’s wrong with gravitating towards beautiful books?

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  8. This is so true! I have gone to the bookstore looking for a particular book and will leave with something else just because it catches my eye off the shelf! I have found some of my favorite books by judging by the cover so I’m definitely not ashamed I do it either! Maybe not the author of the book, but someone did work hard on creating the cover so why not appreciate it?

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  9. It doesn’t matter that much to me. I’ve read books for years that haven’t had great covers but amazing stories. Older books shouldn’t be as looked down upon because that’s what they had at the time, especially if it hasn’t been re-done in recent years. It’s a common thing that we do, but I personally read the writing to see if I like it, screen for content and even who the narrator for the audio book lol πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good that you’ve read some awesome books that didn’t have as much of an appeal cover wise. Older books are lovely and I enjoy reading them when I find them at the thrift store regardless of the cover, but over the years it’s been less and less that I do that and I do honestly miss it, but there is something about pretty covers that draws me in and it’s something I can’t ignore.

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  10. Haha No worries, you are not alone in judging books by their covers. I find that more and more readers are fessing up to this habit. I know I definitely do it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this controversial book subject. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I don’t think it is, because the covers are supposed to draw us into a book since that is what we see first when we look at it, if it works out we buy it, if it doesn’t we don’t. It’s with a lot of things in life. πŸ™‚

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  11. At least 80% of the time I choose books by their covers. By that I mean the cover acts as the ‘hook’ which leads me to then read the blurb – which in turn determines whether I’ll add the title to my TBR. Hence my creation of my “Cover Love” blog post series. https://fictionophile.wordpress.com/cover-love-series/

    The other 20% of the time I might read a novel despite an unattractive cover if I’ve read great reviews about it, or if it is highly recommended by someone whose reading tastes I respect.

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