Friday, 4 March 2016

When you SHOULD judge a book by it's cover

It's funny how the phrase 'don't judge a book by it's cover' applies to everything except books. I know a lot of the time a book may have a terrible cover with a great story inside it, but we shouldn't neglect our beautiful books either! They are just as capable of being beautiful on the inside too (the same goes for people).

There are plenty of amazing books I would have never even touched had I not initially judged them for their outer beauty. It's the job of the cover designer to give you a taste of what you're about to read before you read it, and if they don't do that successfully then they aren't doing their job properly!

An example I've mentioned before is The Bone Clocks. Look at that cover, isn't it simply gorgeous?

I'd read and loved David Mitchell before, but I initially wasn't so keen on picking up The Bone Clocks. The reason? Because it used to look like this:

I'm sorry for judging you so quickly, dear book, I really am. I almost missed out your incredible story.

It wasn't until I saw the new cover of The Bone Clocks that I decided to actually give it a read, and the rest is history. Sure, it's not right for me to assume a book will be bad based on the cover, but when you're browsing a bookstore, you're not going to pick up every book in order to judge it by the blurb or the first page. You're going to pick up a book with an interesting title and a cover that appeals to you. It's why I picked up Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It's such a photogenic book that I couldn't possible buy it on my kindle. 

I'm talking up judging a book by it's cover a lot here. But the technique has failed me before. For example, I only noticed Delirium because of it's glossy new cover in Waterstones and decided I must have it. I knew the plot was romance focused which typically doesn't appeal to me, but I pushed that out of my mind. Cue the disappointment. I was blinded by a pretty cover.

Another thing about juding books by their appearance is that we all have our different ideas of beauty. For example, I HATE IT when books have people on the cover. Especially faces. It's got nothing to do with how I imagine characters - I can't explain it. I just don't like them and there's a 80% chance I will not pick up the book. I faced a huge problem when the Artemis Fowl series changed it's covers - not just because I had the first 3 in the previous covers, but because these new ones had hideous CGI style faces on them. *shudders*

But if I hadn't put aside my initial judgements about people on book covers, I would have never picked up Clockwork Angel from The Infernal Devices series - a series that way a big part of my early teens. So who am I to say I have good judgement when it comes to book covers?
How do you feel about judging a book by it's cover? Are there any books that you've not touched just because you don't like the cover? If you picked it up later, what made you change your mind?


  1. I try not to judge a book by it's cover, but it's so hard sometimes. Some covers are just so beautiful that I'm drawn to them regardless about the blurb on the back or what it's about.

    I do try to give some books the benefit of the doubt when a cover isn't as appealing to me. And I adore when book covers are redesigned and made more beautiful!

    1. I am the same. I try to avoid buying a book simply for the cover, but if even a fraction of the blurb interests me then I'm sold. If I don't like a book cover I often either buy a kindle copy or borrow the book from the library - especially if it has good reviews. Covers I don't like can be great because they save me a lot of money :')