Do Book Covers Matter to You?

When you’re looking through a bookstore, seeing if there are any interesting books to buy, the cover is one of the first things you notice. But is it really that important when you decide whether to buy a book or not? What about eBooks? Does the cover matter?

I find I don’t look at the cover so much as I read the book’s back cover description for eBooks. I often look at covers for print books, though. But I always go to the back cover to read it. Often, the title is what attracts me to it. If it’s by an author I like, the cover usually doesn’t matter at all.

What about you? What’s the most important thing for you when you buy a print book and an eBook? Let me know in the comments below.

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37 thoughts on “Do Book Covers Matter to You?”

  1. I don’t know if it’s the most important, but I’m a cover junkie. A good cover will make me read the blurb. If something has a mediocre cover, I’ll probably never get to the blurb. I’m a hard sell, cover leads to topic, if it sounds good I’ll probably bite.

    1. I love looking at covers, and there are many fantasy novels that have beautiful landscapes. That’s what drew me to fantasy in the first place, actually. But these days, I’ll overlook a mediocre cover and read the blurb.

  2. The cover doesn’t seal the deal for me, but it helps. Unfortunately SF/F (especially urban fantasy) does tend to fall into the trap of using the same cover theme — grainy picture of long-haired guy or girl in leather and looking over their shoulder, prowling the back alley looking for a monster, for instance. And when that happens, I end up passing the book by, even if it might be good. I’m not asking for cover artists to be unique each time out, just to mix it up now and again.

    [Shameless self-plug: This is precisely why I chose the cover I did for A Division of Souls. Mysterious and ominous, but not stereotypical. :p]

    1. You know, I find myself less interested in a cover if it has a person on it. If it’s fantasy, I like seeing the landscape. It gives me a good idea about the world it’s set in. Sci-fi covers with planets or spaceships appeal to me more.

      And I marked your book as to-buy on Goodreads πŸ™‚

  3. The cover is only the bait, the blurb is the taster, but the quality of the story and presentation (editing, formatting, spelling, grammar and flow) are what attract readers back to the author’s other books πŸ˜ƒ

  4. Covers are important to me, because they are my first impression of a novels quality. I mean, when I’m in a bookstore and I see an awesome cover, I know the publisher has invested some money and believes this book is worth that investment. With ebooks, a horrible cover usually scares me away from the book, because I assume the story is going to be as amateuristic as the cover. The most important element to me is the actual author and then the blurb second, but covers definitely matter to me.

    1. Exactly! Publishers have slipped since the 80s. Gone are those great Roger Zelazny covers by Boris. Next to the cover is the synopsis.. and, again, it seems like the publishers have no interest. I think the 70s were the hey-day of novels.

    2. I guess for a new author (new to me), the cover can be quite important. But if I know the author, the cover becomes far less important. I buy because of the author.

  5. It’s a mix. Sometimes a brilliant cover will catch my eye, but I’ll put the book down a minute later if the story doesn’t sound interesting. Before I’d buy a book I’d also read the first couple pages, and maybe a page at random to see if the writing is good. But honestly, I don’t usually pay full price for books unless they’ve been explicitly recommended to me by a friend or I have read a ton of great reviews. Even then, I’ll probably check my library first to see if it has the book in stock.

    None of the books on my top 10 favorite list have exceptionally brilliant covers. And I’ve read several books recently that had outstanding covers and a crappy story. So you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

    1. Exactly. I bought a sci-fi book based on the cover and the blurb on the back, thinking it’s a great planetary colonisation story, but it turned out to be quite mediocre. Interesting concept, but the execution wasn’t very good. And then there are some extremely simple covers that are amazing books (actually the Wheel of Time books I have are very simple covers, but look great as a set).

  6. I’m the same as you. In a bookstore, I check out the cover first. Then read the back cover. I’m an easier sell if they match. As for e-books, I go straight to the back cover to read what it’s about.

  7. I’ll admit, I have bought books based on the cover and I’ve paid for it in rue…or rather paid for it in not liking the book as much as I thought, but the cover is a huge draw for me to read the blurb and thumb through a few pages to see if the story is my style. The one book that I can recall buying based at least halfway on the cover was Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale. The blurb was interesting, but the picture of a night sky over New York City with a horse in constellations was a major draw, and that still stands as one of my favorite stories.

    1. I’ve found some nice covers and mediocre stories. But I think that some of the most plain covers have proven to hold amazing stories. But those covers are kind of classical in design.

  8. I’ve always been drawn to pretty designs or typography. Book covers are no exception. While I never have bought a book based on what it looks like (I don’t have money for that to begin with), I do add them my Goodreads list focused on cute/nice covers.

    Also, I think middle-grade and children’s books have the best covers. They have either lovely artwork or feel really cool.

    1. I have bought a book based on what it looks like, but I guess the genre helped, too, but it wasn’t the best decision. Not a great book.

      Thanks for the comment!

    1. Interesting covers. I know albums should have good cover art, too. But I don’t think I ever bought an album based on the cover art, only based on who the musician was.

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