Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Judge A Book By It's Cover

We're all guilty of judging a book by it's cover. I can't help it-if the book cover is pretty and calls to me to pick it up (even better if it has a gorgeous dress on it!) then I want to read that book. I was browsing upcoming YA releases and came across some covers that in hardcover didn't catch my eye or seem interesting, but in paperback make me want to pick the book up right now and read it. Nothing has changed, it's the same story, same writing, but the cover markets to me in a different way and now I'm interested. So I'll admit to you my judging of books just by their new paperback covers!

First up: Legacy by Cayla Kluver

-This is the self-published cover. This cover is OK, but nothing special. It might make me pick up the book if I can't find anything else that catches my eye, but it doesn't really interest me.

Cayla Kluver has the same story has Christopher Paolini-young writer, parent self-publishes book, then it gets the attention of bigger publishers. Only in this case, the book has gotten two more publishers. Her first publisher was Amazon Encore.

-I remember when the book was published with this cover and I remember seeing it online. But this cover just looks so boring to me. It looks like a boring old book you'd be forced to read in school, so I passed on this one.

-Now the book is with a new publisher, HarperTeen, and they rescued the cover from boring and made it into something I want to read. (Remember what I said about pretty dresses equals love for me?) Same story, but this cover looks like something I would enjoy.

OK, this one is a bit of a cheat, because I've already read this book, but I love the paperback cover change and it would make me pick it up even more.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

-Like I said, I read this one already, but I didn't pick it up because of the cover. I picked it up because it's a Printz Honor Book. The book is great and I think it would have appeal for readers who like survival stories, but this cover doesn't really tell me much and it's a bit blah.

-Love this new paperback cover! It lets me know it's historical, it looks dark and mysterious, and I want to know who that guy is on the cover.

Last, this is the most dramatic change. I've seen this book around my library, but I hate the cover and haven't had any interest in reading it. But the new paperback cover has changed my mind!

Folly by Marthe Jocelyn

-Ugh, this cover just does nothing for me! To me, this looks like a fantasy/fairy tale (not sure why) which is funny that it turns me off here because I typically like those stories. I think it looks dark and odd. In fact, it creeps me out a bit and does not make me want to read the book at all! Until I saw this:

-LOVE! This one made me immediately interested in the book. This cover lets me know it's set in a Victorian time period, which I love. I wanted to know more about it and read the summary and once I did, I wanted to read the book. Funny thing is, the summary hasn't changed and the story is the same, I just wasn't interested in the first cover to even read what it was about. (Bad reader and librarian, I know!)

I've admitted my judging of books by their cover. It's interesting how the same book can change from something I'm not interested in to something I want to read just by a cover change.

What books have changed covers that have made you change your mind?


  1. So true. I am biased about book covers. The more interesting it is, the more it draws me to read it.

  2. I think it's interesting that your reasons for not wanting to read the original cover for FOLLY are all the reasons I DO want to read it! (Dark, odd, creepy.) LOL. I guess that says something about me, huh?

  3. When I am on goodreads and I see all my friends updates of "To Read" I pick which ones I want to look into by their cover. I know I shouldn't judge books by covers but I do.

  4. Robyn-Yep, the cover has to really draw me in!

    Amy-Which is funny because I'm reading Chime and it's dark and creepy and I love it. But the cover is very pretty (and has a pretty dress). I'm so judgmental in my book covers!:)

    Connie-I do the same thing-pretty cover on Goodreads? I'll mark it to read!

  5. I love, love, love that Folly cover. The final version.

  6. I am so guilty of this! Recently I was sent a book to review and I started reading it with the expectation that I wouldn't like it simply because the cover didn't inspire me. In the end, I truly enjoyed the book and felt reticent for not approaching without bias. Fact of the matter is that we respond to visuals and it is a great disservice when a books cover does not reflect the story on the inside. Great post!

  7. You are SO right Sarah. I think that's a HUGE worry for writers. If their cover stinks, it really does mean a matter of life and death (okay not actual life or death, but the life or death of their career). I really do judge by covers- nowadays, there is so much technology and imagination out there, how can they make bad covers? I really hope if I ever get published I can have some kind of opinion on my cover :)

  8. Jenny-Me too! I'm glad they changed it because it made me read about the book and want to pick it up.

    Lydia-I feel so bad when I judge books by their cover. I do the same thing-think I won't like a book because of the cover (or think I'll love it because the cover is amazing) Most of the time I do end up reading about the book and not judging only on the cover!

    Abby-I think it is a big worry, especially when you're dealing with picky teen readers. I hope you get a great cover (when you get published which will totally happen!)

  9. I agree with covers being important. I have a patron who will tell me point blank I will not read this book because the cover sucks. I can plead and beg but if the cover is not up to her standards no luck.

  10. Hoi-I have those teens too! I will booktalk Airborn by Kenneth Oppel like crazy, but they never take it because the cover doesn't appeal to them.

  11. I have a love/hate relationship with cover changes. Sometimes it is good like the examples you used. But I really hate it when covers change mid-series. Most of the time though cover changes are for the better.

  12. I actually like the first cover of Legacy the best. I own it with the second cover and it's not my favorite (I agree with what you said about it).

    I don't know if I would be drawn to Folly either way, but the second cover is definitely better.

  13. Wow! The cover changes for Legacy are crazy! It's almost hard to believe that they're all the same book.

  14. Whoa, hadn't seen the cover change for Folly--cool! And I actually really like the Amazon version of Legacy. Have you seen the book in real life? It's thick with luscious paper and ragged edges and dark blue text inside. Looks and feels just like a beloved, magical old book... which I totally liked! :)

  15. Silly me! I didn't realize the new Legacy cover was for the old Legacy book. I remember seeing the new cover on Amazon and thinking "Why does this sound familiar?" And until I saw the old cover on your blog, I didn't connect the two. And like you, I elected to pass on the book when it had the old cover, but wanted to read it when I saw the new cover.

  16. Don't feel guilty. I judge covers too. A lot.

  17. This post is incredibly timely for me. I'm planning a "Good Books, Bad Covers" display. Thanks for the suggestions!


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