Do you judge a book by its cover?


Everyone knows the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” but do you stick to it?

Surely bookstores rely on people judging books by their covers? When you walk into a bookstore, what else makes you pick up a book if not the cover? With some books you might have heard about them somewhere or recognise the author’s name, but that can’t be the case for most books, for most people. So if not the cover what else is there, at least in terms of picking up a book to find out what it’s about?

Personally, when I walk into a bookstore, if a cover looks nice or interesting in some other way I will pick up the book and read the synopsis. A cover alone wont make me buy a book, the synopsis has to sound interesting too. BookTube seems to suggest though that for a lot of people a good cover is enough, the phrase “cover buy” is heard pretty frequently in the online book community in fact.

Is it helpful to you as a reader to judge a book by its cover? In some cases I would say yes, “new adult” springs to mind. A lot of new adult books have covers that are in some way related to sex, for example they have half naked people on the cover. As someone who doesn’t like books where a relationship is the main theme I know new adult isn’t for me and those covers therefore instantly let me know that that I’m unlikely to enjoy that book, so I don’t waste time reading the synopsis. It’s not just new adult books where the cover gives a hint about the genre, so for people that have specific genres they do or don’t read I think covers can often be really helpful.

So, if judging a book by its cover can help you, why not do it? Well, of course it can mean you miss out on some great books, not every book has a great cover. When you walk into a bookstore someone doesn’t automatically give you a synopsis, so at least with most books all you will have to go on will be the cover. With so many books all trying to grab your attention, a bad cover will likely make a lot of people overlook a book.

So, what do you do? Will you buy a book or not buy a book just based on the cover? If not the cover what makes you pick up a book that is “unknown” to you?



22 thoughts on “Do you judge a book by its cover?

  1. I usually look for a good cover and the synopsis as well! Then again, I once bought a mythology boxset just because it looked pretty. Good thing the books turned out a fantastic read! 😉

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  2. I don’t judge books by their covers anymore. I used to, but now I spend so much time online researching my future books that it has to be more than just a cover to sway me. I watch so much ‘booktube’, and spend a lot of time on Goodreads getting my book recommendations now that I rarely stroll around a bookstore without a book already in mind.


  3. I’m definitely one who judges by a cover. It’s not the only factor that I use, particularly if I’m purchasing a book, but it is a factor. Especially in things like my “free ebook” emails and stuff like that. If you don’t have at least an eye-catching cover, I’m probably not taking the time to read the synopsis.

    Occasionally that doesn’t ring true, but most of the time, the cover is the first thing it’s judged on.

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  4. I am the same way a cover will catch my interest, but I read the description or look up the book itself. When I do this, I call it a cover buy because that is what caused me to look into it. The reason being is I usally go into a book store with a “list” of books I have heard about or was recommended. I think if cover-buying in the traditional sense works for you and maybe gets you into a new genre it is worth it.

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    • That kind of cover buy is understandable, I don’t understand people that buy books just based on the cover but there are so many videos with people saying they have no idea what the book is about but they liked the cover!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I absolutely judge books by covers. If I’m just browsing, the cover is what gets me to pick up a book. And if it’s incredibly ugly i won’t buy a book unless I’m desperate to read it and can’t find another design. Lol. Then of course I also collect some books just for their covers!

    Liked by 1 person

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