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?