What do you look for in a book cover?

IMG_4186So, I recently did a post about judging books by their covers, because lets face it, a lot of us do it. What is it though that you are looking for when you do that?

Another recent post was about different editions where I said that I basically pick the edition that is prettiest, but what makes a book “pretty” or not to you, what matters? Big words? An unusual font? Bright colours? Realistic pictures? More cartoon like pictures? Is it more just the general overall look rather than a specific thing you look for?

I think for me it’s more the overall look that makes me like a cover. I guess I wouldn’t be very helpful in a publishing focus group! If I compare the books I have with covers I love they are all actually really different. Most of them are all quite colourful but the colours really vary, as does the general artistry. There is one thing they have in common though….none of them have photos of people on the covers. The only ones that have people in any sense are the Penguin deluxe editions of the classics and some of the Harry Potter books.

As well as what you do like is there anything you specifically don’t like? The lack of people on my favourite covers I guess is a hint that I don’t like movie covers. If it is the only option, or by far the cheapest option I will get the movie edition but otherwise I really will try not to. I think in the book community the movie cover thing is a pretty common “dislike” and I read somewhere once that J.K. Rowling refused to let them do movie editions of the Harry Potter books so maybe she feels the same!?! Why then do publishers make book covers with photos from the corresponding movie when so many of the more “hardcore” readers hate them? To make them recognisable would be my guess. Movies seem to have better publicity than most books and getting more people to read is always a good thing, even if it means you need to put a celebrity on the cover.

So, what is it you like and dislike on book covers?

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10 thoughts on “What do you look for in a book cover?

  1. I feel the same as you as regards people on covers – I always avoid movie/tv covers and I also dislike books with generic photos of people on the front; I’d much rather have some striking art work. Interesting that you’ve illustrated this post with a picture of The Essex Serpent as it’s one of my favourite recent cover designs!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t like people on the cover of books as well, mainly because I like to picture the characters myself. I feel like having someone on the cover influences my perception to much. I like covers that have “hints” on them, they tease as to what the story is about.

    I have also realized I am generally drawn to simple text and I tend to like covers with limited colors on them. Instead of having a book with every color of the universe on it, books with 2-3 colors catch my attention. I think it is because it is less overwhelming.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate those copies that look like graffiti font – as if the publisher has made no effort whatsoever. House of Binding Thorns UK edition is a case in point. Contrast to the UK hb Assassin’s Fate which is glorious.

    Liked by 1 person

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