You’re Not Supposed to Judge a Book By It’s Cover, Right?

NaBloPoMo prompt: How important are book covers in getting you to read a book?

They shouldn’t be, but they are. Well, that’s a little inaccurate. I’m quite liberal when it comes to the appearance of the books I read…though certain things crop up red flags, some things draw my attention, and some I really appreciate.

Before I start I’d like to start with the fact that there are exceptions to every rule, and so naturally there would be some with mine. But these are wholly my opinions.

Let’s start with the red flags, shall we?



This cover actually covers two birds with one stone.

Bird 1: Glitter. If you need to make the cover *sparkly* to draw my attention, the story must be really boring.

Bird 2: Close-up face. Even half a face. I don’t know what it is, but the face close up just makes me feel uncomfortable. And given that the book focuses on the mouth and neck in particular seems…odd to me.

Bird 2 actually leads to point three: People on the cover. Especially if that person is supposed to be the main character. Now, I don’t mind drawings, but photographs of people on the main cover force me to identify which character it is, and then either strongly agree or strongly disagree wit the choice. (Or worse, if no one in the book looks like the cover photo.) Also, if the girl on the cover is wearing a luxurious ball gown. I am sick of seeing covers like that.


Okay, that’s over. Now the kind of covers that draw my attention. The only way I can explain this is by showing some examples:

This Dark Endeavour


Things I love about this cover:

Tone: This cover immediately tells me what the tone of the story is going to be. It’s dark, it’s solemn. It’s mysterious.

Colour: The difference between the iron surroundings and the bright image in the key hole draws my eye immediately to the boy in the middle (who turns out to be Victor Frankenstein).

Colour is actually a really big thing for me. A single colour scheme is less strain on the eyes. This is really done well in the Percy Jackson Series, where each book has a specific colour for its cover:

percy-jackson-booksThis leads me to my next point. Hand drawn covers. The Percy Jackson covers are gorgeous and so are the Harry potter covers:


And even more so in the Leviathan Series:


Side note: the artwork throughout the Leviathan series is literally, the best. Keith Thompson is a genius with the steampunk images.

And the opposite is true too: simple covers are also really intriguing. For example:


Another good example is the cover for Room:


And finally, the things about covers that I really appreciate. Really, it’s only one thing: symbolism. I really like covers where the story comes through in that single image, and none of plot is given away.

The Hunger Games Trilogy:

Hunger Game TrilogyThe Book Thief:

the-book-thiefSo that’s about it! If you know of any really cool looking covers, let them be known in the comments!

“Judging books by their covers is seriously underrated, and any book nerd who claims never to have done it is probably lying.” ― Amy Smith

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