Friday, August 15, 2008

Judging a book by its cover... we all do it.

Through my work as a virtual book tour coordinator, I've seen a lot of eye catching book covers lately. Now, the cover does not necessarily determine the quality or subject of the story, but it can certainly influence our choice to purchase it.

Think about it, if all book covers were white, with the title and author's name on the front, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun to browse at the bookstore, would it? It's visually entertaining to see all those colors and fonts.

Book cover designs are all about grabbing the buyer's attention. Half the battle of selling books is pursuading a person to pick up the book, read the back cover and flip through the pages. And, hey, if the book looks good, maybe it'll find a permanent home on the buyer's bookshelf - long term exposure and promotion.

So, here's my question...

Does the design on the cover of a book influence you? What motivates you to choose a book - the colors, the pictures, the font? I'm terribly curious to know, so feel free to share.


April said...

Honestly, though I love a pretty book cover, I don't think it influences me at all. I usually glance first at the title, then whip open the front cover to read the flap or flip it over to read the back. It's always the blurb that gets me. I'm sure there are times when I'll see something eye-catching and pick it up based on the cover, but I always directly read the blurb and make my decision on whether to buy or borrown from what's written there.

If I'm torn, I may start reading the first chapter. :)

Anonymous said...

For me, the cover has very little influence on whether I read a book or not. I almost exclusively read a book based on the recommendation of someone else or by hearing an interview with the author as he talks about his book. On the flip side, having just finished our first book, maybe we need to spend more time cultivating these two "keys" to getting readers for it.

Anonymous said...

Sure it does! When I'm in the mood to buy a book but have to hurry to get out of the store before the three year old meltdown starts, I will definitely do a visual scan of the covers. If something pops out at me, I will pick it up and read. If not, then I look a bit deeper, temper permitting.

Do you suppose this may be part of why the same book is released with many covers? There was one book in particular that I bought the first time I saw it, read and loved it. Since then, I've picked the same book when doing my visual scan, both times with different covers.

Polenth said...

I have a number of reprint books which all have the same cover. No cover art. It was the titles that made me pick them up, because it gave me the first hint of what the book was about. A readable title is a must. I don't like fancy fonts, as I can't read them as quickly.

Cover art is best when it shows something about the story. Even if the art as bad, as long as it shows me what the book is about, I'll pick up the book. A cat book should have a cat on the front, for example.

For picture books, or other illustrated works, the quality of the cover picture is a big deal. It should represent the best of the art style inside. Books with sparklie/shiny covers and bold colours grab me, as I like that sort of art.

Anonymous said...

I always look at the titles first, scanning for one that catches my attention. Then I pull it out and flip it over, looking for a backcover blurb. If the blurb sounds interesting, I open to the first page and start reading. If that grabs me, I'm likely to buy it. I barely glance at the cover until I've already decided the book interests me. Covers are kind of neat, but they don't really affect my buying books or not at all.

Janna Leadbetter said...

I've put thought into this recently, and it's true for me. I like bright, whimsical covers that may have a picture of a character, or still-life shots, like of a lake scene.

Great post! :)

Anonymous said...

The title is usually the first thing that grabs me. THen I read the blurb. If I have two books that are equally interesting after that, I will go with the one with the cover that intrigues me more though.

I tend to like more stylized, simple, and graceful artwork...sillhouettes, bare outlines with flowing lines...that sort of thing.