Judging a Book By Its Cover

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ and while it has a valuable message I have the tendency to ignore it.  I know it seems a bit like sacrilege for a library employee to sanction the idea, but cover art can say a lot about a particularly title.  Can anyone seriously look at the following covers and not get a general gist of the book?

Most of us out there know what type of books we like and those we don’t like.  I tend to steer clear of bodice rippers and their covers make them pretty easy to spot.  However if I’m looking for some high fantasy I just keep my eyes peeled for a wizard, dwarf, or some magical beast gracing the front of a book and I’m all set.  This little cover stereotyping won’t inform you whether the writing is any good, but it can help narrow your search through the sea of fiction wading around.  At the library we make things a little easier for you by separating our genre fiction, but even within in genres we can use covers to identify what type of romance your grabbing, be it cowboys or rogues.

Putting aside my basic lesson in identifying genres by a cover,  I have to admit I’m also guilty of picking up a book just because I like the cover.  Covers are designed to attract the consumer and with the gazillions of books out in the world an appealing one can go a long way.  Though its not always  the rule of thumb I find that a great cover indicates the editor really believed in this book.  Time and care was taken to find the perfect cover, not just slapping a generic stock photo on the front.  Below are just some of my favorite book covers, both new and old.

Do you have a favorite book cover? or perhaps a book you bought just because you thought it looked pretty?

One Response to “Judging a Book By Its Cover”

  1. October 25, 2010 at 5:20 am #

    I just checked this book out for its cover: http://www.amazon.com/Aurorarama-Jean-Christophe-

    So pretty!