Growing up, I was told “don’t judge a book by its cover” all the time. My mother was a teacher, and she highly encouraged reading in our house. She was always reading herself, as well. My grandmother, the person I miss most in the world, was also a big reader. She read everything. These women fostered a deep love for reading in me and my sister, and I am so grateful for it because I spent a lot more time reading than watching tv as a kid, and even as a teenager. But I could never get over one thing….
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I JUDGE BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS <<<<<<<<<<<<<<
I won’t even read a book if it has a bad cover. If a new edition has a better cover, but an old edition is sitting next to it, I have a hard time wanting to read it. I am a visual person. Books appeal to me because I imagine the world the characters are in, and I lose myself in it. If the cover is god-awful……then the world will be in my mind. I won’t be able to get that horrible, cheesy picture from my mind as I read. I wish that I wasn’t scolded as a kid for doing this. Not only is it a natural thing to do, but it’s also okay. You hear that??? It’s okay to judge inanimate objects!!!
Here is an example of a cheesy cover:
Sorry Colleen…but this cover is really bad.
And the thing is, it has about 5,000 reviews on goodreads.com and over a 4 star rating. That means it’s probably a pretty decent book. At the very least, it must be entertaining. The cover of this book may have been a casualty of whatever was trending at that time. Who knows? Who cares! It’s still horrid. I’m not saying that if the cover was amazing, I would immediately pick up this book and read it. I always take into account what the story is, what other reviewers think….it all factors in. The only thing I know for sure, is that I would not read this book, or any other book, if the cover looked like that. Or this:
Again…this is supposed to be a pretty good book. But……ACK.
Up until recently, I felt ashamed. I don’t know why I was so humiliated by my judgement. I suppose I thought it made me shallow. Now I understand more why this is. It’s not just the cover that makes you pick it up off the shelf. That is the marketing part of it all…to sell. But the cover still has to relate to the book. Which is why it is so important! The cover is the only illustration the reader gets for the book…at least 99% of the time (of course, children’s books aside). And don’t pretend like you don’t do it, because we all do. Some people aren’t as visual, they don’t hold that vision in their minds and reference it throughout the book. Some people have the ability to overcome a bad cover and enjoy a good book. And yes, it may be my loss, if I miss out on a good read. But the thing is, it wouldn’t be a good read for me.
That is why I really hope the publishers release a new edition of this book:
This book intrigues me. It looks so good. Maybe I will be able to read it in ebook form…maybe I can trick myself into not seeing that cover. And maybe I hate it so much because I am also a photographer……and there are so many things that bother me about it. But as it is….I won’t read this book.
Now…getting the bad out of the way…I will post part two next week. Because the upside to being a cover whore is that I also get to take great joy in a fantastic cover. A good cover isn’t just a beautiful one, but one that is part of the story, that melds with the pages and the written words. It’s all one book, and the cover is key. Part two will detail my favorite covers, and why.