Monday, June 18, 2012

Musing Monday...I DO Judge a Book By It's Cover!

It's Monday,  so let's check out this week's question from Miz B at Should Be Reading.

This week’s musing…

"I read an article, this past week, about book covers, and the difference between print & digital covers; about how the digital covers have almost disappeared entirely, while publishers decide to just skip right to the content.

What do you think about this? Do you think the book cover is “dead”? Do you care whether the “covers” on digital books exist or not?

If you have the time, read the article and then share your thoughts!"

Oh, tell me it's not true!
I love my covers!
And yes, I admit it, I do judge a book, it least at that first look, by it's cover. Isn't that the point? You go into a bookstore and there are thousands of books. Why do you pick up this one instead of that one. Well, for me it comes down to three things. Author. Title. Cover.
If it is by and author I love that is enough right there. Karen Slaughter has a new book coming out this summer. If it had no title and no cover, I would buy it. And say am author I do not like...hmmm...maybe Dan Brown..had a book out with the most lovely cover, I would pass it by. It is beyond my believe I would like it. And so many books, so little time.
But a beautiful cover, an interesting cover will grab my attention. Sure, a seaside scene, a lighthouse and I will take a peak. On the other hand, a shirtless guy, moving along.
Yep, in most cases that cover art is what would first grab my attention. Sure, then I read the blurb, maybe read the first couple of pages. But that won't happen if I don't pick it up first.

But here is the problem and no doubt something that is contributing to the death of covers. I admit it. I shop for books almost exclusively online.
It is not my fault. Border's closed, out local chain bookstore closed. I have no choice. And online, cover are not much of an issue. But also, I am not browsing for books online. Does anyone really?
OK, I am not actually browsing at all. I go to buy a book knowing exactly what I want to buy.
I go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble knowing the book I want, just looking for the best deal. I read a review in the NY Times or on one of the many blogs I read and going to that web site is just to make the purchase.

But I will admit that covers still do make a difference when I read those reviews online. There are many blogs, many reviews and I can't read every one. So those three things, author, title and cover make a difference as to which I read and which I at best skim.

And that brings us to e-books and the role of covers. It is not a pretty subject.
If you have an e-ink reader at best you will get a B&W version of the 'real' cover, more likely some B&W generic patterned 'cover' with the title . Yes, with an I-pad or a color e-read you will get a look at the color cover, a tiny look at a tiny copy on your library page and maybe one glimpse when you first open the book on the device  e-book.  From there on, you will be taken right to were you left off. Efficient but lacking, colorless.

Because to me, a great cover is part of the book reading experience of a great book.
You pick up the book and see that nice cover, hopefully one that really speaks to what the book is. You open it and start to read and are transported, for a time, to another world, a world the author created, full of these new people and an interesting setting and a great story.
Sure e-books can do that but it just that little bit harder. There is a sameness to e-books. You don't see that cover again, the pages all look alike, same type, same pages. Same..same.

And that has lost us something.


  1. "...a great cover is part of the book reading experience of a great book."

    BINGO my dear! AWESOME response! I hope you check mine out, I kind of went on a diatribe! OY I wrote and had to edit down a 5000 word essay LOL

    Here is my MUSING MONDAYS

  2. As usual..another enjoyable post. I totally agree with you, but have a suggestion for EReaders, if only the person designing them would stop by and read my answer.

  3. The "shirtless guy on the cover, moving along".... Lol, Caite, my sentiments exactly. Show me a cover with a rocky coastline or boats and I would pick it up every time. Sometimes I go to Goodreads and peruse my to-read shelf just to look at the covers again.

    1. yes, I have gone to Library Thing and looked at the cover view of my books. It makes me happy, all the pretty covers.

  4. I do enjoy looking at covers and they do sometimes affect whether or not I pick a book up to read. Hope you will visit my post today to see the new release covers I have up today!

  5. The beauty of a bookshelf is all the different covers, in all sorts of colors and designs. I don't often choose a book by its cover, but I do grow to fall in love with some of the covers.

  6. even ebooks have covers .. tho since becoming an avid ebook reader I dont find myself scoping out BN's bookshelves .. but that's ok because I always know what I want to buy to read thanks to you, BethFishReads and the NY Times Book Review ..

    1. some good sources if I do say so

  7. I'm a cover snob and I totally agree with what you said about covers.

  8. I do love a good cover as well and hope they continue to put them on ebooks.

  9. I have been known to buy a few books just because I loved the covers. I have a few of them on my bookshelves now. I should read them to see if they are as good as the cover art is beautiful. I think covers will be around for a while. Ever though I love my e-readers, I still love reading the real book also.

  10. I do love covers. My ebooks mostly have covers, although a few don't. I have a Nook Color and Kindle Fire so I get to see the covers in color, too. I don't judge a book by its cover, but it's so nice to see pretty covers.

  11. Same for me, I'd love to open up my reader to see a whole row of pretty covers than plain white content pages, just imagine the difference it will make to my mood! I really hope the publishers won't remove digital covers, I really adore those colorful pages!


  12. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog!

    "On the other hand, a shirtless guy, moving along."


  13. This is one area where I will agree with you: e-readers do not offer you the vividness and tactile feel of a really good cover!


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