Judging a Book

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A lot of people say that judging a book by anything is a bad thing.  "Don't do it!"  But sometimes I can't help it.  That book has such a pretty cover or such a beautiful design.  How can people expect you not to judge books if we are not truly sure what is inside unless we read it first?  (The same goes with people, but I'm not going to give you a lecture; that would be boring.)

Almost every reader, I know, judges a book before reading it.  Basically, a much nicer phrase for it would be: FIRST IMPRESSIONS.  The first thing I notice about picking up a book in the library, bookstore, or wherever would be its cover.  It's a fact that more people will buy a book that has a good cover than buy one with a bad cover.  Covers can make it or break it with its book sales.  Example:


I'm much more likely to buy the book on the right, even though they are the same novel (Royally Crushed is a 3-in-1 book, where it has the entire series Royally Jacked in it).  The one on the right appeals to me more because of its cover.  What book would you choose?

However, the cover is not going to be the only thing you see when you pick up the book and take interest in it.  You'll also be taking a look at the inside jacket, if it's a hardcover or the back cover, if it's paperback.  These places give a small summary of the book, telling what it's about.  If a book was a person, this would be something like a profile.  Summaries are hard to come up with.  These are the words the authors and publishers have to sell readers on.  It has to leave you interested and wanting more.  If the summary doesn't do that than that doesn't really help anyone.  

After the basic FIRST IMPRESSIONS are complete, the reader most likely will make a decision whether to read the book or put it back on the shelf.  Just remember: It's okay to judge... books, that is.

I gave you a few examples on what my first impressions are if I am to pick up a book.  I want to know what makes you pick up a book?  Do you choose to buy a book by the cover?  Do you take the time to read the summary?

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  1. I'd probably buy the book on the right, based solely on the cover! But I do take it all into consideration. Shiny covers = awesome. But I need a kick-ass synopsis, too. : )

    Great question!

  2. If I'm in the bookstore and trying to decide what books to buy, I'll probably pick up the book that has the cover that appeals to me most. Then, I read the summary if I've never heard of it before. However, if I've heard it's a good book then I'll pick it up even if the cover doesn't appeal to me.

  3. Well said! It's true...I love that phrase "you can't judge a book by its cover" and have used it quite a bit, but in truth it extends too actual books only to a certain degree. I mean really, if you have never heard of the author or the book itself, SOMETHING has to draw you to it in order to pick it up whether it be the cover art, title, quirky font or what not....there is a "first impression" as you put it that is necessary for it to find a new home away from the bookstore. That being said though, the appeal factor is SO different between readers, THAT'S why there is so much room for cover variances to exist. As for the ones above, yep...I'm with you on the cover and title on the right. Wouldn't have connected them at first glance. Great post!

  4. It really all depends on a lot of things for me. If I only see the spine first, it's the name that gets me to pick it up and I will usually read the summary before I look at the cover.
    But, of course, if the cover is facing me, then that is what catches my attention.
    What I like is such a huge spectrum so there are a million different things that attract me to a book cover. Some days I get drawn to books that are bright and colorful. Then other days, dark & creepy covers get my attention.
    Usually it comes down to the summary for me though. I've picked up books that I had the cover of but end up buying it because it sounds like something I would like.