In Denial: Cover Whoring

Posted 22 June, 2012 by Amanda / 24 Comments

Before I started book blogging, I did not understand the appeal of covers.  It was the story within the pages that counted, and the synopsis on the back of the book was all I needed to determine whether it was something I wanted to read or not.

Book blogging wasn’t going to change that.

It wasn’t.

Not ONE BIT.

As I find myself buying physical copies of books (it’s so gorgeous I want it on my shelf, you know?), not even reading synopses before picking up a book, and turning my nose up on ugly covers, I have to wonder if maybe, just maybe

I’m in denial.

Is it wrong to stand up and say,

“Covers MATTER!  Book covers ARE an important part of the reading process.”

?

Filed under: Discussion,

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24 Responses to “In Denial: Cover Whoring”

  1. Of course covers matter! The cover is the first thing that catches my eye – the story may be the best ever written but if the cover doesn’t catch my attention I’ll never get to read it. This goes especially for when I’m browsing books in a book store or at the library. Not so much when browsing online, though. So blogging had a kind of an opposite effect on me than on you in this aspect. But generally, I’m the same. I don’t think it’s wrong to say the covers are an important part of reading, I find reading a book with a beautiful cover much more enjoyable than one with an ugly cover. Also, I’m more likely to buy a book with a pretty cover than a book with a cover I don’t like, regardless of the story.

  2. Covers definitely matter. A cover will often be the only thing that stands between me deciding to either pick up a book or ignore it.

    I know we’re always told that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – but honestly, how can we not? Our first impression of the book will almost always come from the cover.

  3. Rain Maiden Jen

    I find that some of my favorite stories have the crapiest covers. I love great book covers though.

  4. Yes, covers definitely, definitely matter! They’re a marketing tool, and what better way to get someone excited about your book than to grab their attention visually? It’s like making sure your website is well-designed and easy to use – if it’s not, people won’t spend time there. If the cover is too busy or just poorly designed, it doesn’t draw me to it and I move on to the next book.

  5. The covers definitely matter. They have always mattered to me and after becoming a book blogger, they are even more important. If a book doesn’t catch my eye with the cover, chances are I will overlook it. I could be missing out on a great book and probably will never know it.

    When it comes to self-published books, the covers are not always the greatest. But I do force myself to read self-pub books as well because as someone who may end up doing a self-pub book, I want to extend the courtesy of supporting indie authors.

  6. Don’t get me wrong. I judge books by their covers all the time. And I think it’s okay to do so, because they’re what we first see. One of their purposes is to SELL us the story inside, to make us want to open it up and look beyond.

    At the same time, I’ve come across books that have wonderful stories, but awful covers. So it’s a toss of the coin. But I think if people went out of their way and purposely picked up a hideously covered book at least once, they may be surprised at the writing inside.

    Plus, then there’s the whole other side of it coming down to personal preferences. I’ve seen people fawn over what I think are the ugliest of covers, just as I’ve heard people bash covers I’ve loved.

    It’s all a matter of opinion.

    • Yes! It is definitely a matter of opinion. But I think we tend to be swayed by a pretty cover, whatever we define that to be. When there are SO MANY BOOKS out there to choose from, it’s easy to pass over the ugly ones even if we shouldn’t.

  7. Hi. My name is Mary and I’m a cover whore. Look at all the PRETTIES!! *pets the covers* I wasn’t such a ‘ho until I started blogging…but my addiction to pretty and eye-catching covers has grown exponentially. *sigh*

  8. I’m not a cover whore. Nope. No way. I don’t buy books based solely on their covers. I don’t drool over the swoon worthy ones. I don’t covet the pretties.

    Oh, who am I kidding? I’m right there with you, Amanda!

    I actually turned down a review request once because it had an AWFUL picture of a clown on the cover. Of course, I think all clown pictures are awful so maybe this isn’t the best example, but I couldn’t stomach the idea that I could potentially come across that cover while browsing my own site.

    Man, I hate clowns.

  9. Oh friend! I remember when I went through this same denial process. Fun times, fun times.

    I lost count of the amount of books I bought just because of their beautiful covers. Most are still sitting unread on my shelves. :)

    • I am currently ogling bookshelves so I can have something that will hold all my books with their pretty covers. I’m also trying to be good about reading them before I buy new ones. It’s kind of working. ;)

  10. Welcome to the dark side. And yes, covers ARE important. I especially detest when a cover is gorgeous but has no connection to the damn story, or when a beautiful cover hides a disappointing story…

  11. I recently put my Kindle down next to a plain ‘ole book, I think it was “Tricked” (not even a pretty cover) and I thought, “which do I want to pick up and read?” Immediate Pavlov response – THE BOOK, duh!! No wonder I forget I have all those free Kindle books ~ I’m too busy fawning over my bookshelf in the basement with all the books I still need to read *drools*…

    Unless they can drill the covers onto my retinas when I read a Kindle, I sure hope they never, ever, get rid of print books!!! Sorry, eww, that was kind of a gross…

  12. Covers TOTALLY matter! In fact, a couple of years ago (or sometime in the past) I wrote a whole super ranty post about how covers affect a book’s appeal and thereby possible sales.

    Covers are part of the marketing process. Even though it’s the story that counts, if a cover is unappealing then it stands to reason that a person casually perusing their local book store would A) not even notice said fugly book or B) notice it, think “damn that sucks” and keep on going. Hey, the truth hurts!

    The new J.R. Ward is probably a good example of a cover FAIL! People will probably still buy it and read it only because it is J.R. Ward.

    I like that Smash mentioned the exact opposite where you have a rockin’ cover and a not-so-good story! That’s when shit happens!

    ♥Isalys / Book Soulmates

    • Yes! It wasn’t until book blogging and this post that I realized how book covers ARE a big part of marketing. It would be interesting to study people’s perceptions of books and covers, such as asking how damaging is a bad cover to a debut author versus an established author?