Quite often, especially at a bargain house, you pick up a book because of the front cover. Perhaps you don’t even read the synopsis. You just think, “Ooh, this looks good – I might as well try that!”
Often a lot of work goes into covers. Some self-publishing writers, for example, may not pay for any outside help other than cover art. There are whole businesses set up to just designing covers!
Some covers a minimalistic, rather like lots of the Penguin Classics, and some are intricately designed, such as There is no Dog by Meg Rosoff, which I reviewed last week. The designs can have clues to the plot, or simply just be pretty.
But all of this information tells us one thing: covers are exceptionally important in selling a book. Some people buy books just because their covers are great, and some people collect different covers of the same book (these are called ‘spot collectors’ and actually collect different editions, but these tend to mean different covers, too). No matter how great the book is, a good cover will help it sell more, and that’s pretty much a fact when you go into a book shop and see the enormous variety of covers out there.
An example of a cover-read personally was the book mentioned above: There is no Dog. It was beautifully designed and basically just really pretty, and that’s why I picked it up (though the book wasn’t what I expected). Another is The Geography of You and Me which I finished reading earlier; in fact, a lot of my library reads are read because their covers are pretty, and because they’re free I just pick them right up off the shelf.
If a cover is dull or boring, it might be overlooked – in my opinion. Unless, for example, it’s a big name. Our family’s copy of The Catcher in the Rye, for example, isn’t the most eye-catching cover, but it’s reputation means it’s looked at.
Personally, I like covers to be unique and pretty. Most of my books are bright colours or at least have eye-catching text and/or pictures on the front cover. Some of them are minimalistic, but, just looking up at my shelves as I write this, most of those minimalistic covers (normally just the title and author written on it) are non-fiction books. Most have a picture or symbol or drawing.
I choose books on covers a lot – as I’ve said, especially in library books. Charity shop, bargain or garden centre books tend to be cover-buys too as they’re so cheap! (Some garden centre books are pretty great, by the way.) And, even if a book has a good reputation and I want to read it, I do like a good cover also!
What’s your opinion about book covers? How much do they influence your choosing of a book? Join the discussion!