Book Covers: To Judge or Not to Judge

17 Jun

That is the question. Unfortunately, we can’t look at a book cover and instantly know whether or not we will like the story inside, however, on numerous occasions I have made decisions to purchase books solely because I liked the cover design.

Right or wrong, a great story can stand alone, but without a great cover many readers may pass it over. While a great cover design cannot guarantee good literature, good literature can only be enhanced by an excellent cover design.

Below are four examples from my bookshelf that I purchased solely because I was intrigued by the cover design:

As you can see I have a tendency to be drawn towards a vintage or classic style, and I also appreciate some good illustration. That being said, I highly admire the clever concepts currently trending in modern book design too. For some great examples take a look at one of my favorite sites, The Book Cover Archive. I would have no problem purchasing nearly any of their examples, simply for the artwork.

In some cases unique cover designs have lead me to story that I love, but would not have otherwise picked up (“The Lion & The Mouse), and in other case, stories that don’t quite hold my interest (“Logbook For Grace,” which I have attempted to read twice, and have failed each time). Sometimes, I may already know the story or know that it is something I will never read, yet I make a purchase for the shear art and beauty of the piece (“Pinocchio” and example four, which I cannot read due to language barriers…).

I may have had some success and failures story wise, regardless, I will likely continue to buy when an extraordinary or intriguing book cover delights me. If nothing else, they look great on my bookshelf and serve as a small collection of inspiring pieces for future reference.


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