Bookish Thought: Book Covers

Happy Wednesday! I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a Bookish Thought post and it’s been hard getting back into the swing of things. But, I find myself with some time and knew I had a couple ideas sitting in my drafts.

Which brings me to today’s topic of Bookish Thought: Book Covers! I’ve always been curious about other reader’s opinions and preferences on the various types and different covers one can have for a book. Since creating my book Instagram (@sorryiambooked) and finding several awesome book accounts from around the world, I’ve seen a wide variety of book covers.

Not only are there differences depending on country, but you can have anything from the original book cover, special edition covers to movie adaptation covers.

Which brings up the old saying “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” While that’s true when it comes to a person, the Wired article Go Ahead, Judge These Books By Their Covers argues differently. In the article, Jessica Helmand, a graphic designer, states:

“At the end of the day, a book is a visual object,” she says. “You buy the book before you’ve read the book, and so you have to be able to judge a book by its cover.”

To be honest, I never thought of it that way, though it makes sense in some way to me. Sometimes when I’m just browsing for a book, it’ll be the cover that draws me in, but I still read at least the blurb on the back to determine if I want to read it. Sometimes I read the first several pages. Sometimes, it’s the title that draws me in first.

Either way, the book cover is sometimes the first thing a potential reader sees and needs to be visually eye catching to the majority. I won’t deny that I’ve judged a book here and there for its cover, but I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and at least read the back blurb before deciding.

I originally thought of this topic because I bought a used copy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey last year and found out later that were way cooler covers, ones I wish I bought instead. I also avoid movie adaptation covers as much as possible since the visual of the actors sometimes ruins or messes up the image I end up concocting in my own head.  Since this is all something that would be personal preference, I want to know what you prefer when it comes to buying a book, especially one that you absolutely love and has different covers.

Does the book cover always play a big role when it comes to decided if you’re going to read the book and/or buy it? Do you enjoy buying special edition covers? Do you avoid movie adaptation covers like me? Tell me!

For other fun information regarding book covers check these articles I found:
Wired’s 2014 article: What Makes for a Brilliant Book Cover? A Master Explains
The New Yorker’s 2013 article: The Decline and Fall of the Book Cover
ShortList’s article: The 50 Coolest Book Covers




21 thoughts on “Bookish Thought: Book Covers

  1. Interesting post. I guess the cover does influence our perception of the book when we’re browsing in a bookstore.
    You could say I’m lucky because I don’t really like hard covers, which are always more expensive. I prefer paperbacks easthetically, not only because they’re more practical. But I don’t like movie adaptation covers so I avoid them as well. XD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, to be honest, I usually judge books by their covers (oops🙊)! If a book has a GORGEOUS cover, then I am far more likely to consider reading it. If I come across a pretty cover on Goodreads or in a bookstore, I will look at the synopsis and see if I would be interested in reading it. I usually am😊

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  3. Book covers do matter to me; however, if I already know it’s a good story I’ll bypass the cover. Case in point is Island of the Blue Island. When it first came out it was boring blue–but what a story!

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  4. If I love a cover A LOT I’ll buy the book without even reading the blurb. I don’t really like movie tie-in covers. I have a few, but I only got them either because it was cheaper than getting a regular cover, or if that’s the only thing that was available at the time. But I always look at them and they just don’t have a very classic look (if that makes sense).

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My first love is writing, but I’ve been working as a graphic designer for years and I see book covers differently now. You need a great cover to draw a reader in and that’s what I notice now. If a book is facing out on a shelf it should have some amazing, wacky, or otherwise intriguing cover that I will walk towards instantly. Then I want it to hit me with an awesome premise! In the end, I judge the book based on the quality of the writing and that’s how I would recommend it but there is no denying that the cover art is a large part of why a book sells.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I certainly do cover buys because I’m a sucker for beautiful covers, but I really didn’t pay much attention to them until I started watching book videos on YouTube. I don’t know what it is about booktube that made me go even more crazy about books.
    As for designs I like, I love a lot of action in the illustrations. I love it when illustrators capture a scene in the novel because it’s a nice reference. I’m not a huge fan of minimalist design for novels but I love it for nonfiction books.
    Do you have a preference for book design types?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually don’t think I have one .. I tend to like a wide variety in terms of colors and pictures. But usually I tend to favor in the middle, not completely minimalist, but over crazy either :)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I know I can be drawn to a cover, but like you, it’s only the first part of what draws me in, and then the quick synopsis is the deal breaker. If it doesn’t sound interesting, I won’t take it home. That said, there’s something that really bothers me about publishers who change the cover to match the movie that may now be out (i.e., shows the actors on the cover). It may sound odd, but that change makes me feel as though the book is now tarnished.

    My favorite covers these days tho’ are those old illustrations – mostly found on classics (sometimes Penguin (publisher)) like The Count of Monte Cristo, or To Kill a Mockingbird.

    But perhaps (and a little off topic), it’s the smell of a book that can really draw me in. I love used books for their musty smell – so calming to me. It’s likely why I’ll never invest in a Kindle. Reading is a tactile activity that electronic readers just can’t provide.
    Great topic! – taf

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I love old illustration ones too! And yes, movie adaptation covers have always bugged me.
      I absolutely agree about electronic reading although a lot of new-ish authors only have ebook available for review which puts me at a disadvantage at times :/ Thanks for sharing! :)


  8. I may have just found you, but I love this post!! I don’t like when they put the actors on the covers of books. I think it makes it look a bit cheap, and I like to create the characters in my head (what they look like). I think that takes away from it, too. I tend to judge on the book cover, but I find that the books with the “worst” covers have the greatest stories. Sometimes the covers aren’t the greatest, but that shouldn’t derail someone from buying the book. I like grabbing books that don’t look the nicest, because I tend to find the greatest friends inside!

    Liked by 1 person

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