Judging Books by their Covers . . .

As a figure of speech, ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ is a lovely sentiment, look to the inside and don’t be superficial. It’s a really great lesson. But when you’re talking about actual books, you know what, I completely judge a book by it’s cover.


The cover is the first thing you notice, it can make you want to pick the book up or make a mental note never to touch it.

My friend Maddie refers to the chick lit section of WHSmiths as ‘the pink and purple bit’. She’s got a point. Chick lit covers are 9/10 pastel shades or varying degrees of pink. You don’t even need to read the title to know that’s their genre. The same goes for the supernatural, there’s a lot of black. In fact the more you think about it, the more you can pick out a genre and audience before actually reading the title of the book. (Also try googling these and looking what images come up: historical novels, teen novels, chick lit novels… you’ll start noticing similarities).

I’m not saying that the first impression is necessarily the right one, but I can’t help it. If the cover’s appealing, I’ll read the title, if I like that I’ll flick to the blurb, if the blurb’s good, I’ll read the book. This has backfired on me for better and worse.

CeceliaAhern_WhereRainbowsEndFor instance, Cecilia Ahern ‘Where Rainbows End’, has, in my opinion, an appalling title, 12367267-2an unappealing cover and a crap blurb – but you know what, I really enjoyed the book.


On the other hand, Claire Merle ‘The Glimpse’, has, an intriguing title, an interesting cover and a good blurb – yet I couldn’t get past the first fifty pages it was so bad.

So what about you? Where has your cover judgement let you down? What have you picked up that was an unexpected delight. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


6 thoughts on “Judging Books by their Covers . . .

  1. andrealee4691 says:

    I definitely have an answer for this one! The Thirteenth Tale. It came out about 7 years ago with a lot of press, and was about a young woman who worked in a book store and ends up interviewing and writing about a mysterious, reclusive writer. There was a stack of beautiful old books on the cover. Right up my alley, I couldn’t wait to read it. And it was horrific. The writer tells tales of her “dark past” and trust me, it is DARK. A brother and sister have a kid together in this nightmare (that is when I stopped reading). I was furious with the way I was led to believe this was a “book lovers tale”. One reviewer put it perfectly: “V.C. Andrews for the erudite”. Thanks for letting me vent about this one. Great question you pose in your post:)


  2. inspiredbybooks says:

    Hi Sonia, thanks for the great blog, I enjoy your book inspired posts:) Also thanks for the recent follow, however it is to a blog I do not post to. My real address is http://inspiredbybooks.com. It will be fun to stay in touch. I also checked out casual readers, a great referral:)


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