Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover

Is it possible that books are judged by their covers? That some languish on the shelves because of bland colors, badly chosen models or just plain themes gone askew? Would some readers not even pick such a book from the shelf? I'm afraid the answer might be yes and that I was once one of those readers.

Today it all changed. It was a book I've noticed for the last month. Yes, I noticed it but not because it had the best looking cover on the shelf. In fact, it had the worst. Drab and unappealing I'd purposely dodged it. So why did I pick it up today? I think because it was the most persistent. It always seemed to be parked right beside the book I was interested in. Sometimes I even had to move it, bland cover and all. But I didn't pick it up. For one, it was beige. I have an aversion to beige! And two, there was just nothing outwardly exciting about it, not even the title.

So what changed?

Nothing. I think the only thing that made me pick it up today was its persistence in being there on that small crowded shelf week after week. It must have lodged in my subconscious, that and there was nothing else of interest.

I began my usual broad sweep of sections of the book, went back to the blurb and back again to another section. I ended up beginning to dig into the story in the middle of the store. I almost missed what looks like a great read because of a cover that didn't appeal to me. My book picking days will never be the same! Never again will I be influenced by a cover - if I have to close my eyes and grab the first book available!

With two new books in as many days, I'm ready for that bout of cold weather they've been forecasting. It will be a chance to bundle up, read and pretend there's a different view outside by window.

Does the cover of the book influence you?

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pictures - Burma 2008


Anonymous said...

The title that will probably catch my eye first. From there, I move on to the backcover blurb. Unless the cover is hideous or derogatory in some way, it won't factor into my decision to buy a book.

The first Laruell K. Hamilton book I read was The Laughing Corpse. For some reason, that title captured my eye, though there wasn't much to notice on the cover except for a cartoonish graveyard. Two books later, I bought everything of hers I could find. And to think, it was the title that caught my attention first.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Cemetery, cartoonish or not, that would catch my attention. but I have rather a macabre streak - horror was my first love.

That's interesting that the title caught your attention first - when I think about it, and I never have until now, that's rarely if never happened. It was always the cover art then the blurb, but change is in the air.

Teresa said...

west5familyIf you ever watch a child pick out a book, it is without a doubt the cover that will have to scream READ ME for them to pick it up. Shiny, sparkly, fancy, different texture, cool font, enticing picture (not necessarily pretty in any way just appealing to the reader's fancy)-that's what I have noticed. We have a book fair at school next week and I will be paying more attention to what they pick and I will ask them why out of curiosity. I have seen many children buy books, that they cannot comprehend yet, simply on the basis of the cover art alone. Once they become avid readers, then they pick their favourite authors or books teachers have read them at school. I guess part of that is our fault as teachers because we call their attention to the parts of a book before we even read the story to help set up a basic idea for comprehension. Maybe I will have to bring a couple of "boring cover" stories to read to show the students that a book cannot be judged by the cover information alone...