Can We Really Judge a Book By Its Cover?

Recently, I read a really insightful blog post by written by TheAliceFan about the importance of book covers that opened up by eyes to how much my book buying habits are swayed by its appearance. Initially, it made me panic. Am I really that shallow? How many great stories am I missing out on by subconsciously judging a book by its cover? So in a way, I’m making this blog post to share my thoughts and to hopefully be reassured that I’m not the only one who does this.

A positive about using book covers as an easy way to let potential purchasers know what they’re getting themselves into is that you can usually instantly tell the target audience from a book cover. For example, if it has bright primary colours, cartoonish illustrations, and large lettering, it’s generally aimed towards children. This shows the importance of book covers because just by scanning a bookshop, you can usually find the section you’re interested in based on appearance. However, of course, this is not always accurate. An example of this is the newer Harry Potter books, which display a more childlike image than the previous covers.

Image result for harry potter and the half blood prince bookImage result for harry potter and the half blood prince book

My version of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince [left], has more of an undemonstrative, subtle look that doesn’t make itself necessarily stand out on the shelf. Whereas the later version [right] screams vibrancy and presents itself to be more of a children’s book with its portrayal of the appearance of the characters. Personally, I prefer my copy.

A new trend is the emergence of books written by YouTuber’s. From just typing in ‘youtuber book covers’ in on Google images, you’re immediately smacked with a wall of colour. I have written blog posts on both Zoella and Connor Franta’s books, and have very different opinions on both of their book covers. I’m not a fan of Zoe’s covers. To put it frankly, it looks as though a five year old has been given the job to pick out the colour schemes.

Image result for zoella book coverImage result for connor franta book note to self

With her third book [left], the colouring of the title and the background do not compliment each other, and the scattering of photographs against this makes for a very messy looking cover. Ultimtely, it cries juvenility. Because of this, if I had not known Zoe and been a fan of her videos, I probably would have avoided her book at all costs (call me shallow). However, Connor Franta’s book [right] intrigued me. The simplicity of the design and the softness of the colours left an air of mystery that I had to follow up on. So even though I had little knowledge of who Connor was, I felt obliged to buy the book just because of how compelling I found the cover.  

Of course, I know for a lot of people it’s what’s on the pages that matters, and to them I’m probably going to sound like a really superficial person. I swear I’m not! Well. Okay, maybe a little bit. But I can promise you that if a book has an immersive story, I would buy it in a heartbeat, regardless of its appearance. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.



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