Thursday, May 21, 2009

Do Book Covers Matter?

No one likes to get pasted with the label "shallow." And I know you can't completely judge a book by its cover. But I have to admit, book covers do make a difference to me. A great cover might lead me to open a book that I might otherwise pass by in the universe of lots and lots of books. And, conversely, a cover can be off-putting enough that I might not open it unless I have other knowledge that leads me to believe it's worth checking out.

I read a book in hardcover last year that I really enjoyed. I've been eagerly awaiting its arrival in the store in paperback, because I think it's a book that will do well in paperback in our store. Well, this week it arrived. And the cover is dramatically different, and -- I have to just say it -- rather off-putting. I hope it doesn't end up putting people off the book, because it's an entertaining read. Certainly not top-notch Pulitzer-quality literature, but an entertaining comedy of manners, sort of higher-end reasonably well-written chick lit. A bit over-the-top romantic, perhaps, but darn it, I enjoyed it! The book is Beginner's Greek, a debut novel by James Collins. What do you think of the two covers? (FYI: The blue one is the hardback.)


  1. Since you ask...the blue cover reminds me of the 1950's - 'father knows best' kind of look. The paperback cover with the two people facing each other is saying 21st century to me! Just may have to check it out.

  2. I can totally be swayed by a book cover. There are a number of books that I may never have purchased & devoured if not for their covers... Octavia Butler's KINDRED (paperback, Bluestreak) comes to mind. As for the above covers, I don't love either one. They wouldn't stop me in my tracks at the bookstore.

  3. Book covers definitely make a difference to me. Especially with classic books, I'm willing to throw down a few extra bucks simply because the cover appeals to me. I recently found myself buying a second copy of "The Sound and the Fury" just because I saw a different printing with a nice cover.


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