Sunday, June 2, 2013

Judging a Book by Its Cover

I’m fortunate to live in Philadelphia where book stores, big and small, are plentiful. Plus, we have a gigantic central library and more local branches than I can count. Wherever I go, I'm surrounded by books!

One day last week, I was browsing in one of those stores when I was distracted by the manner in which the romance books were shelved. All of the book spines, with title and author, faced me as I browsed. None of the covers were in my direction.  

I was a little frustrated over this. I felt that as I approached each new book selection, the cover of the first book offered should be displayed. Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive because I’ve received so many compliments on Magic Moment’s book. But, I think a book cover has a lot to do with selling a book.  Many times, when I’m scanning the shelves, I’ll pick up and check out a book because I’m intrigued by the cover. 

I approached the sales associate and suggested how she should turn at least one copy of each book offering so that the book cover faced customers. She smiled politely, said she’d take my suggestion into consideration and went back to stacking shelves.

Simply shelving the books in author alphabetical order, I was bypassing any author who wasn’t already known to me. Whereas if the book’s cover had intrigued me, I would pull it off the shelf, give it a look and perhaps purchase it. Not only would I have discovered a new book, but a new author. I doubt if I’m the only book buyer who purchases in this manner.

So, today, I’m asking for comments and opinions. As a book buyer, how important do you think a book cover is to a book?






  1. Angela,
    That is a great blog on book covers. I had gone to the grocery store to pick up a few items. While in the store, I passed an aisle with a book rack of books for sale and the covers were facing out. One book just seemed to stand out from all the rest. I had never been so captivated by a book cover before. It was Judi McCoy's Wanted: One Perfect Man. The cover had a blonde woman sitting on a crescent moon wearing a red halter top blouse, a short tight blue denim skirt, and red heels. The woman reminded me of Barbara Eden's portrayal of I Dream of Jeannie. She held a rope in her hand which dangled below her in space with a lasso on the other end. There were twinkling stars all around her. I read the description of the story on the back cover and a thought came to mind: You can't judge a good book by it's cover. So I put the book down and went on with my shopping.

    But the book cover haunted me so much after I got home that I went back to the store to buy it but it was gone and there were no more. Needless to say, I went to a Barnes and Noble and bought the book. I still believe that you can't judge a good book by its cover, but sometimes you can. And in this case, it was a good story.

    Here's a link to the book cover:

    By the way, your book cover of Magic Moment tempts me to buy the book.

    1. Hi, Nick,

      When I was in the book store, it was difficult for me to stop myself from turning books face out. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on my blog. And, now I'm on my way to check out the goodreads link you shared.

  2. First, I buy books by authors I know personally. Second, I buy books with covers that appeal to me. If books aren't displayed so I can see the covers, I'll pass them by. On occasion I'm intrigued by a title, but it will be the cover that makes me look further.

    1. You and I think alike, Marion. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.