Cover Story

Is it me or do Becca Fitzpatrick’s books have the most awesome cover art EVER? Admittedly, I didn’t like the cover of Crescendo as much as the other two in the series, but still…

Coming October 4, 2011

And that got me thinking… We’ve all heard “don’t judge a book by it’s cover…” blah blah blah. But isn’t that how they market books to us as readers? Shouldn’t publicists and marketing departments WANT books to have eye candy covers so we’ll snatch them up?

Would you be more inclined to walk to Oz if you could leap through fields of flowers (regardless of the drug induced hallucinations you may or may not experience) and follow the yellow brick road to a majestic city? Or would you rather pick through dead plants and almost break an ankle in a pot hole only to find a ramshackle house that hasn’t been exterminated in 10 years? Exactly. Appearance really IS everything, especially when it comes to cover art. The cover of a book is like the entrance to a foreign land. You don’t know what you’re going to find inside, but if no one put a lot of effort into the landscaping, you’re may not want to venture much further.

We always tend to pick up books with appealing, gorgeous, edgy, and/or creatively unique covers. Something that will tease us and make us curious about what’s inside. Take, for example, the following:

But I’m not sure there are that many people who would pick these up based on looks alone.

Don’t get me wrong… these aren’t atrocious (well, not ALL of them), but they’re definitely not ab-fab either. Epitaph Road is kind of dull, which is interesting because it’s a good book with a fair amount of action.  Punkzilla reminds me of something that would have been considered edgy in 1992. How I Live Now isn’t shameful, but the images are cartoon-like, giving it the appearance that it’s for a kid (the paperback cover is a bit better). Same goes for The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin. It’s an incredible book, but it looks very child-like. And let me tell you IT IS NOT. There are mature themes and language that made even me blush, and the cover does not convey that at all.The Last Summer of the Death Warriors makes me want to fall asleep. And if the cover makes me feel that way, what makes me think the book is going to make me feel any different?

Picking up a book is like going a blind date. If it’s not appealing on the outside, we’re hesitant to get to know what’s inside. It’s human nature. The quality of the book is what really counts, but we DO judge books by their covers. So if publishers and cover artists really want us to read these books, they’ve got to give us something to work with!

What do you think? How much does a book’s cover influence whether or not you’ll read it?

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