Thursday, April 2, 2015

Reasons "Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover" Is Horrible Advice

I mean this title to apply only in the bookish sense, of course. You shouldn't judge PEOPLE by their cover.

Still, it's advice that I'm sure you've heard a lot. I know I have. And many times, people DO mean in the bookish sense. But you know what? They're wrong.

I know, because I followed this advice for a while. The result? I downloaded 200 free kindle e-books onto my kindle because, even though 80% of their covers were practically poo on digital paper, (harsh, sorry) 'there could be a good story in there, and I wouldn't want to miss it!'

But the thing most of those books--not all, but most of the books with not-up-to-par covers--the story WASN'T good. AT ALL.

A lot of times, in my opinion, it's GOOD to judge a book by its cover. Here are some reasons why I judge books by their covers.

1. Didn't pay for good cover, didn't pay for good editor

With self publishing, editing has become more of a non-essential. There are a couple self-published authors that I know of who, in the process of trying to save money, skipped on both the cover and the editor. A lot of times, if they skip on one, they skip on the other. So, sometimes, a non-professional looking outside can mean typos and run on sentences and a poorly stitched-together story on the inside. Now, this isn't ALWAYS the case...but I found it to be true A LOT.

2. You can tell when the book was published. 

It's not that I don't like reading older books, but sometimes it's hard to identify with the book's plot or themes because it's from a really different era. Note that when I say 'old', I'm not talking about timeless classics here; I'm talking about those beat up books that you find at the thrift shop that no one under the age of forty has EVER heard of. Books with covers that scream:

  I read a lot of these when I was younger because my school library was mostly made up of books published pre-1995. I liked them, but I tend to like newer books more; so if a book has a cover that shows its age, I am less likely to pick it up.

3. You can tell the age demographic.

I read mostly YA and older middle grade.  So if I see a book that has, I don't know, a cartoon fairy dressed in a disco costume, I know that most likely it's too young for me. Though hey, fairy dressed in disco costume...that may be something I could get for someone younger because seriously that sounds AWESOME.

4. Good covers motivate me to read more. 

Maybe it's just me, but I reaaalllllly  want to read books that have covers I find eye-catching. Even if it doesn't sound like something I would usually love, 90% of the time I'll try it just for the cover.  So, good covers can be major motivators for me.
This is how I act when I see a book with an awesome cover. I'll be honest, I really just wanted to incorporate Dory into this post somehow.
5. They let you know about the content of the book.

Two teens kissing? That'll be romance. A huge freaking dragon?  Some high fantasy of some sort. True, there are some covers where it's like, "why the heck is that what they chose for this book??" but a lot of the time it's not too hard to guess the genre of the book based on what the cover looks like. 

This is mostly how I judge covers! I know it's 'frowned upon', but honestly, I don't care. I'm gonna judge anyways. 


Are there certain things that you look for in a cover?  Or certain cover characteristics that will cause you to not pick up a book? Let me know below!


  1. I fully agree with you, moreover I think it's impossible in a bookshop not to judge books by their covers. I think that's the first thing that catches your eyes and why would you pick up a book if it doesn't look interesting? In a shelf full of books you will pick the ones that have gorgeous covers, that's something I believe. Also, when I'm browsing on Goodreads on listopia or between the new releases the covers are the thing that catch my attention, and then the titles.
    I do think that beautiful covers can be made with a low budget. Actually, some of the covers I love are really simple.
    Great discussion. :)

    1. Yeah, that's definitely true! I have picked a lot of books from bookshops just because of their covers. Thanks. :)


  2. I like covers that are done well in the sense that they're classy. I don't care for the crazy manipulated covers that some people think are what's "in." If it's visually appealing and it fits, it doesn't have to be very grand at all.

    For me, if the cover is ugly, I REALLY don't want a physical copy. I'm going to have to look at that ugly cover for the time it lives on my shelf and that isn't cool with me. Obviously, I wouldn't not read a book because of its cover but I would definitely put it off as long as I can which is unfortunte but true :(

    1. That's very true! I've seen a lot of very simple covers that are appealing, and a lot of very graphic heavy covers that just don't work. And yeah, if the book has a bad cover, it's library-worthy maybe, but most likely not something I'm going to buy. :)

  3. This is a great discussion post - I agree with you, sometimes it's HARD not to judge a book by the cover. It's the first thing that catches my eye, plus there's too many books out there not to judge .. and I LOL'ed at the free download books, I've done that before and those books usually end up being pretty crappy. <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. I found a few gems but the majority were :/ i'm glad someone else understands what a bad decision that was! XD

  4. I completely agree with you, and everyone judges covers even if they don't admit it - or they don't realise! There's always an exception, but usually I'll only get a book if the cover interested me enough to read the synopsis

    Most recent post on Enchanted by YA:

    1. Yeah, definitely! I have come across a few exceptions as well; but usually even then I will borrow rather than buy, haha. :)


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