Book Talk: Cover vs Content

Friday 11 April 2014

Over the past year and a bit, I've read, bought, and borrowed a lot of books. Some - like the one pictured - with amazing covers, some with amazing stories, some with both, and sadly some with neither. These encounters really got me thinking: what draws me to a new book?

I'll admit, I am a little biased when it comes to covers. Chances are, if a book has a nice, quality cover then what's inside will also be of a decent standard. But is it right for me to judge like that? I guess, if you come back to the age old saying 'never judge a book by its cover', then no, it's not okay. But surely if I'm sparing myself the trouble of reading a sub-standard book that I won't enjoy then it's acceptable? Rarely do I read the blurbs and summaries of a book any more, instead I'll take it at face value and hope that the people gushing about how amazing something is are right. It seems to be becoming a bit of a problem.

And it's all very well judging a book by its cover, but what happens when you get one with a beautiful cover but rubbish in its pages? An atrocious cover with beautifully flowing writing? It frustrates me to no end that these anomalies - as I see them, as I've yet to find many badly covered books that are actually worthy of three or more stars - are exactly that: anomalies. 

This has turned into more of a rambling mess of my thoughts than a structured discussion post, but I'm interested in everyone's thoughts. Do good covers equal good stories? Do you pick books based on their covers or on their content? Do you think covers should reflect the content of a book? Or do you just not care?


  1. Unfortunately I know for a fact that good covers don't mean good stories, but I still can't help myself from going for the amazing covers. I have in the last while started to restrain myself from impulse buying and actually look up the books to see if they would interest me. One book that I thought had a horrific cover was 'The Book Thief'. I hated the dominoes :/ But then I got the movie cover one instead and read it....The book is amazing and to just think many people might be deterred like I was because of the cover...

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)
      I felt exactly the same way about The Book Thief, and I only actually read it after I'd seen the movie and the new cover was released because it was much nicer (and more relevant, I found). Good job on restraining yourself on impulse buys as well, it's really tough not to go for nice covers haha!


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