In Defense of Judging a Book by Its Cover

I’m 1000% biased when I say that judging a book by its cover is sometimes a good thing. There’s a sea of books either online or at the store and at some point, you have to limit the choices just so you can even make said choice.

I know a lot of people are going to get mad at me for this (a lot of those people being self-published authors), but I honestly am a huge proponent to judging a book by its cover.

Multicolored spines of books arranged in a rainbow provided by Jason Leung

Interesting Cover Might Equal Interesting Story

I know this isn’t always the case and I’ve been burnt by it a few times myself, but if a cover is interesting to you then there is a chance the story itself is interesting to you. I’ve found great novels I would never have thought of because of an interesting story. I’ve also found some stinkers, but overall I’ve found mostly ones I’ve liked.

Genre Themes Lead You

There is a sort of unspoken rule with covers where a cover tends to fit the general themes and genres of the story. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but after a while you’ll see a lot of the same themes when it comes to covers of genres you like. This helps you narrow down your selection quickly (especially in the clearance section where everything is just jumbled up.

A Nice Cover Feels Like Effort

Book named All the Letters I Should Have Sent provided by Thought Catalog

Covers are the biggest complaint I have for a lot of self-published authors and the cover is usually what helps or hinders my purchase of self-published books. A nice (subjectively beautiful) cover leads me to believe they’ve put in the effort to make this book. As an author, you can’t just drop a half ass cover on your novel because then your story will seem half assed too (even if it’s not true).

This is why I recommend to self-published authors to make sure to set aside enough money to have a fantastic cover to represent their story. I also know it’s not fair to self-published authors to judge them by their cover, but in the sea of books, you have to find a way to figure out which books to read.

I hope I didn’t make any of you too angry with the talk of judging a book by its cover. It’s just something I’ve done both because I’m a designer but also as an avid reader with a to be read pile that’s never ending. Let me know in the comments below any books you’ve picked up because of the cover. Was the book any good? Or was it the worst book ever? I’d love to know.

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