Thursday, December 23, 2010

Do you judge a book by its cover? What are some of your faves?

Do you judge books by their covers? I'm not speaking metaphorically, here ... I'm talking about actual books.

As for me, I know a book's cover can influence whether I pick it up.

I've been known to buy a book written by an author I've never heard of if the cover looks intriguing (and the book sounds interesting). This sometimes turns out great ... sometimes not so much. But mostly I'd say a cool cover begets a cool book, such as with "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" (at right).

CBS News Sunday Morning recently examined this issue. Thanks to my friend Katie for sending me the link to this CBS News Sunday Morning video on the topic of "Judging a book by its cover":

CBS' Erin Moriarty reports that "sometimes the cover of a book is important as the book itself" in this 8 min. clip. Book cover art is just that - art, she said. And, like advertising, caters to a certain audience. For instance, chick lit books might feature a shoe, purse or other item of women's clothing, while crime novel jackets are usually dark and shadowy.

Moriarty explores the possibility of book covers "going away" (much like print newspapers are expected to) with the rise of digital media. Ebook sales are up 193 percent this year, capturing nearly 10 percent of the $3B consumer book market, she reports.

Memorable covers of books I've read recently include: "The Help," (a pretty cover for a book on the not so pretty topic of racial prejudice), "Diary," (unsettling title written in what appears to be blood) and "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" (I kept flipping back to the cover to get a glimpse of Henrietta).

Here's a link to's "25 New Classic Bookcovers" ... I now want to read all those books because their covers are so cool. OK, I've already read "The Handmaid's Tale," "All The Pretty Horses," (right) and "Holidays on Ice" (above: great read for this time of year, BTW).

Can you recall a book cover that had a specific impact or influence on you?
Do tell! (just post a comment).


Anonymous said...

Karen read the dog book and we both read Holidays on Ice, although we're not sure how much we were influenced by the covers.
Good choices though.
-- Evan

Michelle Karas said...


Perhaps you were drawn to "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" because of the poodle on the cover!! I really like the "Holidays on Ice" cover as well.


Katie McVay said...

I read that CBS News got in trouble for the piece on book covers that inspired your post. Did you hear about it? Apparently, a few CBS wise guys created a fake cover for George Bush's "Decision Points" and put it in the story, instead of the real book cover. Their fake cover read, "Decision Points: How in Eight Years I Never Managed to Make a Good Decision." The book cover flashed by so quickly in the story that no one noticed...and first. CBS was blamed for perpetuating "left leaning media bias."

Oh, and thanks for the shout-out...

Michelle Karas said...

No Katie, I didn't see that fake Bush cover. I'm going to have to watch it again!

And thanks for inspiring this post.