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Cover-Up – Booking Through Thursday

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This week’s Booking Through Thursday question:

This week’s question comes from Julie, who asks:

While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

The design of a book doesn’t affect my reading enjoyment, but it does influence me in whether or not I’ll pick pick it up in the bookstore sans recommendations. For example:


Personally, I’m more drawn to Wicked. The cover art of Darkmans just repels me to no end and I wouldn’t have picked it up except that it had been chosen in our book club (and it might get traded out for something else). Elphaba looks mysterious and I couldn’t wait to read her story (is that a pun?). I think cover art is extremely important because it conveys a feeling, a mood, before you even know what the book is about. The cover art may help decide whether I want to buy a book or not.

Font is not important to me, but I do admit that I like when they have that blurb at the end of the book telling you what font was used and the history of that particular font. Am I the only one who reads those blurbs?

Hardcover versus paperback doesn’t matter to me, since I can’t afford to buy the hardback. But trade paperback versus mass market paperback? Don’t tell anyone, but I didn’t even know there was a difference until I started reading other people’s blogs.

I’ll admit, though, that I do notice when nicer paper is used. I don’t know who makes that decision, and while it won’t influence my decision to buy a book, nor will it influence whether or not I buy another book from that author, I like me some nice paper.

What’s your opinion?

| Tags: , , 29 comments »

29 Responses to “Cover-Up – Booking Through Thursday”

  1. Kat

    I agree. I’d go for the cover of “Wicked” over “Darkmans”. Anything like the latter I tend to skip over and I try looking for a reprint or something.

    I never really thought about the paper, though I do have to say a nice paper helps the reading experience. I notice the fonts more, though. I don’t like big prints, so good thing my eyesight is pretty good still 😀


  2. Melody

    I’d go for the cover of Wicked too. Cover does play a part IMO, but it most happens if I’m not familiar with the authors. I find blurbs are equally important too, especially if a bookstore decides to wrap a book to prevent other people from brownsing but I’m glad that is rare. I have never thought of the paper though… but you do have a point.

    Happy BTT!


  3. Jennifer

    I think the Darkmans cover would catch my attention first because it’s so bright, but I like the Wicked one better. 🙂 I’ve never noticed blurbs about the font in a book… Is that common?

    [I’ve noticed it in quite a few books I read. Maybe a quarter or a third of the books have that blurb? –trish]


  4. Ann Darnton

    I think more and more publishers are becoming aware of the quality of paper issue and I agree, I do enjoy reading a book with beautiful paper.


  5. Maree

    I’d pick up both books, based on those covers, although I like the Wicked one better.
    I always read those little blurbs about the fonts; I find them fascinating!


  6. Amy

    I like Wicked better too. I would be turned off by Darkmans because it looks graphic novelish to me and for some reason, I can’t get into graphic novels.

    BTW..I usually read about the history of the font but do acknowledge thinking “What other geek besides me reads this?” Glad to know I am not alone. 🙂


  7. Lezlie

    Strange. I just had “Darkmans” in my hand at Barnes & Noble last night thinkinging, “What the heck. . .?” And I almost bought it! Funny it should show up in today’s answer! 🙂



  8. Jan

    I do notice the paper in a book. Some very lightweight paper has a cheap and flimsy feel, but I’ve had some books with a heavier paper (even paperbacks) which can be annoying because it makes the book quite a bit heavier and bulkier when I’m trying to carry it in my purse!

    I read the blurb about the font, too. So many of these fonts have interesting histories.


  9. curlywurlygurly

    i admit to being swayed by covers…and SPINES. book publishers are getting more savvy because books are mainly arranged ‘spines out’ on the library and bookstore shelves. the publishers are paying more attention to the spines and add graphics and colorful font to make the books more enticing.

    i would have picked the book with the devil because the cover reminds me of the old-fashioned boardwalk haunted houses and cheap halloween masks. 🙂


  10. Idaho Gal

    I don’t care too much for font either and I also notice when good paper is used. I also move away from horrid cover images. 🙂


  11. jeane

    The quality of cover art definitely has an influence on me when I’m browsing shelves and don’t have a list in hand; I’ll always be drawn in/attracted by the better illustration. I’ve always glanced at those blurbs about fonts, but never really understood why they would be interesting. Can style of font reflect mood of the book? Or is it more about readability? Certainly I’ve come across books that were hard to read because of the font.


  12. Jaimie

    I don’t like horrid images either and like the Wicked better.


  13. sya

    I don’t know–I’ll have to go against the grain and say that I like the Darkmans cover. True, it’s garish. But it’s really striking and in-your-face. The Wicked cover may be less offensive, but it’s also pretty bland. I wouldn’t pick it up because to me it screams: “I pick up literature because I don’t want to stand out in the crowd with other dumb-looking books.”


  14. Megan

    I love reading about the font used as well. I love reading about any particulars in the design of the book. I like to know who designed the cover and the art work that is there. I even like to notice who did the photograph of the author. And I just realized it really annoys me when authors don’t have a picture of themselves in my book. I have no idea why.


  15. gautami tripathy

    I would pick up Wicked and not Darkman. By virtue of covers.
    I do not like too larg or too small fonts!

    Booking through cover


  16. Amy


    I LOVE this topic. It’s very interesting to see how differently everyone responds. I personally like the “Wicked” cover better myself (out of the two provided).

    Cover art is very important to me. (And this is just my opinion) When I’m in a bookstore, I always look at the covers and pick up what I like on the front when I’m looking for a new read. And you are right, if one comes highly recommended, I could care less what’s on the front. But paper quality, I love the thickness and the way it feels and smells, nothing better than quality paper.

    Oh and I guess I would pick a trade up over a mass market if it was going to be one that I kept. They are usually bigger, nicer cover art, but a bit more costly. Overall nicer than the mass market. Now if it was just a quick read that I was going to pass on and on, I don’t think it would matter and my all time favorite are yes, hardcovers with beautiful jackets. I only buy those when either I’ve been waiting for a certain favorite book/author or want to add to my beautiful bookshelves. There is nothing like being the first one to crack open a new hardcover book. : )

    The little things in life….Good books, nice paper, and special friends that blog (ROCK) : ) Hope you’re having a wonderful day.



  17. Amy

    Oh Trish? You’re NOT the only one that reads those wacky little blurbs at the end. I know I do, I love to find out things about the book I’m reading and I always read it from cover to cover, BLURBS and all.

    Talk with you soon,

    [Ah, a kindred spirit!! I even read the acknowledgements… 🙂 –trish]


  18. raych

    This is a test comment. A guy just walked through the library with THE squeakiest shoes. I wanted to knife him. Test, test test.


  19. raych

    Yes, awesome. I can officially comment on your blog now. Prepare for the tsunami (well, not now, because I’m in class. And this whole ‘I’m taking notes’ thing doesn’t work when she’s not saying anything note-worthy).


  20. chartroose

    Yep, I’d go for the “Wicked” cover too. It’s too bad I couldn’t get into the book!

    I read about the font as well, but I read everything, including the verso. I’m kind of OCD about my reading, that’s for sure!


  21. ravenous reader

    i love the really lush, painterly cover art you see on some of the hardcover book jackets. and the quality of paper they’re using for those jackets now has such a rich feeling.

    i read the font thing too – my son started me doing that. he’s a graphic designer and he’s always buying new fonts for his computer, so we’re kind of a font collecting family 🙂


  22. pussreboots

    I prefer the cover for Darkmans but maybe that’s because I really HATED Wicked.


  23. Literary Feline

    I too don’t believe that the cover of a book will influence my enjoyment of it, although it may have an effect on whether I consider a book initially.

    I’m with you when it comes to which of those two covers you posted I like best. Bright colors can be a big turn off for me sometimes.


  24. lisamm

    A witch or a devil, hmmmmm. I would pick up Darkmans before I’d pick up Wicked. It’s so out there I’d have to read the back and see what it’s about. It looks like a funhouse image on a boardwalk somewhere (Atlantic City?) Wicked is too monochromatic and kind of boring-looking, plus I know what it’s about, so it’s just not screaming “Pick me up! Pick me UP!”


  25. bkclubcare

    I prefer the Wicked one – more subtle.


  26. Aaron

    I don’t pay close attention to the font either but I also enjoy reading the blurb about the font. I always look for them when I’m finished a book.


  27. Susan Helene Gottfried

    I used to read the blurb about the font. I’m not sure why I stopped; probably because every single font was different with its own history and I couldn’t keep them all straight, anyway.

    I’m glad you’re influenced by book covers. I’ve been seeing a lot of people who are as jaded as I am about covers and then I feel bad because I see many of my published writer friends so excited about their covers and frankly… I could care less. It’s what’s inside that I focus on.

    Bad me.


  28. mellymel

    i am totally influenced by the cover if i’m browsing in the store…otherwise i rely on my blog friends (like you) or other good buzz. i never would have picked up The God of Animals from the cover, but it turns out to be my fave so far this year.


  29. Aria

    I find myself reading the little blurbs on the fonts in the back but they are only in a few books. Then again, I am always one to enjoy fonts and what they can say about the person using it. Does that make any sense?


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