Monday, September 10, 2012

[Rant] Don't Judge a Book by Its...

Despite the saying, I judge books by their covers. In fact, I'm very picky about what books look like. And it does affect whether or not I make a purchase. Sometimes, if I don't like the cover, I will buy it in eBook format so that its ghastly appearance does not mar my bookshelves. Or I'll rent it from the library. 

The usage of models on covers is now my biggest peeve. It seems to be the new thing. Every book you see--especially in YA (*cough* Paranormal Romance *cough*)--has some teenage chick on the cover. And they're always posing the same way. Here is a great blog post that analyzes YA covers.

My irritation is not because it is so popular and overused, but because I don't want to look at real people. I would prefer a badly drawn illustration to an actual person. And I especially do not like books with half-naked women or men on them. It took me forever to buy Cassandra Clare's City of Bones. Had a half naked dude on it, and at the time, I was embarrassed to buy it.

For adult books, my biggest issue concerns covers that look like the following examples.

Covers like this were the reason I didn't read adult books until late. I avoided the adult section because I thought all books, at least in the fantasy genre, looked as lame as these. They're not bad illustrations per se, but they're pretty outdated and full of meh.

However, there are some covers that make me all giddy. Here are a few examples of some super epic covers!

The artist who does R.A. Salvatore's covers is a freaking genius. This one in particular is my favorite.

Now these are the styles I would love to have on the front of my own book. What's sad is, if I traditionally publish, I won't have much to say--or any at all, really--regarding the cover of my book.  It is seen as taboo to even try to make a suggestion to your agent/editor/publisher. You put countless hours of your time into writing your book, but you don't get any say in it's appearance. Kind of irritating. I'll probably end up with a bunch of models on mine. *sigh* Of course, I can always self-publish. But, a lot of the time, you can tell that a novel has been self-published by the quality of their covers.

Nothing pisses me off more than when the style of a book cover changes halfway through a series. Half of your books look one way, the other half look another. Nothing flows anymore! Very irritating. Or, or! When a series gains popularity and halfway through they begin printing them in hardcover. Of course, with my impatience, I have to buy it right away to know what happens. But I would prefer to wait for it to come out in paperback so it matches. And does anyone else loathe covers that come from the book's film adaptation? I will always make it a point to buy the original book with the original cover.

I find it interesting that the covers for US and UK books can be so vastly different. I think the US covers tends to be more action-oriented. Some UK book covers I like better, others I do not. I think the US publishers did an excellent job with Harry Potter. I mean, look at the original!

Honestly, I wish publishers would go back to leather-bound, and I wouldn't have to rant about any of this. I have about six or seven Barnes and Noble Leather-bound classics. Haven't gotten around to reading them yet, but holy balls, do they look pretty on my bookshelves!

I know the content is more important than the appearance, and even if a book cover sucks, I'll still read it if the description is interesting enough, but I am one for aesthetically pleasing covers. Can't be helped.

Care to share your thoughts on covers? Am I alone in being so nitpicky? 


  1. You're not alone! Bad covers are really unfortunate ... they make a big difference in how I feel about a book. I'm also bothered by the models on most YA covers. None of my characters are super-fashionable, flawless and thin with caked-on makeup. I don't like the message it sends.
    Then again, if I really love a book the cover doesn't matter much anymore. For example, the HP cover you included. I've never seen the American version but I haven't thought twice about that cover since I first read the book.

  2. I don't like the message they're sending either. I hope the trend passes soon.

    I agree. If I love the book, the cover hardly matters. I only mentioned HP because I'm so accustomed to seeing the American version. The original UK cover is not bad, it's just bizarre and alien to me, having grown up with the other.

  3. I also have a sorta peeve with models on YA covers. Not enough to prevent me from buying any, but it seems like a real trend. Part of it seems to be that illustrated covers are seen as more MG, but I'm not really buying it. Personally, the illustrated cover of How to Date an Alien looks more focused than the current version. On the other hand, Grasping at Eternity has a great cover.

    But I think The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Divergent all have great covers, because they all have iconic symbols instead of models.

    Maybe I should write a full blog post about this. It's bound to stir people up, or at least attract some opinions.

    For some reason, I have a more controversial edge with my blog posts. See my blog's current post: And the last one.

  4. I would like to read your post about this. I'm sure you'd be better at analyzing the subject than me. ^.^

    And controversial stuff is fun!

  5. It is! Got any of the good stuff cooking up for future posts?

  6. Nothing super controversial planned yet. At least concerning writing and books. However, I may, with the election coming up, be offering my 2 cents in a rant regarding religion in politics. Especially since I'm taking this religious class that analyzes it. Though, I'll try to keep it from being preachy and one-sided.