Bookish Musings: Why Are We So Attracted to Pretty Book Covers?

 
 

This isn’t a discussion about if we’re attracted to pretty covers because, let’s face it, we are. And for the most part, we bookworms don’t deny it.

That’s not to say we never read books that don’t have pretty covers, at least I know I do sometimes, but we still love to obsess over and read the books with pretty ones. But the cover has absolutely zero bearing on the writing inside, so why do we gravitate to the books with nicer covers? That, my friends, is the question I’m trying to figure out the answer to, so let’s discuss!

 

 

The Point of a Book Cover

I’m trying really hard to figure out how to organize this post but quite frankly I’m completely winging it and don’t even know yet exactly what it is that I’m going to say or discuss. I’m just kind of thinking out loud (or in writing). But it seemed like the point of book covers would be a good place to start.

Obviously pretty covers are helpful to books because they get our attention and draw us in. In order to get interested in a book, we have to notice it first. So it does make sense that we just tend to notice the pretty books more, and maybe that’s why we read them more. But though that might explain why we end up reading a high number of them, that doesn’t explain why we decide to read books we might otherwise not simply because of their covers, so I have some theories.

Maybe the Book Covers We Find Pretty Are the Simply Ones that Fit Our Reading Tastes

What I mean by this, maybe it’s one of those correlation but not necessarily causation things. Maybe we subconsciously (or consciously) have noticed that a lot of the books we like have a certain cover style, and so we start gravitating to other books with the cover style thinking they might be like those other books on the inside. I mean, that IS one of the important jobs of covers, to portray the genre, the type of book, and the story inside. I do a lot of posts featuring covers, and I’ve noticed that different genres do often have very distinct styles. And since taste in covers is so subjective, maybe that’s because reading taste is subjective and we’re all being drawn to the covers that match our reading tastes? I think this might account for at least some covers since, for example, I rarely see covers I like in the contemporary romance or chick lit genre… but I also don’t read those genres. And when I make posts about covers I like, the books end up usually being all sci-fi/fantasy because those are just the types of covers I like.

Maybe It IS Possible for the Cover to Affect the Story Inside

I know I said the opposite in my intro, but hear me out because this may not apply to everyone but it does apply to me. I like book covers that have the characters on them—not photos of random real people, but artwork or at the very least a photo manipulation with a person who is not from a stock website and therefore not on any other covers. Almost all the covers I consider the prettiest have the characters on them. And as humans in general, we tend to be pretty visual, right? We connect better with people when we can see them. Well, I am a human, so when I see the characters, sometimes I start connecting to them or getting invested in them before I’ve even started the book, and THAT then draws me in and makes me want to read it. For example, see this cover?

The Land of Night by Kirby Crow | reading, books
 

I haven’t even started this series yet, but damn it if I’m not already swooning over their relationship. They just look so adorable together! But they also look like they’ve had some hardships—look at the dark-haired character’s sad face :-((( But do you see? Do you see how I am already invested and feeling things and caring about these characters? I wouldn’t be feeling this way though if this were just a plain cover with some text or a stock photo. And the more invested I am, the more I’m going to enjoy the book. I think this may be the main reason why I personally am so attracted to [what I consider to be] pretty covers.

Not only that, seeing the characters or the setting can make it a lot easier to picture these things clearly and vividly in my mind which then also makes for a better reading experience.

Maybe Pretty Covers Just Make Us More Curious

Pretty covers stick in our minds in a way that mediocre or plain covers don’t. So then we just kinda keep thinking about the book and getting more curious. Or the pretty cover might have something unique or interesting on it that catches our attention and makes us curious, and so we decide to make time for that book, but not the boring-cover books, because we want to know more.

Maybe It’s All About that Bookstagram

It definitely makes sense to want pretty book covers if you’re going to be taking photos of them! I can see why this might be some people’s reason. I don’t really use Instagram though, and I still like pretty covers, so that means this can’t be the only reason.

Or Maybe We Just Like Looking at Pretty Things

I’m still picky about what I read, I won’t read a book just for the cover if the blurb doesn’t actually sound like something I’ll enjoy, but I know some people do buy books based on the covers alone. And I get it because I do get swayed by covers if I’m on the fence. I guess sometimes it’s just worth it to read a book we’re not sure we’ll like if it means we get to own the cover and look at its gorgeousness forever.

P.S. If you like looking at pretty covers and want some bookish eye candy, check out my Cover Characteristics posts!

 
 

Talk to me!

Why do YOU like pretty book covers?
Do you ever read books just because of their covers?
What do you think of my theories?
Do you have any other theories about why we get sucked in by pretty covers?

 

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  1. Greg

    I think there’s something to your first theory, frankly if I see images of fantasy or sci fi it’s more appealing than a lot of, say, contemporary covers where it’s just people hanging out maybe or whatever. Not that I don’t see a contemp cover I like occasionally, but yeah- in general. We look for the stuff we like, I guess.

    Your second point too. I absolutely love an illustrated cover- I want to see not only the character(s) but some aspect of the story. Some cover artists say they read the book before doing the illo, and I respect that- they’re trying to reflect the book. That may be true of more old school SF cover artists since styles have changed- maybe that’s why I go for retro covers so much lol. And the really weird part for me is that covers have influenced how I remember the book. For a lot of the SF I read as a teen or pre- teen, when I re- read sometimes- my feelings about that book are LARGELY about the cover. that has surprised me.

    I have totally bought books in the past for the cover, I mean they’re almost always still SF/F but if it’s a story I’m not sure I’ll like I’ll still buy that bad boy if the art is awesome. As a kid I had a ton of SF books that I hadn’t read but I thought they looked cool on my shelf!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really think there might be something to the first theory. I mean, it can’t just be coincidence that the covers we happen to find the prettiest are usually the books in our preferred genre.

      Yes, I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves illustrated covers! I feel like a lot of people just don’t like to see the characters period, but I love getting to see them before I start the book. And yeah, even better when it actually shows a scene or a theme or a setting or something from the story. I don’t know, I guess it’s not that weird that the covers influence how you remember them? Or maybe it’s just that since you read the books a while ago you’ve forgotten what the stories were, but you just know that you liked them and had good feelings about them so now you associate those good feelings with the only part you do remember, which is the cover?

      I mean, even if it’s sci-fi/fantasy I won’t buy a book just for the cover. But like the book I’m reading right now for example, I’m not positive I would’ve read it if it hadn’t been for how much I adore the cover, but I might’ve. So I’m swayed by covers when for those books I’m kind of 50/50 on. Lol to having a bunch of books you didn’t read though.

  2. Trish @ Between My Lines

    I think I just like pretty things. I love notebooks with nice covers so on some superficial level I’m just attracted to pictures that appeal to me. It’s not make or break, I’ll buy books with awful covers but in a bookshop I’ll pick up all the pretty ones first. Or not even pretty, interesting is more accurate really.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol don’t worry, I like pretty things too. And I agree, I’ll also buy/read books with awful covers, but with our limited time and money, sometimes we have to choose, and I’ll go for the pretty one I’m interested in rather than the not-so-pretty one. And that’s true, interesting is a good word to use since they just have to appeal to us but not necessarily be gorgeous.

  3. Lola

    Oh I love posts about covers! I do think that there should be a relation between the cover and the story inside. So from that point of view I could argue that the goal of nice looking covers is to get us to pick up books that are right for you. Like how you recently had this post about vampire covers and all those covers just scream vampire. With vampires you add blood, teeth and darkness. While with shifters it’s often nature scenes, a character and an animal for example. They let us now what kind of genre or story to expect. Then again that’s more about what’s on the cover and having it fit the story inside than having it be a pretty cover.

    I do like it how covers can tell a piece fo the story already, like that cover you showed with those two characters and it makes me wonder about their story. Then again I personally also like covers without characters on them or when there is a character to not see their face or see their face form the side or a different angle. If there is a character on the cover I want it to match how the character is supposed to look like. And even if it is a stock picture with some changes you can still make them look like your character(s) instead of just a generic person.

    There’s something to be said for artwork covers though and I think they can be very pretty, but they also don’t fit every genre or book.

    But mostly I just think we like to look at pretty things and book cover that are pretty attract our attention. there sure are covers for books that are pretty where the book doesn’t sound like a book for me, but I can still like the cover. And pretty covers grab our attention in a sea of covers, if you can have your cover stand out and grab someone’s attention when scrolling through a website, social media or newsletter than you already have a piece of their attention. This reminds me of how I impulse bought Pirate Bound. i saw the cover in someone’s newsletter I think and it was just the type of cover that called out to me, I clicked on that cover, read the blurb and bought it. If the cover hadn’t caught my attention I probably would’ve scrolled right past it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It seems fitting to do a discussion about covers since I do so many posts about them lol. I do completely agree with you. I think the real point of a cover, even more important than being pretty, is to accurately portray the story inside. But I kind of talked about that in the other section about different genres having different types of covers, and my post was getting long, so I decided not to add that to the first section. But you’re definitely right!

      I know a lot of people don’t like characters on the cover period, so I knew not everyone would agree with that point, but I love seeing artwork of the characters since those are usually designed specifically for the book and therefore really do look exactly like the characters. And since I see them BEFORE reading, I don’t have to worry about my image being ruined since I don’t have an image yet. It actually just helps me to visualize them better and make them look less generic in my head.

      That’s true, illustrated and artwork covers don’t work for every genre. But see they do work for a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, and that’s what I read, and those are the covers I like, so that fits perfectly with my first theory ;-)

      There are definitely still some times when I find a cover pretty even though I’m not interested in the book though. I do just like pretty things. And yeah, when I’m on GR or Amazon, oftentimes it’s just the cover that’s shown and that’s what makes me interested to click and look at the blurb. So they are important!

  4. Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews

    Personally when a book cover is pretty, whether it’s a minimalist one with a clean font and an object that reflects the story or a sci-fi cover that has the usual colorful cover with the custom fond, both scream professional to me, like someone took the time to pick the cover and do the design and make it so that the outside hopefully reflects the inside – which in turn implies there’s a good editing and a good story telling to go along. (or at least I hope there is)

    I’ve been let down by pretty covers, so freaking often, that now I’ll take my chances with a “messy” cover that has way too many elements, and/or a cover model missing a shirt or one that really doesn’t make readers interesting in the book (The Winter King by C. L. Wilson will forever be the example of a fantastic book with an awful cover).

    Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews recently posted: HOW LONG WOULD YOU WAIT FOR A BOOK RELEASE?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh, you’re so right! I can’t believe I didn’t think to include that. When a cover looks good and professional, it does make me think the inside of the book will be more professional as well. Of course that doesn’t always hold true, I’ve also read plenty of books with great covers that sucked and books with terrible covers that were amazing. And I do take chances on terrible covers. But I’m still more drawn to the pretty ones and am sometimes willing to give a book a chance that I might not have if the cover hadn’t been pretty.

  5. Lampshade Reader

    Unless it’s an author I’m already invested in, I totally become interested in a book based on the cover only. What can I say? I’m shallow LOL In this case, I do judge a book by its cover.

    I love pretty covers with couples, art, scenery, etc. The more original the better. Just like the cover on The Bear and the Nightingale that we were discussing the other day, I was totally drawn to that book because of that alone :) ~Aleen

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol well as long as you’re not automatically giving good ratings based on covers, I’d say it’s fair to become interested based on the covers ;-)

      Yes, I love original covers that actually show things from the book and give you a feeling for what it will be like. The Bear and the Nightingale is gorgeous and totally got my attention, but I’m still picky about what I read so I also tend to look at blurbs and reviews before deciding.

  6. Jessica

    I actually never really looked at covers until I started my blog a few months ago. The title of the books is what gets me to read the books.

  7. Lily B

    I have bought books based on covers alone. I love the covers and think they deserve just as much appreciations. I have lately been trying not to pick books based on the cover and look at the blurb also. But isn’t it the whole point? for the book to capture our attention first it’s all about it capturing your eye? There are a lot of books out there that don’t even get a second look at because not much thought or talent was put into the cover and just like the entire thing, it’s part of a representation. It probably sounds unfair to some authors who want people to notice books due to writing and a blurb but it’s the same as you wouldn’t want a monotone voice for a long audio book and why people jazz up work presentations and change the volume of their voice while talking. I feel like it falls into the same general idea of capturing interest and attention.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Covers definitely deserve appreciation. I mean, someone put a lot of effort into making each one! But I’m still too picky about what I read to choose books based on covers without taking into account the blurb and reviews and whatnot. But you’re right, the cover is part of the representation and works with the inside of the book to make the whole thing seem professional.

  8. ShootingStarsMag

    It’s an interesting topic. I don’t like stock photos that you see on other books either. I don’t mind real people on the cover, but it does depend. I like what you mean about more illustrated drawings of people – the one you shared is a good example! It really does convey the characters and what you can expect.

    We do all love a good cover. It doesn’t have to be amazing for me to want to read the book though. I just find really ugly/plain covers unappealing and if I don’t know what the book is about, I’ll probably skip over it.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted: Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Foltz Jones

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m ok with real people on the cover too as long as they’re not on the covers for other books/series too, but I still don’t really like covers that just have a photo. I like things more edited. But maybe that’s just because I like fantasy, and more edited means more magical-looking lol. But yeah, I think sometimes illustrated covers can portray feelings and characters even better.

      I agree. I do read books with ugly covers sometimes, but if I’m scrolling through books or something, I probably won’t bother to click on those since I don’t get any sense of what they’re about and so they don’t interest me.

  9. Christy LoveOfBooks

    It’s the same thing with people. We’re attracted to good looking people even though we may not know them, but we want to get to know them. Sometimes they’re awful on the inside, sometimes they aren’t. We’re biologically programmed to pick pretty over ugly, as we’ve seen in many studies … even babies. So we’re going to be draw to the pretty covers because we’re vain humans who want pretty things. lol.

    Christy LoveOfBooks recently posted: The Billionaire Next Door by Jessica Lemmon

    1. Kristen Burns

      You know, that’s… huh. I’d never have thought of that comparison to how we’re drawn to good looking people and want to get to know them, but that’s a really good point. Like, if I go out and there are a bunch of men there but I can only choose one to talk to just on the basis of what I see, I’m going to pick one I’m attracted to, however superficial that might sound. Kind of like how if we go to the bookstore and have to choose a book, we choose the ones that are pretty. And you’re right, I’ve heard about those studies too about how even babies like pretty people better. But once I actually get to know people, the outside doesn’t matter, also like once I read a book. You’ve made me think. I like that lol. Although, we like pretty people because that instinctual part of us knows it usually means they have strong, healthy genetics, so does that really apply to objects? Idk, but it’s definitely an interesting comparison!

  10. Puput @ Sparkling Letters

    AHHH I’m such a sucker for pretty covers! <3 Pretty covers are naturally appealing because I think most humans are visuals, therefore it's the first thing that catch our eyes. Pretty covers are also intriguing, I mean, I'm more likely to check out a book I literally never heard of if the covers are pretty :P I personally like simple, colorful, and sweet cover with pretty typography in it, that's why I'm always so in love with contemporary covers especially because I dig that genre so much ahaha but with fantasy, I prefer no characters on cover because most of the time, they're not what I imagine they would look like :( AND YES TO BOOKSTAGRAM!! <3<3 I love taking pictures of my book, but it's not always about it. Sometimes I just want to have pretty books on my shelves. I even went to the trouble of paying extra for specific covers/editions just because I wanted to lol great post! :D

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree, humans are very visual, so it makes sense. But see, I like illustrated covers since those are made specifically for the book and do look like the characters :-D But I still get why people don’t like any characters on their covers. You take gorgeous book photos, so I can definitely see why you like pretty covers for bookstagram! But that’s too, I also sometimes just like to have pretty covers for my shelves <3 Thanks!

  11. Niki Hawkes

    You bring up so many good points! I’d only add that awesome books tend to get better covers because publishers are willing to spend more money on them. So it’s not always just pure chance that the amazing books have great covers, it’s marketing. They know we are all suckers for something pretty haha. Great topic! :)

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s true, publishers can often afford better cover designers than self-pub and indie books. But seriously, I don’t think any of us can resist the pretty ones! Lol thanks!

  12. Melissa

    I definitely think it is a combination of a few of those. I think we definitely tend to start associating some cover styles with books/genres we’ve read and loved and then are more attracted to those going forward, but I think it really starts with the publishers doing a great job (hopefully) of picking covers that really fit the book, attracting those readers and then perpetuating the cycle.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really think it does have to do with associating certain cover styles to certain genres. But you’re right that a really important part of covers is to portray the book correctly which does then perpetuate the cycle and attract us even more next time lol.

  13. Toady

    I have never really understood why an author or publisher sometimes argue that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. If it isn’t a recommendation from a friend, then what is to make me want to pic it up among thousands in a bookstore. That being said, I have gotten better about being able to see a cover for what is potentially inside. For instance, my favorite covers are often YA, yet it is not my favorite group of books. Each genre and target audience pretty much has a different style of cover art.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I mean, I get it, I have read some phenomenal books that had terrible covers, so if I had decided not to read them I’d have missed out. But the cover is definitely part of the book, part of the package, part of how we make our decision. Covers should portray books accurately, give off the right genre and mood and vibe, so that the right readers will be attracted to them.

  14. Kate @ Parchment Girl

    I think your point about being attracted to the covers of books that fit our reading tastes is true. For example, I tend not to like genre sci-fi/fantasy book covers nearly as much and I also don’t enjoy reading much sci-fi/fantasty. I think in general though, I’m just a sucker for great design. I’m a very visual person and I enjoy dabbling in graphic design myself, so I have high standards for book cover design.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly, it does seem the covers we find prettiest are the ones in the genres we like best. I have high standards for covers too though. To be honest I don’t understand what people see in covers sometimes when to me it just looks awkward and like really bad basic photoshopping. Like when a picture of a person is put over a background and then the opacity is turned down? It just looks awkward to me.

  15. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I definitely like looking at pretty things, Kristen! But I mostly read kindle books, and then, I might buy a favorite in hardback just to have it – and to adorn my shelves with my favorite author or series… I don’t usually look all that much at covers before I buy a book, but once I notice the cover I can fawn over it with the best of them for sure :)
    Have a fantastic Friday and happy reading!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted: A to Z Bookish Blogger Tag

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ok but see, I read almost entirely ebooks too, and I still get drawn to pretty covers lol and sometimes read books that I was on the fence about because of the cover. You are stronger than I. But yeah, if I’m going to pay for a physical copy, usually it’s because I both like the story AND really want to own the gorgeous cover. Have a great weekend!

  16. Bookworm Brandee

    Wait. You’re human? LOL Just kidding. This is a thought-provoking post, Kristen. I’m sitting in my library right now and wondering if there’s a theme to covers here. I have my books organized by genre and I’m sure there’s themes within genres. But one thing your post made me think about? Is there a difference in our attraction to covers in the physical version versus the electronic. Because while I do sometimes like certain covers, I think I’m much more attracted to covers when I’m actually perusing shelves at the library or bookstore. When I’m one-clicking, I think it tends to be more about what between the covers – what a blogging friend has said about it, that draws me in. But then I guess this also brings in how your purchasing/requesting habits affects which covers end up on your shelves. I don’t spend much time at NetGalley looking for books…I tend to let my blogging friends recommend the majority of books I put on my shelves. I’m sure you’d find a common theme among the genres though. I mean, my son asked me once why there are so many covers on my shelves of half-dressed men?!?
    As for liking people on the covers – I do like artist renderings of characters OR in a long-running series, I like that the same person/people are used on the covers because I’ve come to think of the character looking like the person on the cover. (The Hollows, Mercy Thompson) But I think some of my most favorite covers are minimalistic – just the title with a nice background or a panoramic view of something like the mountains.
    I’ve gotta tell you a story about a cover though. Way back when, I was looking for something to read after finishing the Twilight saga and I picked up Vampire Academy. While I was curious about the story, I *hated* the cover. I didn’t want to buy the book because of the cover. I had my older daughter with me and was discussing it with her and she said “But that’s judging a book by its cover.” I ended up buying it and loving it! I also learned a lesson. ;)
    Sorry for rambling on. But the post got me to thinking…and “talking”. LOL Happy Friday, Kristen!

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: New Release Review ~ Fling ~ Jana Aston

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh crap, did I let that slip? ;-) Lexxie mentioned something similar, but see, I read almost entirely ebooks, and that hasn’t actually stopped me from being drawn to the pretty covers. Like, I just like to know they’re on my kindle and stare at them lol. And somehow they just do make me more interested in the books, at least sometimes. But if I’m actually going to pay for a physical book, then yes, the pretty cover does become more important because I could get it for cheaper in ebook form if all I cared about was the story inside.

      Ooh, that’s a good point and something else to think about, purchasing habits. I’m the opposite in that I actually don’t get most books from recommendations, but I do get a lot just from perusing NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. A cover will catch my attention if it looks like my kinda book, and then I’ll read the blurb and reviews and might get interested. But it makes sense that covers are less important to you when you’re being recommended books by blogger friends. Lol to the half-dressed men though. That’s definitely a romance thing!

      Oh, yeah, when I said I don’t like the same person on more than one book, I really meant more than one series. As long as they’re portraying the same character, it’s all good. But I still prefer illustrated/painted/digital art/whatever covers (like Mercy Thompson) over photos of people.

      Lol I too have ended up loving some books with covers I really don’t like, so I do try to keep an open mind! No worries about rambling and talking, that’s what discussions are for! You even got me thinking too!

  17. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    This is so thought provoking, I love it! I think that ALL of your theories hold merit- and maybe it’s really a combination of all of these. I think that yes, a cover DOES influence us on some level. Let’s face it, pretty covers are going to be shared in more places, which makes the book instantly more recognizable. So it can’t hurt. I mean, if you were picking a book, I think you’d automatically gravitate toward the one you;d seen all over as opposed to an unknown. That is where mediums like Bookstagram help, I think- not in the actual recommendation of the book, but in just visibility.

    The cover can’t make up for lack of a good story, BUT if all things are equal, two solid books of equal interest to you, which do you buy? Ugly cover, “meh” cover, or gorgeousness? Gorgeousness, of course.

    I LOVE looking at covers. Covers are FUN. I don’t think I have ever bought a book JUST because of the cover (unless we’re talking like, a special edition of a beloved book, then yes I have) but I think I have become interested in a book because of the cover, and the synopsis kept me interested. I love the psychology of this whole thing, because in the end, it IS a business psychology model I suppose. And now I am going to be analyzing covers even more than before! I LOVE this post, and your theories!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think they might all have some merit too. But I actually do read a lot of unknown books? Lol. But I’ve noticed that sometimes I’ll see a book and be like, eh, and not bother to click on it. But then I’ll see it again… and another time… and finally I’m like, damn it, ok, I keep seeing it and now my curiosity has got the best of me and I have to know what it’s about lol. So you’re right, visibility does make a difference. And obviously books with nicer covers are more memorable.

      Yes, exactly, we have limited time, and if we’re torn between two books that both sound equally interesting, the cover will usually push one over the edge.

      Oh, it’s totally fair to buy a special edition of a book you love just for the cover lol. You already know that book deserves your money! But yeah, it’s usually the cover that catches my interest in the first place and then the blurb that makes or breaks it. Muahaha, I love analyzing things, and now I’ve got other people doing it too ;-) Thanks!

  18. verushka

    I think your first theory does have merit, but I also think publishers get so focused on creating similar covers in the genre, they forget how obvious it’s going to be — like the girl in the red coat (or red something) in a wintery landscape. I saw two books exactly like that in a bookstore once in the crime/mystery section and have to read the titles twice over to make sure these were two different books.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh goodness, I literally just saw a cover tonight of a girl in a red coat in a wintery landscape, hahaha. And I know I own another one just like that, except the one I own is fantasy. So apparently that cover is crossing genres lol. But you’re right, I think publishers do take it a bit too far sometimes in their attempts to make both covers and titles similar.

  19. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    This is simple. I like pretty things. I am a simple person at times and when I see something pretty I am drawn to it. I don’t view a book cover as a reflection of how good the book is inside, but when I see pretty I want it. I actually have to talk myself out of buying books based solely on the cover because my brain knows just because a publisher has been successful in getting good cover art does not mean the book inside will be just as good.

    I think you may be right that my brain does assume books with a similar style of cover to one I have read and enjoyed before may be a thing. I do kind of see certain covers and think ‘that’s like that other book I read’ and then find myself looking what the book is about to see if I’ll enjoy it. I don’t even realise I’m doing it, which is strange.

    I don’t know, I think we are all a bit shallow when it comes to books. I try to ignore the cover when deciding because I have so many books with bad covers which I loved it seems unfair to let the cover influence my decision making. The cover is just the pretty packaging, like wrapping paper. It’s what’s inside the pages that really matters. Now it’s just reminding my brain of that fact often enough for it to stick.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I totally get it, I like pretty things too. I’m also really tempted sometimes to take review copies or buy books that are on sale because they’re covers are gorgeous even though it doesn’t sound quite like the story is right for me, but I’ve gotten better at stopping myself.

      Yeah, I think my first theory might be legit. I’ve actually noticed myself doing the same with blurbs and things I see in reviews too. Like, oh, there’s a love triangle between the girl and two paranormal creatures? Well I loved that other series that had a love triangle between two paranormal creatures, so maybe I’ll like this one! Even if that wasn’t actual reason I liked the first one.

      I agree. There are lots of great books with bad covers, but we just can’t help but be drawn in by the pretty ones!

  20. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I absolutely am drawn to books with gorgeous covers, and I don’t even pretend not to be. The cover is your first impression of a book—the thing that you automatically see before anything else—so it’s really important. The WORST for me is an unprofessional-looking cover on a self-published book. If the cover looks patched together, then I just assume that the book is the same low quality (which is a shame because that’s certainly not always true). A beautiful or intriguing cover draws me in enough to check out the blurb, which, in turn, makes me check out the book further. So it makes sense that covers are important. (I don’t pay as much attention to Bookstagram as some people do, but pretty pictures of a book sure don’t hurt either.)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh, yeah, while I do sometimes read ugly books, I don’t deny either that I am still drawn to the pretty ones more often. Like you said, it’s what gets my attention in the first place and then gets me to read the blurb and reviews and whatnot. It’s definitely important! And I agree, I can’t believe I didn’t think to mention that better covers look more professional and makes us feel like the book inside is more professional too.

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  22. Got My Book

    The way I have my reading lists set up, covers don’t get much of a chance to influence what I actually pick to read on any given day. But they definitely do a lot to attract my attention, which influences whether the book ends up on a list or not. They can also lead me to make assumptions about the book not being appropriate for me (I rarely check out any book with a shirtless guy on the cover).

    And I confess that if a book’s cover is ugly, it won’t get included in either my New Audiobook Releases or Sunday Summary posts.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m kind of the same in that the covers draw me in in the first place to look at the blurb and decide whether it’s something I want to read, but once I’ve made the decision it doesn’t really affect *when* I read it I don’t think. But yeah, I also make assumptions about the content based on covers. That’s why it’s important they portray the story accurately!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I think pretty covers definitely do make us all want to read books more. And I agree, as long as the inside matches, then it’s the total package, and I’m happy too!

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