Posted by: chartroose | March 27, 2008

Judging By Covers – Booking Through Thursday


This one should be great fun.  Here’s the question:

“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.?”

Wow, this is kind of strange because last night while reading A Fistful of Fig Newtons fig1.jpeg(the author, Jean Shepherd, added some crude illustrations), I was wishing that more adult fiction were illustrated, especially science fiction, fantasies or humorous works. I’d love to get my mitts on a beautifully illustrated copy of The Lord of the Rings that doesn’t cost around $50.00. Neil Gaiman should’ve illustrated American Gods, even if the drawings were simple pen and ink sketches. Special illustrated copies of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series should be offered for less than $250.00 per book. I’m not made of money, you know! I think illustrations add to the impact of these types of fiction.  

Maybe more non-fiction books should be illuminated like this:illum2.jpeg

 or this:illum4.jpeg although the religious ones can sometimes be pretty creepy.

Cover art doesn’t affect me that much unless it’s atrocious, like this:cover4.jpeg

I deplore romances, so these types of covers make me want to run away



It would make me very happy if all book covers for every novel I read were to feature the following photographs, perhaps on a rotating basis:


Since reading is the last thing I do before turning out the lights every night, it would be nice to admire one of these covers while placing the book on my nightstand. It would also be a great thing to wake up to in the morning!

As for the rest, I prefer hardcover or trade paperback, and I don’t pay attention to fonts.



  1. I would buy “Die Like a Dog” on the strength of that cover. I wouldn’t read it though. Who is the author? (Mike Shayne/Brett Halliday?) Who is the hero? (likewise).

    I wouldn’t buy a book though with Clive Owen or Orlando Bloom on the cover. Or whoever the other two blokes are.

  2. Well, you might buy a book with those guys on the cover if you were a gal or a metrosexual!

  3. Romance covers make me want to dry heave. Seriously, who thinks of these?

    If you can find books that rotate those four guys, I’ll buy them too. 🙂 yummy!

  4. Great response!

    I will admit to loving the really cornball covers for romances, but they never make me wish I could read the book – I just like to think of alternative titles …

  5. Brett Halliday is the author. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was (very loosely) based on his Bodies Are Where You Find Them.

    I love Halliday. And I love those covers examples of what they are (total pulp fiction).

  6. Bridget, I wonder what the alternative title for “Dylan” should be. It definitely should have the word “brokeback” in it!

    Hey Trish, maybe we should start a hunky book cover company!

    Will, that’s so weird, because I saw the movie on HBO a couple of weeks ago and really liked it. Brett Halliday must be really old.

  7. Not sure I’d buy a book with hottie actors on the cover, I have my People magazine for that 🙂

    Dylan on his black stallion just KILLS me!! Can you say “trashy”??

    I would love to know what A Fistful of Fig Newtons is about.. maybe you could give us a little review when you’re done with it?

  8. A great post…I loved all the covers! Good examples of covers so bad they’re almost good! I agree more illustrations in adult fiction in books we could all afford would be great.

  9. Gosh, am I out of it? Who is Matthew McFayden? Some guy in an Austen show, am I right? the other guys are hot – so I’m all for those.

  10. By the way, I read everything in a book: acknowledgements, font explanation…but what’s verso?

  11. Lisa, I’ll be writing about “…Fig Newtons” real soon. I look at fansites for some of the men : )

    Thanks, Jan — if they can illustrate kids books and sell kids books for a reasonable price, why can’t they throw a few drawings into adult novels?

    Care, Matthew McFayden played opposite Keira Knightley in the big film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice.” Have you seen that one?

  12. Trish, the verso is the page that has all of the publication information. It’s usually behind the title page and contains such exciting info as the copyright date, city of publication and ISBN. I’m into ISBN’s at work, but they do absolutely nothing for me at home! I like verso’s, though, because they’ll list song titles and poets and quotes that are used somewhere in the novel, and I can look that stuff up later. Like I told you, totally OCD! I need an intervention.

  13. Sometimes you can find funny stuff on the verso, though. See Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, for one.

  14. Will – I’ll have to pick up a copy and take a look.

  15. The cover to Dylan. OMG and all that is holy. Try sliding that cover through check out… it’s the stuff nightmares are made of.

  16. T Y – God, you are so right! Who thinks of these terrible things? And, even more scary than this–WHO READS THEM?

  17. My Mom used to be a big romance reader and I remember looking at those book covers when I was a kid and thinking “now that’s something I’d like to read!: 🙂

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