Book Thoughts On Thursday

We all do it. At least, I do. I can’t help it. A bad cover will turn me off a book in about two seconds flat. I know it’s unfair, I know it’s breaking the cardinal rule of book selection… but I do it anyway. I even buy books entirely because of the cover sometimes. And reading a book with a beautiful cover heightens my enjoyment.

I know a book’s cover is not always an accurate representation of its contents, though. I know authors don’t always get a ton of say on cover designs, and I know there are plenty of brilliant stories hiding behind less-than-stellar cover art. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt… but I just can’t help it.

And it’s not just the cover. I judge the binding, too. I like hardcover books for their durability, but if I’m not thinking practically, my favourite books are trade paperbacks with floppy covers. (But I’ll write more about my binding favourites later, I don’t want to get lost on a lengthy tangent. I’ve got OPINIONS on this, folks.)

Since I know I’m totally guilty of judging books by their covers, and also because I really like quizzes, I figured I might as well take the PlayJudgey quiz to find out just how bad I was. The quiz shows you covers, and based on how they look, you’re supposed to give the book a rating. The rating you give the book is then compared to its Goodreads rating. The further off you are, the worse you do.

I thought I did pretty well… until I got to the end and this happened:


Oops. I guess I’m an incurable judger!

(If you’d like to see some of the book covers that met my exacting standards of awesomeness, check out the post I wrote a while back on book covers I’d frame as pieces of art. Take notes, cover designers. That’s how you do it right.)

Now over to you – do you judge books by their covers? How did you score on the Judgey quiz? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The world of books is never boring. Every week (well, most weeks) I’ll discuss a different topic related to books, often inspired by or in response to what’s going on in the online book community (or something I’ve seen another blogger talk about). I call this Book Thoughts on Thursday. Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, or even write your own post on the topic and share the link with me!


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    1. Rain City Reads Post author

      Agreed. I also think it’s a matter of having read for so many years, and a feeling that more often than not certain types of cover art contain books that are less likely to appeal to me. If there’s a bare-chested man with a swooning busty woman, it’s probably not going to be my thing. Same thing if there are space suits involved. Which isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with either – there absolutely is not – they just don’t generally grace the covers of the type of books I’m most likely to enjoy. I can’t help it, it’s like if someone says food has goat cheese or mushrooms in it. I’m out.

  2. Lauren

    Is there a cardinal rule of not judging books by their covers? If so, why do we have them? I can see why this rule applies to people – we have no (or little) say about our covers. But book covers are (should be) designed specifically to speak to that book’s market. I a total cover nerd (and got “You’re the Judgeyest” on that quiz), but I know what I like and how it’s usually represented in cover form. If I see a list of books and there is no cover image? Forget, I’m not looking. I don’t have time to read a bunch of synopses and I want to know if it’s in my wheelhouse. That may seem silly or judgey, but I’m not too far off base very often. There are times when I think a cover doesn’t serve content well (or at all)(and Hello, A Little Life), but for the most part, it’s my best/favorite way of selection.

  3. Lindsay

    I’m a self-professed cover-judger and as soon as I saw your post I had to take the quiz. I “played on” so I judged 20 books and I got an even worse score than you — “The Judgyest: Absolutely nothing impresses you.
    If Michelangelo himself painted these covers you’d still say ‘meh.’ Thumbs down.”

    I, too, judge every part of a book — from the page edges (straight-cut or torn) to the flyleaf to the texture. — and of course the cover art. I even have a blog feature where I dissect covers and talk about which ones I like better! I suppose I AM “the judgyest”! 😉


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