» Posted on Oct 5, 2005 in Blog | 10 comments

How much do covers influence you in the bookstore? Do you buy a book because of its cover? Do you pick up a book you normally wouldn’t because of its cover? Worse yet, do you stay away from a book because of its cover–don’t even pick it up and read the blurb?

These are questions I’ve been wondering because as any author I have had good covers, so so covers and bad covers. Also as an author we usually don’t have a lot of control over the covers. With my publisher I make suggestions of scenes and items to stress, but that doesn’t mean my suggestions will be taken.

What attracts you to a certain cover? A landscape? A certain item like a swing set? Or people? Do certain colors attract you more than others. I am attracted by vivid colors. I don’t particularly like people on the covers. I would rather get a sense of what the book will be about from the cover. Usually people don’t give me a sense of that. With the new Love Inspired Suspense covers I feel a sense of danger and suspense from their landscape covers and their use of color.


  1. Like you, Margaret, I prefer landscapes to people. I like vivid colors and will pick up a book in a store just because I’m attracted to the cover. Of course, the backcover blurb has to grab me in order for me to actually buy the book, but I won’t even read the blurb unless I like the cover.

  2. I’m drawn to a cover that suggests a sense of place or the mood/tone of the novel. People are okay if they’re realistic (and turn out to actually fit the author’s descriptions!). I don’t care for designs that are too busy, abstract, or jarring. But, as Shirlee said, the back cover copy is the deciding factor.

  3. Okay, I may be a little weird in this area, but the cover has very little to do with me picking a book. Generally I’m drawn by other things. In Wal-Mart I go straight to the Love Inspired section and pick up the new books as soon as they’re in. Then, I look for other Steeple Hill books. Finally I go to the “Religious” section and see what other publishers have put in there. In other bookstores I look for the publisher and the author. The only thing I notice on the cover is the author’s name, series name, publisher and back blurb.

    Just my $.02.

  4. It’s sad, but I do think covers effect me. It often depends on my mood. I like vivid covers too and I like for it to convey something about the story itself too. For some reason I don’t like covers that look like impressionist paintings. I’ve read some books with them because I already loved the author, but if I didn’t already like her, I probably wouldn’t have read it. Sad-it was a really good book.

  5. I am guilty of not buying a book because it had a horrible cover.

    I almost didn’t read the back cover blurb, and when I did, the blurb didn’t hook me enough to take a chance and read the book. I think the bad cover biased me, but I honestly couldn’t get over the cover and didn’t want it in my house.

    I find that I am more likely to read the back cover blurb if the cover is attractive to me. Even in genres I don’t normally read, if the cover is attractive, I will read the blurb.

    That said, there aren’t that many bad covers. I’m okay with people as long as they’re not horrendously drawn, I’m okay with landscapes, still photos, etc.

    There isn’t that much that repels me. But when it does, I’m influenced by it.

    Is that more than you wanted to know, Margaret? 🙂


  6. The cover must convey something significant about the book — nothing irks me more than a cover that misleads or makes me wonder (after i have read the book) where in the world the artist got that idea. Love Inspired books’ “feel good” covers with calm colors are distinctive and that plays a part in attracting me to the book. Suspense books with their darker covers are more mysterious. i know without reading the back cover what kind of book it is. (I prefer the Love Inspired genre over the Suspense.) That said, what really is the determining factor in whether or not i’ll buy a book is the blurb on the back cover and the first page (which i read before i spend my money on the book.)

  7. Living in Japan I don’t much have the option of looking at the covers before I buy the books. They just come in the mail. However, it does irk me a bit when, after reading the book I find the the characters portrayed on the cover are completely different from the ones painted by the words inside.

    That’s all…

  8. Thank you so much for your input. From your answers I see that a bad cover can hurt a book sometimes because it can keep people from picking it up to read the blurb and/or the first page to see if they want to buy it. It’s so interesting to see how people decide to buy a book.

  9. I think my eye is drawn to a book with an attractive cover, but it won’t decide if I buy it. I like scenes best since artists don’t always represent the people the way the author has. It drives me batty to see a blond woman on the cover if the heroine is actully a redhead. That said, just this afternoon my four year old daughter found a book she liked and put it in my shopping basket. When I put back the book I had been looking at she said, “Well, Mommy, you can just buy the pretty one.”

  10. Thanks, Deborah. I know a lot of people who are bothered by the people on the covers not really representing the people inside the book. Some use the cover people as a visual while they are reading and it really throws them off when they are wrong.


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