“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Oops. Someone’s guilty. No, not you. Maybe, if you didn’t agree and you suddenly got all defensive. Although, let’s back up a bit. Yes, there is no doubt that I too pledge guilty. But is this saying still relevant nowadays? Why can’t I judge a book by its cover? Is it still wrong for me to do so? These are some of the lingering questions that a bookworm like me has everyday. I don’t know if you noticed this or not, but oftentimes the books I review for the blog are blind picks. Before I read a book, usually I just skim the synopsis and go “Eh. What’s the harm right?” Most of the time, it’s proven effective because my expectations are low and it helps me to review the book efficiently and unbiased. The other deciding factor of reading a book: literally judging the cover.
Nowadays, I truly believe that you can judge a book by its cover. I believe that part of why we read a book is because we are drawn to the way it is designed and presented. The cover got your attention and it made you want to pick it up. There is no denying that it is now part of the overall reading experience. Probably only 10 – 20% of the time, but it still affects you. Aside from the blurb or the keywords that got your attention, the cover serves as the first impression. Whatever it is that you think about next is impartially affected by the cover itself.
On another note, and this is probably just the graphic designer in me but it’s part of the judgement. Is the typography on point? Does the color combination make sense? Are the illustrations lit af? Does it make we want to read it or does it make my brain say “meh”? Will I let out an exasperated gasp because of the amazing effects that they used? Is this worth it? They said ‘magic VR’ on the cover so I should like this right?
Another thing is that book covers can be distinguished just by looking at the overall ambience that it projects. For example, you can easily recognize a YA contemporary by looking at some key elements like the bright color and the brush / calligraphy / handwritten font used for the title. Let’s face it, if you’re a contemporary lover like me, you are sure to pick these up once you see it on your local bookstore or even online.
Another trend in YA contemporary books are the sans serif fonts (the long and movie poster-like fonts), that gives it an edgy feel. The font itself makes the book look like an amazing movie poster. Add in the summery feels, and voila! Here lies an amazing read under the sizzling sun.
What about fantasies? Well, forgive me for saying this, but you’ll know the book probably deals with magic if you see the fancy serif fonts and if the book is entirely in the darker spectrum. Sometimes it can be white, but there is always that dose of black. Usually, I avoid fantasies like the plague, but sometimes there comes a moment where you don’t choose the book. The book chooses you.
Have you also noticed these details before? Then congratulations! Welcome to the club. So now, what if you really are a book cover judger? Here’s something that we can do about that.
1. OWN IT. Own that title. You judge a book by its cover and that’s okay. But if you’re owning it, make sure that you know enough about a book before you join in on a general discussion. Maybe at least read the blurb or be aware of the genre. But when it comes to discussing book covers, GO FOR IT. BE THE FABULOUS UNICORN THAT YOU ARE. Be proud and let it be known that you know the color scheme for every Morgan Matson or Rainbow Rowell book!
2. Help your friends decide which book to buy. An hour has already passed and you have already picked a book of your own. But your friend/s are still having dilemmas on picking a book that will fit their budget. Now you get to be the tiebreaker. Help them choose which one to buy based on how they chose to manifest the elements of the book on the cover! (Plus convincing them to buy it because of the pretty cover and knowing they like the premise is like getting extra book brownie points.)
3. Spread the cover love! Books, like us amazing human beings, are unique in every way. Sometimes the stories contained within their pages may be on the same beat, but there is so much work that is put into one novel. So besides supporting the lovely authors, give a shout out to the amazing people behind the book cover as well! You love the story, but book cover artists made you fall in love with it at first sight. They are the real heroes for conveying magnetic layouts and designs that beautifully match the amazing words underneath the hardcovers.
All I’m saying is that it’s not wrong to judge a book by the cover. You CAN judge the book when you have read it from front to back. You can also judge it by its cover, but that judgement will only remain impartial until you read the whole thing. The cover may be beautiful, but it can also deceive if you base your judgement on it alone. But as for picking a book based on its cover, YOU DO YOU.
But hey, that’s my two cents on a subject that I am truly passionate about. What’s your take on this?