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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Judging a book by its cover

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Feb 10, 2011 08:52AM) (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments What turns you off or on when it comes to book design? Are there covers that you have to force your way past? Or that woo you from across a crowded book store?

I'll use two Cherie Priest examples:
Bloodshot (The Cheshire Red Reports, #1) by Cherie Priest
I hate those photo-real covers on urban fantasy books, and this reminds me of those. They all look like they were done by someone who is new to Photoshop.

On the other hand, I wanted to read Boneshaker before I knew what it was about, and even after I knew there were zombies in it. I liked the font, the painting, the feel of the cover.
Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1) by Cherie Priest


message 2: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments I really like the covers of Haruki Murakami’s books. I haven’t read any yet (still in the TBR pile) but they catch my eye every time I see one.

Sarah Pi- I loved the Boneshaker cover art as well as the font. It’s what drew my attention to it, also not something I would’ve read from the description alone.


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I couldn't help but buy this book, it just looked so COOL, even though I'm trying not to buy ANYTHING for awhile. I haven't read it yet, but I pet it now and then:

Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

And I read this one, because of the cover, which was way better than the story itself:

Fallen (Fallen, #1) by Lauren Kate
The sequel also has a gorgeous cover, but I've been warned that NOTHING HAPPENS, so I won't be reading it.

I love the hardback cover for this book, which I love. I love Margaret Mahy. She's an author from New Zealand, and there's an interesting sensibility to her stories I really like:
The Changeover A Supernatural Romance by Margaret Mahy
so, I was NOT HAPPY to see the paperback cover, which makes it look like it's going to be a fluffy fantasy romance instead of what it is, YA supernatural horror with a very strong female character not particularly interested in romance, just saving her brother:
The Changeover A Supernatural Romance by Margaret Mahy


message 4: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments two books i picked up yesterday, based on their look:





i just now noticed it looks like a boob :) aside from that, i thought it looked like it had good writing. but i might have based that on what i know about the publisher.


message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments The boob was the first thing I saw.


message 6: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments If you go to Borders now and stand in front of what I will call the "books that publishers rushed out after Twilight" section, all the books look the same.


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Yes - it's always fun to identify the book designs that are copying another recently successful book.


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments It's like the movies that advertise "from the studio that brought you..." or "directed by the son of the cousin of the director of _________" like those connections will make you flock to the film.


message 9: by Dan (last edited Feb 10, 2011 10:36AM) (new)

Dan Schwent (akagunslinger) Boneshaker had my favorite cover of 2010.

The only time I like photo covers are on the Vintage/Black Lizard reprints of old crime books. I started reading the Hard Case Crime series because I loved the painted covers.


message 10: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments She's attracted to dumb guys?


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments She likes to write 59009 on old calculators and then turn them upside down.


message 12: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Sarah Pi wrote: "She likes to write 59009 on old calculators and then turn them upside down."

Ha! My son just showed me that he's learned how to do that with "hello". He didn't show me he knew boobs, though.


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Ooh. Pretty!


message 14: by Suefly (new)

Suefly | 620 comments Sarah Pi wrote: "The boob was the first thing I saw."

I concur...and it made me giggle. I would have picked it up, too, as it's clever and eye catching.


message 15: by Suefly (new)

Suefly | 620 comments Sarah Pi wrote: "She likes to write 59009 on old calculators and then turn them upside down."
I was in a clothing store the day and saw a tee shirt that had the iimage of a calculator with 59009 displayed. I embarrassed my husband when I started to laugh at it. I have a weird sense of humor and an obnoxiously loud laugh.


message 16: by janine (last edited Feb 10, 2011 12:58PM) (new)

janine | 7715 comments Sarah Pi wrote: "She likes to write 59009 on old calculators and then turn them upside down."

we wrote 7093170, but that's just a dutch thing.


message 17: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments oliebol? Whazzat? Lucky thing I had my calculator handy.


message 18: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments deep fried dough, often with raisins in it, served with powdered sugar and eaten by the dutch on new year's eve.



can also mean a dumb person. in my family at least.


message 19: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments they are!


message 20: by Michele (new)

Michele bookloverforever (lovebooks14) | 1970 comments I have been known to pick up a paperback to peruse based on the cover. It's how I discovered Patricia Briggs and Laurell Hamilton (way back when). Then I check out the summary. If they both look good, I'll buy it.


message 21: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments I have English Passengers in my To Read pile, but it doesn't have that cool cover.

If the cover has a shopping bag or a tube of lipstick, etc, it screams Chick Lit to me and I steer well clear. Other than that, I don't really pay much attention to book covers.

But I do remember being a kid in a Waldenbooks bookstore, and seeing that weird eyeless orb sticking its tongue out, and that drew my attention to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'd never heard of it before, and bought it just because of that loony cover.


message 22: by Brittomart (new)

Brittomart RandomAnthony wrote: "Sarah Pi wrote: "She likes to write 59009 on old calculators and then turn them upside down."

Ha! My son just showed me that he's learned how to do that with "hello". He didn't show me he kne..."


That moment when you learn how to spell with numbers on the calculator is so cool.


message 23: by [ A ] (new)

[ A ] I thought boobs was 58008?!


message 24: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24150 comments Mod
What turns me off:

obvious use of stock photos
women dangling their legs off a dock
women walking along a beach
women carrying shopping bags
cartoon women
cartoon anything
tons of blurbs and statements
clutter

Most covers of YA fiction aimed at girls turn me off, but that's okay because I'm not the market for that. (Girls with wispy hair, girls in sexy schoolgirl plaid skirts, girls with pouty lips.)

I like clean design, and I prefer covers from the 50s and 60s. I love Anchor Doubleday covers, old Vintage imprint covers. I've made special shelves for some of them...
http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...

Typeface matters.

This would be an example of a contemporary (current) cover I approve of.


And a vintage one:



message 25: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments That Camus one is like if Darth Vader played the Nazi that opened the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.


message 26: by Jammies (new)

Jammies I have a couple of books with covers I dislike, but I generally don't pay attention to the covers. Most of my wishlist/purchases/library choices come from GR, where the text is more compelling. GR is how I found Boneshaker, btw, and I got a copy of Bloodshot from FirstReads.

And damn you, Jax, now I need to read that Margaret Maly book!


message 27: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11627 comments The book I started today has a cover I like. The woman is probably a stock photo but, from what I've read of the story, it's a good fit.




message 28: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24150 comments Mod
Phil, I commend you for reading a book which is clearly aimed at women. What drew you to this book?


message 29: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11627 comments The cover, the blurb on the back, and the author's profile all contributed, but the style of writing I sampled at random sealed the deal. Beautiful styling and use of language.


message 30: by Misha (last edited Feb 11, 2011 01:35AM) (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Michele wrote: "I have been known to pick up a paperback to peruse based on the cover. It's how I discovered Patricia Briggs and Laurell Hamilton (way back when). Then I check out the summary. If they both look go..."

I interviewed Patricia Briggs on Monday about the upcoming sixth Mercy Thompson book, and she gave a lot of the credit for the series' success to the cover art for Moon Called.


message 31: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Misha wrote "I interviewed Patricia Briggs on Monday about the upcoming sixth Mercy Thompson book, and she gave a lot of the credit for the series' success to the cover art for Moon Called. "
That's one of the cover styles I don't like...but I'm sure it attracts other fans of that style.


message 32: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Briggs was making her first foray into urban fantasy with that book after having built a career writing more traditional fantasy novels. She said the cover for Moon Called worked because it told fans of that kind of book exactly what it was, and fans of her other books what it wasn't, so nobody got the wrong expectation by picking it up. A cover, after all, is just a tool to market the book. In her case, it was a smart choice.


message 33: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments That makes perfect sense.


message 34: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) As an aside, I'm not crazy about those types of covers either. They're rather generic and interchangeable -- hot chick with tattoos looks tough and sexy.


message 35: by Joe (new)

Joe (attometer) I would like to have this set because of the covers. Plus it's some good reading.

http://www.listal.com/list/the-gollan...

Also, this one kind of freaks me out but it would make me pick up the book and check it out.

Richard Yates by Tao Lin


message 36: by Jim (new)

Jim | 6485 comments Those are neat covers Joe. The only thing that really gets seen on my books though is the binding.


message 37: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Those are cool covers, Joe. I haven't heard of that collection before.


message 38: by Michele (new)

Michele bookloverforever (lovebooks14) | 1970 comments but, Misha, Ms.Briggs' series is about a tough, sexy, tatooed woman. So the cover is just right.


message 39: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Michele wrote: "but, Misha, Ms.Briggs' series is about a tough, sexy, tatooed woman. So the cover is just right."

As I explained in msg 36, I think the cover design was a smart marketing choice. It just doesn't appeal to my personal aesthetic taste, and it doesn't have to.


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