I am a sucker for a distinctive book cover. For me, the more artistic the cover, the better I like it. I’ve talked before about my joy at receiving Mad Kestrel‘s cover sketches, which were classic instead of cheesy. I know that the art is not an indicator of a story’s quality, but sometimes, I just can’t help letting the cover sway me.
I was talking with a teacher in the library recently. She’d just checked out Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, but she hated the cover of the book. Instead of the red cover with the pretty lettering, this copy featured all the stars of the movie. “It looks like advertising instead of a story,” she said, and I couldn’t help agreeing. I understand why it’s done, of course – tying a book in with the movie increases sales to a certain demographic, but I always have to wonder if the people who buy a book because the movie’s stars are on the cover will actually read the thing. If you hold out two copies of a book, identical in every way except the cover, I’ll choose the one that looks like a real book every time. Covers with shots of the movie stars always look cheap to me.
Some covers are simply gorgeous. Watersmeet, for example, is about a young woman whose green eyes mark her as a healer, but whose dark hair and coloring make her Outcast. The cover is simple, and lovely. The eyes tell the story as well as any words. I checked the book out without knowing anything about it, just because of the compelling cover.
Back in kindergarten, we were all taught never to judge a book by its cover. Sometimes we can’t help it. Share with me…any covers that chased you away initially? Covers that drew you in? Things you wish would be on a book cover for your own book?