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Old 05-01-2013, 12:45 PM   #1
LovesMacs
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Do book covers make a difference?

The New York Times recently had an article about the competing book covers for "The Great Gatsby": the original blue cover with the disembodied face, and a movie tie-in edition featuring the cast from the new Baz Luhrmann film.

This got me thinking: do book covers make a difference, especially with e-books?

Despite the saying that "you can't judge a book by its cover", I find myself doing that. When I see a cover that looks as it took all of 30 seconds to design, it makes me wonder, perhaps unfairly, how carelessly produced the contents are if so little attention was given to the cover. And I wonder about that even in the era of e-books, when covers are less visible than before.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:55 PM   #2
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Covers are unimportant to me. I'm probably an exception on this forum, given how many threads there are about transferring covers to ereaders and complaints about downloaded ebooks not having covers.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:59 PM   #3
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If I see an appealing cover, I'm more likely to pick up (that is, read the description) in a bookstore.

Same on the internet. If I see a cover I like, I am more likely to click the link to read the description.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:09 PM   #4
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The new version of The Great Gatsby is in 3D. That's just a stupid decision. It doesn't need 3D and should not be in 3D.

A cover that is good looking will catch my eye and maybe get me to read the description of the book. I poor cover, I can easily pass that book up unless it's a book by I want regardless of the cover.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:28 PM   #5
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Overriding factor, no. Will certain covers attract my attention while browsing? Certainly. It will influence my purchasing (or borrowing) a book since I clearly cannot buy a book that I'm not aware of. Will covers detract from buying a book? In some cases. If it portrays images contrary to my personal values or reading tastes, I'll bypass it. If it looks unprofessional, I'll probably bypass it too. (If an author/publisher doesn't care about a professional cover, why should I believe that they care about the quality of writing or story telling?)

I will add that I find anyone who claims that they aren't influenced by the cover at all is a bit suspect, unless they know which books they are going to read before they go shopping. There are just far too many books out there to avoid consciously or subconsciously filtering by the general appearance on the shelf.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:49 PM   #6
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Covers are not a factor (for ebooks) when I get a book based on recommendations from people I trust. (For print books they could be a factor even then - if a cover is truly so ugly that it actually offends my aesthetic sensibilities, I refuse to have it in my shelf.)

Covers are a factor when I'm just browsing around, seeing what catches my eye - both because a cover can tell you something about the genre (very very helpful for telling urban fantasy and paranormal fantasy apart at a glance, for example!) and because an interesting, professionally done, aesthetically pleasing cover is more likely to get me to click on the book page and read the blurb than an ugly or amateurish one.

And covers are the main reason why I am completely unable to even browse Baen's offerings. I just cannot get past the awfulness of their design. I'm sure there are people who find those covers appealing, but I can't deal with them, not even enough to read the descriptions and not even knowing I could probably find and download a nicer cover for my Calibre library.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:03 PM   #7
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I often hunt down specific books I've already been made aware of through reviews, blogs, ads, etc., and at those times, the cover really doesn't matter.

But when just browsing and shopping for a good read, yes, the cover is important. If it's interesting, I'm more apt to pick it up and read the description or click the link for more info. Same goes with the title too to a certain degree.

And I'm one of those who are pretty anal about having the cover display on my reader while in sleep mode . But pretty much anything is ok for that, as long as it displays correctly, but if there's a few different covers for the book, I will select the better graphic when I add the book in Calibre.

Last edited by Ripplinger; 05-01-2013 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:39 PM   #8
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Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

A terrible book cover will repel potential readers, a good one will interest them, and a great one will grab them by the nose and sink them into the book.

Then it's just a matter of making the story match the cover. (If it's a good one)
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:09 PM   #9
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I used to work at an independent bookstore in LA and whenever a movie was made of a popular book, everyone came in wanting to read the book, but wanting the original cover. Both covers would have the same ISBN so we couldn't do anything about it.

Today, with the rise of Amazon and online book shopping--both e and p--the thumbnail view of the cover has become more important. I read an interesting article about this but I can't find it now. But of the two Great Gatsby covers, the original works quite well as a thumbnail but the movie edition doesn't!

eP
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elemenoP View Post
I used to work at an independent bookstore in LA and whenever a movie was made of a popular book, everyone came in wanting to read the book, but wanting the original cover. Both covers would have the same ISBN so we couldn't do anything about it.
The movie got me interested in the book. I loved the movie. The lead actress is smoking hot. The regular edition is more expensive. The movie edition comes with a fluffy bunny. I still don't want the movie edition.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:35 PM   #11
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I buy books by covers. Always have. The first thing I see is the cover, then I read the blurb. Some of the best books I have read I found by seeing the cover first. So yes good covers are very important.

I skip books with ugly covers unless I know who the author already is or the book was recommended to me. To me it says I don't have confidence enough in my book that is good enough when a plain or badly made cover is used. A good custom ebook cover costs about $140 if you're willing to invest that much into your book then yes I will take a second look at it.

Romance readers know it's all about the cover. If you want the book to sell you better have something pleasing to the eye on it that will catch readers attention.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:01 PM   #12
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Definitely yes....

Bad cover, I don't even look at - unless it's REALLY bad, then I laugh and show whoever I'm with how bad it is, then I put it back on the shelf.

Good cover, I'll likely pick up and see if it's something I'm interested in.

I tend to avoid movie covers. The only ones I have in my library are ones that people (who I don't want to offend) gave me. I am trying to buy a book, not a movie.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #13
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yes i love book covers on ebooks with out the covers the just documents and i wouldnt read those

cover pull a reader into a book long after the forgot what the book was about

Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesMacs View Post
The New York Times recently had an article about the competing book covers for "The Great Gatsby": the original blue cover with the disembodied face, and a movie tie-in edition featuring the cast from the new Baz Luhrmann film.

This got me thinking: do book covers make a difference, especially with e-books?

Despite the saying that "you can't judge a book by its cover", I find myself doing that. When I see a cover that looks as it took all of 30 seconds to design, it makes me wonder, perhaps unfairly, how carelessly produced the contents are if so little attention was given to the cover. And I wonder about that even in the era of e-books, when covers are less visible than before.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blossom View Post
Romance readers know it's all about the cover. If you want the book to sell you better have something pleasing to the eye on it that will catch readers attention.
All you need for a romance cover is a half-naked guy with muscles with a hot girl draped over him. Not much to it.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:49 PM   #15
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All you need for a romance cover is a half-naked guy with muscles with a hot girl draped over him. Not much to it.
I thought that was cars?
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