Thursday, September 07, 2006

Who judges a book by its cover?

My publisher sent me a critique from several judges after he entered my memoir in a book contest. I finally got around to reading it, and was surprised at what I found. I got high marks for editorial and writing; the book got low marks for cover design and for interior graphic design. One judge even recommended the book to her friend.

That experience led me to think about book buying in a different way. I’d always accepted opinions that the front cover of a book is a critical buying factor for book browsers.

But I never really look hard at the front cover. I usually go first to the back cover. If there’re just blurbs there from other authors or reviewers, I read no further. If there’s a description or excerpt, I do read that.

I read the bio page of the author. Then I usually read the first page or two of the text.

Then I decide do I want the book.

This applies to titles that I’m not specifically looking for, when I’m in the mood to load up on new works to read. Otherwise, I order the book online if it’s one that’s been recommended, or that I’ve read about in the news, as opposed to reviews. I’ve rarely bought a book because of a review either, now that I think about it.

I buy a lot of books.

I admit I don’t read much Chick Lit or romances. Maybe covers are important to those readers.

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