Monday Mumbles: To Judge or Not to Judge

Monday Mumbles is a feature on this blog where I talk about things that are usually book related. These are simple discussion posts from my ideas and/or opinions I have about books. 

Everyone says “don’t judge a book by its cover” as a metaphor to us humans and our habit of judging things by outward appearances. We tell it to kids and to adults alike to remind them that what you see on the surface is just the bare minimum because, well, it’s the surface. Yet, everything we see in advertisements and media are all about judging things by the cover. Marketing teams work hard so that something will catch your eye and get you interested. Commercials are written, cast, and produced so that we as the audience may have some sort of interest in the movie/show/product/etc. 

Why do we change that with books? 

I’ve heard “don’t judge a book by its cover” used towards books and not just some metaphor for the human personality, but we’re supposed to essentially judge the book by its cover. That’s what cover designers and what artist working for publishers are paid to do. They’re given something and they’re supposed to essentially create a working advertisement, in this case a book cover, to draw potential readers in. Publishers found a model that worked and they continued on with that model. You know what I mean, a YA novel that may be romantic has a guy and a girl nearly kissing in all kinds of settings, or a guy and a girl are posed in some way that’s supposed to imply that there’s some kind of romantic atmosphere. 

To be honest, I kind of overlook those kinds of books. Why? Well I’m just not that into YA romance or really any kind of fictional romance (unless it’s shojo manga, but that’s a different medium). So I look it over and then go for a more intriguing or mysterious cover, because that’s what I’m into. Yet, I know that maybe some of those romantic covers might have a really cool story….but I can’t get over that a romance might play a huge part of it (which I’m not a fan of, obviously). 

I tend to judge a book by its cover. It’s brought me into amazing series like the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld or a charming one shot like The Aviary. So maybe even though I might be missing some cool stories because I’m put off by the cover, I’m hopeful that I’ll find stories that I might like even more. Since I’m not that into romance novels, even if I like the rest of the story, it’ll probably be only mediocre or just enjoyable to read for me and it won’t really go beyond that because there’s something in there that really isn’t part of my taste.

Do you judge a book by its cover? If you do or you don’t, I’d like to see your reasons why.
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2 thoughts on “Monday Mumbles: To Judge or Not to Judge

  1. YOu know I definitely judge by the cover. If the cover is horrible I won't pick it up. And I stay away from straight romances…those covers eeeyuck anyways. That and I almost always stay away from books with covers of girls in beautiful dresses. I say almost always because sometimes the description sounds good enough to risk it – usually it isn't though from what I've learned. I'm personally drawn to fantasy covers.

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  2. Yup, I definitely do judge books by their covers. I've told myself over and over again in the past that I shouldn't do it, because it's not fair to what's actually inside the book, but as you can see… I failed. Like you, I'm repelled when I see books with couples kissing on the cover. It isn't that I hate romance; I love romance, but only when it's done well. It's just that I've been disappointed so many times by cliche YA and NA tropes that I basically go into every book I read with low expectations for the romance. Not to mention, having that kind of cover on my shelf would make my parents question me. Haha.

    But you know, I've actually grown to think that it's okay to judge books by their covers. It's a little unfair, of course, but I do think that it's the author's responsibility to market their book, and market it well enough to attract attention. Especially for self-published authors, since their books are not handled by a big and well-known publisher with professional cover designers — it is the author's job to make sure that their book looks nice on the outside, and reads nice on the inside as well. I feel like it's nobody's fault but theirs if their book doesn't garner enough attention because of an awful cover. I know it makes me sound horrible, but they are the ones with control over how their cover turns out, you know? That doesn't mean that every traditionally published book has beautiful and drop-dead gorgeous covers, though.

    Covers are just as important as the content of the book, in my opinion, because it is important to make a good first impression. 🙂

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