Thursday, 30 August 2012

judging books by their covers: why not?

Look, I think it's time we stop with all the self-shaming when we admit that we *gasp!* picked up a book for its cover. There are a few certain Things We Know about books and their covers:
  1. Authors do not always have their say in their covers. Which means that
  2. their covers do not always reflect the book they wrote. However,
  3. the cover designer is being paid by the publishing house to design their books covers. Therefore,
  4. book covers should be judged... but in terms of the publishing house and designer, not the author.
See, publishers want that "I bought it for the cover" reaction. It's part of how they sell their books to consumers. Thus, they pay good money to a designer to create a book cover that hopefully fits the book. It's part of the publishing process, just like editing and marketing & publicity are part of the process -- and editors and publicists get paid, don't they?

So don't you see? It's perfectly fine to judge a book's publisher or designer by its cover. Which means it's perfectly fine to say, "Wow, this cover SUCKS." Or, on the lovelier side, "Holy donkey can I please have this cover framed I'mma tweet the publisher until they make posters K". The key to this is not judging the actual content by the cover.

But got violent vehement must-be-expressed thoughts on the cover? Go ahead and express them. You're allowed to, you know. (Not that you should need my consent to judge.)

A few attractive covers (this all being incredibly subjective, of course)...

And a few ugly covers...

So how do you judge covers?