To Judge a Book By Its Cover
“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s a phrase we’re all familiar with, one that’s fed to us from a very young age, along with such classics as “actions speak louder than words”, “beauty is only skin deep”, and, of course, “there’s no use crying over spilled milk”.
So, it with some trepidation that I make the following confession, a confession I know will shock and dismay some of you. I am a rule breaker, an expression defier. Because when I walk into a bookstore, I am doing exactly what I’ve been taught not to do – I’m judging the books by their covers*. Does this make me superficial? Probably. But I can’t help it if I’m more attracted to brightly-coloured books with the striking pictures and slick font? It’s basic human nature. Just watch The Bachelor! Sexiness turns heads. You know it’s true. And, if you’re really honest, you probably know that you do it too when you’re book browsing. Unless you’re searching for a particular title or favourite author, it is the cover of a book that first grabs your attention, with some back-up support by the title (and maybe a handy shop assistant recommending it). While the publishing world may not be seen like a superficial market that’s based on looks, I’m here to tell you it is! If a book fails the oh-so-important “look at me” test, then the road to the top of the bestsellers list is much, much harder!
Covers change from country to country. The main reason for this is due to different publishers being used to publish the book in that country; different publishers mean differing opinions on what is going to work as a successful cover. It’s interesting to compare different titles and think about what each country’s publisher was thinking. As you can see in the below examples, some are a little different, some are a lot different. Have a look and let us know which covers you prefer!
*For all the purists out there, I realise the saying is actually a metaphor – but just go with me on this, ok?
1. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
3. Ice Station – Matthew Reilly
4. Looking for Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta
5. Eyrie – Tim Winton
6. All That I Am – Anna Funder
7. Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
8. The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters
9. The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
10. Mr Mercedes – Stephen King
11. And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini
12. The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith