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    Latest Topics


    Selling a book by its cover

    What causes people to buy certain books, is it the author, the title or the book cover? Publishing houses aim to sell books and in doing that they are conscious of what is on the book cover. From the font of the title and authors name and any pictures that represent what the book is about, the publishers arrange all of this so that the cover will catch the eye of a potential buyer. So, do people focus more on how the cover looks or are they more interested in the actual story of the book?

    • On Goodreads, I occasionally come across readers who buy a book because of how gorgeous the cover is - and they later find out it's just a bad story in a pretty wrapping. (I myself have been guilty of this, which now makes me wary of buying a book based solely on its cover.) But I do think the author's name is a big factor; if you've read a good series/standalone by a certain author, you're more likely to purchase their newest publication, perhaps without even looking at the new story's synopsis because it's expected the newest venture will be just as well-written or funny or action-packed as the last one. Even if it's a flop or not as great, copies will still sell solely based on the success attached to the author's name. For example, I know people who bought J.K Rowling's "The Casual Vacancy" simply because of her name on the cover, even though they were warned it was nothing like Harry Potter and they inevitably hated or gave up reading it. – Karen 7 years ago
    • Good topic. So good that a really interesting book of scholarly essays has already been compiled on the subject. It's worth checking out if you're interested in paratextuality of this kind: Judging a Book by its Cover: Fans, Publishers, Designers, and the Marketing of Fiction (2007), ed. Nicole Matthews & Nickianne Moody. – ProtoCanon 7 years ago
    • Obviously people are going to judge a book by its cover. We shouldn't, but it happens all the time. Covers are designed to grab our attention with the most marketable facets of the book. The only real way to combat a bad cover is good buzz circulating around the book community. – AGMacdonald 7 years ago
    • Nice topic. We all can't help but judge a book by its cover occasionally. A good cover and title grabs our attention it makes us pick it up and read the description. I've noticed that I am more likely to buy or check out a book with a cover I like, but only if the story sounds interesting to me. I still pick up books even if I'm not a fan of the cover. – TooBusyReading 7 years ago
    • This is a really interesting concept. In my study of black female street lit (sub genre of crime fiction), I noticed some interesting tensions between the cover of the novels - which were often hyper-sexualised , bold colour and graphic images - and the content of the books, which were much more nuanced and complex. This relationship, and the context of these books readerships - which are generally young black females, was really interesting to consider. Looking at specific examples of authors, genre and readerships would be really interesting to develop this concept! Thanks for bringing this up – izsy 7 years ago
    • It's quite true, we certainly do judge books by their covers, and sometimes they can be so misleading. You might be interested in am essay called 'The Clothing Of Books' by Jhumpa Lahiri. She speaks about her experiences with books covers, both good and bad. – Ferix 7 years ago
    • When I buy print copies, content and cover are equally determining factors. If the cover doesn't fit my tastes, I usually go for the cheaper e-book version. I have never bought a book solely because it looked nice, though. Definitely an interesting topic. – captom 7 years ago
    • Magazines also try to entice potential readership with tantalising misleading covers. Book covers, with many now reverting to simple monochrome with just the title and author’s name, played an important part in attracting me to science fiction adventure fantasy stories. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 4 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    A really interesting article. I agree with a lot of the points you have brought up but then it gets me thinking do we sometimes take these analysises too far. I grew up loving Ariel, my favourite Disney princess, but I never looked at her as a role model as such, instead just as a character in a movie.
    It makes me wonder what today’s society is really teaching children if they are looking to Disney characters as such intense role models i stead of just enjoying the movies

    Best and Worst Disney Role Models for Girls and Young Women

    The e-books are probably going to rise in the future but personally there is nothing better than holding a real book in your hand.
    I’m a lover of books and love to see my bookshelves full of books. I have a kindle but honestly haven’t used it in over a year.
    For my studies it’s so much easier to have the real copy of a book because it is easy to go back and find passages that I need when writing essays. Real books will always be my preferred choice.

    Online vs Print: The Digital Age of Books

    I am one who does enjoy reading the classics. At uni last year I did a course on them and it was one of my favourites. Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens are two of my favourite authors.
    I find that reading the classics helps us to understand the past life, the social viewpoints, geographical context and cultural information of different time periods. There is so much information in the classics that teaches us about the past but that we can also put into our lives today, learning from past mistakes and ensuring they never happened again.
    An excellent article.

    The Importance of Learning the Classics

    I always saw Harry Potter as extraordinary, the boy who lived and who was known by everyone, popular and well known. But looking at Harry in a more ordinary way puts him in a different light. He was just an orphan who wanted a family that loved him and would show him affection. Upon coming to Hogwarts he made friends and he finally was able to feel love and affection from people. J.K. Rowling showed him just as an ordinary boy who struggled to fit in a school, made friends and did ordinary school work, despite being a famous wizard.

    Harry Potter: The Remarkably Unremarkable Main Character