We are always told that first impressions count, right? But we are also told to never judge a book by its cover. How can these two differing points of view impact the publishing industry? I’m in the camp of judging a book by its cover…I know, I know, don’t lynch me yet, let me explain.
How do you react when you see an impactful book cover? You want to buy it, if that’s for simple reasons like it would look the part on your bookshelf or for the more powerful reason that you want to know it’s story, you want to have it divulge all its secrets. Is it going to be a new favourite, a story that you will come back to time after time?
First impressions stick like glue.
I think we evolved digitally and technologically to such a level that judging a book by its cover shouldn’t be an issue. The huge and quite frankly never-ending capabilities of programs such as Photoshop only leaves limitations on how broad your imagination is. There are also cheaper alternatives out there, the program Canva is one that I personally use and have never felt like I was being held back in graphic design.
Covers are there to be judged. That is precisely what they are there for. You can instantly get an impression for what genre the book is in without the need to read the synopsis straight away. A fantasy novel might have dragons, an epic battle, or a fight between good and evil being portrayed rather than a depiction of a murder on a Crime cover.
Its not a random choice. Graphics, photographs, text size and tag line are designed to call to that part of your brain that hungers for something new and inviting. It calls for you to pick it up and start devouring it. It says something, a statement if you will. It’s not unlike choosing clothes to go on a date, you are making a statement, whether that’s confidence or immediate judgement, its all the same.
I’m going to now show you exactly what I mean by the break down of the covers of several of my favourite books.