Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why not judging a book by it's cover?

When someone says "don't judge a book by its cover", everyone knows what it means -- do not judge someone or something by his, her, or it's appearance. A simple saying serves as a metaphor for everyday life; however, we are always being judged by our outer appearance. Whether it is the clothing we wear, to hairstyle we have, the resume or cover letter that gives a good or bad first impression, or the way we walk and talk to name a few examples. This saying is an ideal, we often do not apply in real life. When it comes to books, this advice completely fails.

Covers are important. They can give the reader an idea of what is inside. Although the reader may not always understand what the cover design means, and a buyer may interpret what they see different from another buyer, it still draws reader’s attention and makes them either buy a book or leave it on a shelf. It is the first impression the buyer gets, and as real life shows, the first impression does count. I know exactly what kind of book would not attract me, simply by it's appearance. Yes, I know that is superficial of me, but isn't that how we are? If a book get's picked up by me, even if I don't like the cover, it gets picked up because it attracted me for another reason, and that's what it is supposed to do -- attract my attention.

Furthermore, everything on the cover has meaning. And whatever meaning it portrays, might help to get my attention. Whether the meaning I connect to it is intended, or just concluded by me, the buyer. Fonts style and seize, colors, illustrations and images displayed say something about the book. A classic usually comes in shapes of brown or beige, and either only has the author's name and book title on the front, or both combined with a drawn picture that resembles that era. One can recognize crime and mystery novels because they are almost exclusively black with red writing. Photography books will not have a badly composed non-artistic image on their cover, but rather an artistic or at least well-composed image. If one looking for something cheerful, one would probably not be attracted to a book in dark colors.

At the end of the day, one may judge a book by its cover, and people in the publishing industry would probably sign this statement with ‘please do’! And yes, never forget, there are always exceptions.

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