Don’t judge a book by its cover…but for the love, read the back!

A true story…
My friend, I’ll call her Jane since she said not to use her name as she humiliated herself, came over this week. She brought her laptop, and we decided to search the Amazon store for free books that we could read together. While browsing through them, I became engrossed and tuned her out. I’m really trying to get better about this habit. Our conversation went like this:
“Oooh, Jess, this book looks really good!”
“Are you listening to me?”
I was reading the back cover of a love inspired book. “Yeah, what’s it about?”
 “A paranormal detective. Stop what you’re doing, and look at the cover. It’s intriguing!”
I glanced up as she turned the laptop around, and staring me in the face was a nice looking man with sinister yet determined eyes. In the background a dark shadowy house beckoned my attention and piqued my interest. I had to admit, the cover looked like something I’d definitely want to consider. Not so much the man, but the house and the darkness. I looked at the title, which I’ll not name, typed it in, and hit my “one click” button. BAM…I can read it whenever.
I moved on to other books, and then I decided to go back to the paranormal book. I scrolled down to the item description, and my mouth fell open. “Jane, did you read the back cover?”
“Um…yeah.” I looked up and glared at her until she felt it and met my eyes. “What? I did.”
I can’t arch one brow like most fictional characters, so I raised both. “So…you enjoy gay porn?”
Her eyes grew wide, “What!? No! That’s not what that book is about!”
I cleared my throat and proceeded to read, “Putting his life and sanity on the line—for a man beyond his reach. Sam Raintree’s experience with things he can’t explain isn’t the only reason his new job as a paranormal investigator is a perfect fit. His coworkers, preoccupied with things outside the norm, will never notice he’s gay…This book has been previously published. Warning: This title contains explicit male/male dream-sex, cross-dimensional electromagnetic theories (mmm, that’s hot!), intense violence, and language graphic enough to wake the dead.” *the remark in parenthesis is not mine.

I sat the laptop down. “Not exactly inspirational fiction.”

Her face turned red. “Maybe I just skimmed it. The cover looked so good.”

Maybe? Do you realize that since I downloaded this book, next time I’m on Amazon it will prepare a list of books I might enjoy reading based on what I’ve downloaded!?”

“That’s bad, huh?”

I gave her a pointed look and promptly deleted the book. “Don’t even ask to get a say in our next book club read. The answer’s no.”


You never know what’s inside it!
Book covers influence what I pick up and what I curl my nose up to. I may put a book down just because the cover isn’t intriguing. (I should also take my own advice and not judge a book by its cover!) But it is important. I went on Amazon and started scrolling through books. Christian and non. I found a pattern to what draws my eye. I then scrolled through some authors I enjoy reading and lo and behold, I found the pattern! Here are few:




See the pattern?

Guess I like scary houses (shrug). I don’t know. It’s what drew me to download the gay porn novel. It was the back cover that inspired me to delete it! The above books have mystery…intrigue. What secrets are lying behind the cover of night? I love designs that hold shadows of people or places. Even if I’m reading a romance, which I love to read, I’d rather see a setting of where the book takes place than to see the people (unless they’re shadows =)). It’s just my reader preference. It’ll probably be my preference when my book goes through cover design. We’ll see what happens when the time comes.

Do book covers influence your choice of reading? What kind of designs determine what you purchase?  Have you found a pattern that draws your eye?
* Mary Keeley an agent with Books and Such Literary group wrote a great blog on book covers and the design process this past Wednesday. Check it out.
Have a great weekend! See you Monday!

9 thoughts on “Don’t judge a book by its cover…but for the love, read the back!

  1. Okay, this post made me giggle. 🙂 Poor Jane.

    Covers do play a role in me buying the book. I'm disappointed if I read the book and the characters don't match how they're shown on the cover. Colors and design on the cover also eludes to what the book is about.

  2. Point taken…I have the books above now I need to see if I made the same mistake…ugh

  3. Lisa: I'm glad you got a laugh out of it. Believe me after the initial shock, "Jane" and I did too! I'm with you on the characters not matching the ones on the inside. It's such a let down. 🙂

    Cheryl: Welcome to my blog! Thanks for stopping by! I think you're safe with the 3 books above. But if you come across something you downloaded that you shouldn't have, you have to come back and comment! 🙂

  4. Yes! I'm definitely guilty!

    LOVE your profile picture. You are gorgeous, woman!

  5. So funny!

    I can't believe I'm admitting this, but throw a wedding cake on the cover and I'm in. I'm not sure if it's the wedding or the yummy frosting, but I love wedding cake covers!

    Have a great weekend!!

  6. Yes they really do influence whether I will choose it or not. It has to be well done or I will assume the book isn't well-written. I love books that are bright and have sunny looking covers–houses are a plus:)

  7. Well I must say dark houses and sinister looking men on the front cover of a book do intrigue me…why the heck do we even need to read the back right?! Guess we all need to take the advice and double check to make sure it's not gay porn…lol!

  8. Jill: Wedding cakes! That's hysterical. Have you ever strolled through to see how many covers there are with a yummy buttercream frosting?

    Terri: Good point on a well designed cover mirroring well written literature. You nailed it in my book.

    Jane, er…I mean, Heather: So true…so true…;)

  9. I'm late to the party but had to comment. This was sooooo stinkin funny I can't stand it. Of course that's because it didn't happen to me. I needed a laugh so thanks! And thank "Jane" for me too! lol


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