Can You Judge a Book by Its Cover?

I threw a small dinner party last night–just a few girlfriends–to celebrate a birthday. One of the guests is an author whose second novel will be released in March 2011. It’s a fascinating education for me, listening to her as she talks about the publishing process.

She showed us all the mock-up cover of her book and asked us what we thought. There was a concern from someone that it looked like a Harlequin Romance novel–decidedly what this book is not.

I thought that it somewhat brought to mind a YA novel, but was, on the whole, rather nice and benign. In other words, it wouldn’t turn me off from buying it. On the other hand, it wouldn’t make me buy it, either. But I really don’t judge a book by its cover. I don’t think…

I mean, who does? And that’s not a rhetorical question. Do we read a book because we’ve picked it up knowing nothing about it but the cover seduces us? Do you do this? I usually read about or hear about a book first, so I go to the library or book store seeking that particular title. I don’t even really register the cover. In fact, of all the many books I’ve read lately (which you know about because you’ve read my WHIRL posts, right?), I cannot recall any of the covers.

Personally, I think the write-up on the back or on the inside flap is more important. And I also like to see who is recommending the book. If it’s an author that I like or respect, that carries weight for me. Or if the book has won or been shortlisted for an award, that counts for me.

What do you think? Can you, DO you, should you–judge a book by its cover?

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