It’s only natural my “attention to detail”, as I like to call it, has passed onto one of my greatest loves: books.
From an early age my parents have told me I’m an extremely picky eater – food could never be too sweet or too salty. Then there’s my problem with buying clothes. I always check that there’s no loose stitching. Buying knitwear is a nightmare because if the wool has been “hooked” out of the knitting I can’t buy it. Also, I have to check that pants are sewn straight!
Assuming ceteris paribus (all other things being equal) – that is, the rating on Goodreads, the reviews people give, the amount of knowledge I have about the book – this is what drives me to pick a book from the shelf:
Whoever said don’t judge a book by its cover is so wrong, I’m sorry. I know, I know I’m being so judgemental because there are some pretty bad books out there with amazing covers and vice versa.
Judge away, people, but don’t deny you’re checking it out and seeing if it’s workin’ it! Once upon a time “girls-in-dresses” covers made me lunge for the book, because hey, I’m a girl, I like pretty things. Pretty ball gown amidst dark backdrop? Jaz likes! I think it sort of started with Lauren Kate’s Fallen and then every bloody YA after that had to have a cover of a girl in a pretty dress standing in the weirdest location. Have they phased out yet? I think so. But what about that cover made me stop and look hmmm? What vector did the designer utilise to drag my eyes away from the book next to it? I’m generally not a fan of books that have close ups of people’s faces. It feels weird. It doesn’t always portray the description of the protagonist in the book – I like to imagine what my own characters look like. Doesn’t mean I don’t buy them though. Most covers feature a character, but not like in-your-face close-up. And what they’re doing/their position is really what draws my attention. That and the backdrop. That tells wonders about the story (well it’s meant to). I’m one for a set colour scheme – probably 2-3 colours used, a pretty backdrop and no weird/funny expressions. All the better, no people on the cover but an object and it makes me think “oh, what is THIS?!” Also, NA covers of guy and girl kissing? GET OUT (I’m guilty as charged for still reading them though).
Covers I adore:
I tend not to pick up a book that uses a font I know. Excuse me, you say? There is a font called Bleeding Cowboys which is free to download and whenever I see books with this font I’m sort of just like, “Eh why couldn’t you make your own font for this?” I see this font on a LOT of books.
It irks me to no end. Books that don’t use an original font give off the impression that there wasn’t enough effort invested into producing it. It doesn’t make it great of course, but first impressions are everything to me. Curly or block? Serif or sans-serif? Fancy or simple? Decisions, decisions!
So the pretty/alluring font has caught my eye and it draws my attention to the title itself. Make it snappy people! It needs to be intriguing enough that I want to at least find out more about it, right? One word titles are always a risk in my opinion. Authors run the risk of using a word too commonly used that the eye just passes over it. And yet with high risk there is usually high return – one word titles are to the point and they’re so in your FACE! It’s like BAM here it is, bitches! I don’t need to say anymore. Finding the right balance is hard. I do love book titles that have made up words too but this is a rarity because if people can’t understand it, they might not be interested!
Then of course the titles that are phrases. These are the hardest because they can come off as cheesy and people overlook them. Some are eye catching and draw interest and they tell enough about the book and it’s like, “Yeah ok, makes sense”. Then there is the rare occasion where, not only does the title explain the story and come from a nice quote directly used in the book, but the title phrase is defined in such an eloquent manner the heart aches upon understanding.
Original font + intriguing title + amazing cover = Jaz picks up book and TURNS IT
Otherwise known as: The Decider!
The New York Times says it’s a number 1 seller, another author says it’s amazing – all cool but I really want to know what the story is about. A small passage/quote from the book is always helpful in determining whether I buy a book or not – actually, step back, whether I continue reading the synopsis! A direct quote from the book adds hype, makes me want to know more, and also, gives me an insight into the author’s style and whether I like that writing. A synopsis is always hard as it’s trying to say just enough about the book, yet not too much that it gives it away. It also needs to be accurate so that while I’m reading AND when I finish, I felt that I got what I expected! So tell me a story about a person, where they’re from, where they’re headed and what great, epic journey lies ahead of them that I haven’t heard before.
But wait! How is that OCD? Well there’s more… So I’m about to buy the book but these are the little things I also look out for:
Do I know this publisher? What sort of books have they published in the past? What authors are associated with them? Do I LIKE books they’ve published? In my opinion, the publisher tells a LOT about the book audience and genre.
Does the top or bottom have those little fraying bits from where the printers cut it? If so, discard and look for one with no bits of cover falling off!
Are any edges bent? If true, proceed as above.
And probably one of the most important of all…
If this is a series and if it’s book 1, what do the other covers from other countries look like (consider US, UK, Australia). Do I like one of those more? Should I buy that instead? If it’s book 2, IS THIS THE RIGHT SIZE AND COVER? I mean omg what if it’s too tall/small as they released another size OR, OR this is a slightly altered cover AND IT DOESN’T MATCH MY SET? I mean do I want paperback or hardback? What looks better? *Pictures what book 2 will look like* *Pictures how it will look on my shelf*
*Puts book away and slinks off to the Book Depository*