OCD__CDO_by_Neona_Shadow_PhoenixThe OCD of Picking a Book

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:

The Cover

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:

Siege and Storm

Half-Blood

Ink

Masque of the Red Death2

The Font

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!

Stormdancer

Shadow and Bone

The Iron Queen

On The Jellicoe Road

The Title

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.

Under the Never Sky

Divergent

Throne of Glass

Unspoken

Original font + intriguing title + amazing cover = Jaz picks up book and TURNS IT
AROUND!

The Synopsis

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.

Looking for Alibrandi
‘And what’s this about you and your friends driving around Bondi Junction half-dressed last week?’
‘Who told you that?’
‘Signora Formosa saw you. She said you and your friends almost ran he rover. She rang Zia Patrizia’s next-door neighborhood and it got back to Nonna.’
Telecom would go broke if it weren’t for the Italians.
Josephine Alibrandi is seventeen, illegitimate, and in her final year at a wealthy Catholic school. This is the year her father comes back into her life, the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past and the year she sets herself free.
I’ll run one day. Run from my life. To be free and think for myself. Not as an Australia and not as an Italian and not as an in between. I’ll run to be emancipated.

Pushing The Limits
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Just One Day
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay
When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.
Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

Delirium
They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.
And I’ve always believed them.
Until now.
Now everything has changed.
Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.
Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

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:

-The publisher

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.

-The spine

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…

-Format

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*

 

So do you think you have an OCD where book buying/choosing is concerned?

Jaz
Other than reading, Jaz spends her spare time eating, sleeping and listening to Korean pop music. She has a great love for Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts and has a girl-crush on Kairi. Her reviews have a lot of feels and can be found on her blog, Fiction in Fiction in Fiction. You can also find her on Goodreads.
Jaz

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40 Responses to “The OCD of Picking a Book”

  1. SO OVER BLEEDING COWBOYS! It stops being edgy and original when everybody uses it people!

  2. Farah Khalaf

    This is BRILLIANT!! I think you may have bee channelling me or I was picking up your signal all along cause that is almost exactly my process when I pick out books:) also. .is it just me or is everyone annoyed when they get a book that’s a sequel or something and it’s not the same size or edition as the one I already have?
    Great post! Looking forward to reading more:)

  3. Fangs4Fantasy

    At the moment I have such a to read list I barely look at the cover or even the title – it gets called “next” but I have some habits – but less on “ooh i like that” and more “aaaargh NOOOO!”
    1) no mantitteh or couples crawling all over each other. Much as I like a hot guy on the cover, the amount of rippling mantiteh or soulful tortured man eyes or close embrace seems to indicate how much of the plot can be summed up with “and they shag”
    2) UGLY COVERS. Yes I want the UGLY! Why? because the most generic, boring, spine twisted, lower back tattoo, woman-with-a-sword generic posing tends to have some really good stories. But you get these books with beautiful amazing covers aaaand… inside is Fallen. There should be a rule against awesome covers being wrapped around crappy books – it’s like a big goeey eclair filled with fake chemical cream, or a shiny, mouthwatering pork pie filled with tofu. It gives me the sad.
    3) over-generic code words. Steampunk with “iron/steel” in the title. Witches with “magic”. Tormented love interest with “curse” And far too many vampires with “grave”
    4) synopsis – In only ever use this for drinking games.

  4. ADStarrling

    A good cover and synopsis will always swing it for me. If I know and like the author already, I’ll probably get the book irrespective of how shitty the cover looks (e.g. Kathy Reichs’s books). I never really look at the publisher, spine, and format!

  5. KatKennedy

    Great post! Couldn’t agree more!

  6. KatKennedy

    Great post! Couldn’t agree more!

  7. I love this post. I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover and that more often than not leads to me hating the book because I only gave the synopsis a passing glance. I should probably stop that. Might save a few more brain cells that way.

  8. I love this post. I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover and that more often than not leads to me hating the book because I only gave the synopsis a passing glance. I should probably stop that. Might save a few more brain cells that way.

  9. This is like you’re inside my head. Especially with the format part – why do publishers change book covers? I want sets. I don’t even like it when unrelated books by the same author look different (I have a beautiful set of matching Neil Gaiman books that are about to be ruined by his new novel, which looks completely different!)

  10. Addai A

    Ugh I hate kissing covers. Whenever I borrow a book from the library and their kissing on the cover it makes checking it out so awkward! Great post by the way I could not agree more about some of the stuff!

  11. Addai A

    Ugh I hate kissing covers. Whenever I borrow a book from the library and their kissing on the cover it makes checking it out so awkward! Great post by the way I could not agree more about some of the stuff!

    • jazchau

      Addai A Kissing covers tell me nothing about the story and when I’m out reading them on public transport it’s insanely awkward because what must people be thinking?!

  12. softballsummers3

    I agreed with almost all of the things you are OCD about. My special little quirk is the order in which I read books on my nightstand. First off, I always read the one’s on the left side, because they are the oldest. I read books from top to bottom, because I feel like if I read them out of order, their feelings will get hurt. (IT’S TOTALLY WEIRD, YOU CAN LAUGH AT ME). The books on the right side are the newest. When I finish all of the books on the left, the right ones get moved over, and I go buy more books! :D

  13. softballsummers3

    I agreed with almost all of the things you are OCD about. My special little quirk is the order in which I read books on my nightstand. First off, I always read the one’s on the left side, because they are the oldest. I read books from top to bottom, because I feel like if I read them out of order, their feelings will get hurt. (IT’S TOTALLY WEIRD, YOU CAN LAUGH AT ME). The books on the right side are the newest. When I finish all of the books on the left, the right ones get moved over, and I go buy more books! :D

    • jazchau

      softballsummers3 Right well… that’s certainly an efficient process to read books haha :D I’m meant to follow my own TBR priority list but then new books come out that I REALLY want to read and everything else just gets pushed aside.

  14. oh my gosh, I’m totally the same way. I haaaate when there’s a face on the cover, and bleeding cowboys makes my eyes bleed. love the covers you chose!

  15. I totally love girls in pretty dresses.
    I also refused to by The Night Circus until they released a cover in the US that looked like the UK cover.  Loved the book, but I *needed* that UK cover!

  16. I totally love girls in pretty dresses.
    I also refused to by The Night Circus until they released a cover in the US that looked like the UK cover.  Loved the book, but I *needed* that UK cover!

  17. I never thought about whether I have OCD but then I began to wonder why I so rarely actually BUY books. I mostly borrow them, have them sent to me, or buy it for Kindle and then depending on the kindle you don’t really get to see the cover so WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT ME? You’ve made me question everything I believed to be true.

  18. [...] wanted to talk more about 2 of my confessions after a few conversations I’ve had recently and seeing this post which touched on a few of my confessions but in the OPPOSITE [...]

  19. I am so glad I am not the only person on the planet who wants all of the covers in the series to match. Piatkus changed the covers from book 29 onwards of the In Death series here in Australia that I just about flipped my lid when I realised I wouldn’t have my beautiful black covers with the single image on them anymore. My mum, who was with me at the time I discovered this, was like ‘What is your problem weirdo?’ They don’t match the first 28. If I had known they were going to change the covers, I would have brought the kind of ugly block colour ones instead. The covers now are quite nice, though, so I guess it’s not as bad as it could be. I also agree about having non-bent or otherwise damaged covers, even if I’m the only person who will see them.

    • jazchau

      @Chantelle  I think the real point here is that there’s a series with 29 books in it. What. The. Heck.

  20. I am so glad I am not the only person on the planet who wants all of the covers in the series to match. Piatkus changed the covers from book 29 onwards of the In Death series here in Australia that I just about flipped my lid when I realised I wouldn’t have my beautiful black covers with the single image on them anymore. My mum, who was with me at the time I discovered this, was like ‘What is your problem weirdo?’ They don’t match the first 28. If I had known they were going to change the covers, I would have brought the kind of ugly block colour ones instead. The covers now are quite nice, though, so I guess it’s not as bad as it could be. I also agree about having non-bent or otherwise damaged covers, even if I’m the only person who will see them.

  21. I sympathize with those poor designers :P Creating original typefaces is the most tedious, time-consuming, and tiring project ever, and not all designers are typographers (therefore they can’t design fonts and have to use ones they can find). If publishing companies want an original typeface on their covers, they have to pay a lot of money for a typographer to make one for them most of the time. So for me, I don’t care if the covers feature the same typeface because a lot of them are tried and true, and work for the feel of the book (especially if it’s just a serif of sans-serif, nothing really fancy). 
    I agree with checking the book for defects when I’m in the books store. I go through stacks of books in order to find one that looks perfect (I’m paying for the product, aren’t I?). I don’t like it when my series are a mix of paperbacks and hardcover, but most of the time I’m too impatient to wait for the paperback (or too cheap to buy the hardcopy).

    • jazchau

      @Janita honestly I’d prefer the cover designers just use a simple serif or sans-serif font than use a fancy font that everybody uses and it makes it REALLY recognisable like Bleeding Cowboys.

  22. Shannon

    Pretty covers/fonts etc maybe those do influence me somewhat.  But the real decider for me is the first line and the first paragraph.  If it’s good, I’ll move onto the 2nd without even realizing it.  If not, well then the book is dropped.

    • jazchau

      @Shannon Good point about the first line. I’m sometimes not bothered to open the book in the store I don’t know why haha. Sometimes the first line is good but the rest of the book is meh. I think it depends.

  23. ReadingbyKF

    Pretty cover! I definitely judge a book by its cover, but recently I find that most covers are not intriguing enough. I think all the pretty covers have really made me insensitive to them, so right now it takes me a lot to read a blurb. I need to find a better way to find good books other than covers.

  24. ReadingbyKF

    Pretty cover! I definitely judge a book by its cover, but recently I find that most covers are not intriguing enough. I think all the pretty covers have really made me insensitive to them, so right now it takes me a lot to read a blurb. I need to find a better way to find good books other than covers.

  25. fiktshun

    I’m totally OCD when it comes to book buying. If a cover doesn’t resonate with me I’m hard pressed to purchase the book. I am also insane about fonts, though it won’t prevent me from buying the book. Poorly photoshopped images, unappealing cover models in odd poses or cover models that look like someone I detested as a young person will also do the trick. I can’t imagine wanting to have that person’s face staring back at me from my reading towers.
    I do love the Siege & Storm cover. And the cover model for INK looks so much like the author it’s made me so curious if that was intentional or it is the author. And I’ve been sold or dissuaded by a good/bad tagline.
    But yes, covers must match. The book heights must as well. The color palette has to be one I like or I wouldn’t want it on my shelf, and it has to be in perfect condition. No bending edges of cover around spine. No stubbed hardcover corner as if someone dropped it. No flattened spine if it was one of those rounder ones that got smushed. And I can’t do mass market paperbacks. Only trade or hardcover. I can’t stand the texture of the cheapie paper in mass markets. The paper has to be a good weight or bond with an appealing font and font size.

    • jazchau

      fiktshun Hehe the cover “model” of INK is actually a freehand sketch/watercolour based on the main character (: I think the artist is European (can’t remember but it’s mentioned at the end) and the whole book is filled with gorgeous sketched.

  26. JeepinJaime

    You are me, when it comes to book buying. Seriously! And I really just love you. You make me chuckle, and I love reading your posts. Please don’t ever leave us, your faithful followers!

  27. [...] Jaz @ Cuddlebuggery discusses what helps her decide which book to pick up next. [...]

  28. I know exactly how you feel. I take forever to find the perfect book for the way I feel right now. Though my OCD usually ends up with me taking stacks home from the library and then reading them when I’m in the right mood.

  29. [...] posted about being OCD about picking a book, I can totally [...]

  30. jaediasrantpage

    Oh my gosh, that is so spot on. I spent ages in The Works about a month ago choosing the perfect books and then making sure I’d picked the neatest copies possible.. and then it rained and a few of them got rain damage because I had so many the bag wouldn’t close properly! I was distraught!

  31. Jackie Farrow

    I’m obsessed with having all the books in a series with the same cover art, same height, etc. This is the reason why I haven’t read Mark of Athena yet, since I’m waiting for the edition that matches the previous books. Yeah, book OCD does have its downsides :(

  32. […] Jaz @ Cuddlebuggery discusses what helps her decide which book to pick up next. […]

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