The Dos and Don’ts of Judging a Book by It’s Cover


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I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

It’s usually uttered in reference to something else. For instance, “Not everyone with glasses is a nerd. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

I get that, but, to some extent, you do need to evaluate potential reads by their covers. Take a look at the list of simple “dos” and “dont’s” that I’ve complied below before your next trip to the library:

DO pick up any book with a cover that interests you.

DON’T let a book’s cover be the only reason that you DON’T pick it up.

DO look at covers when searching for a book in a particular genre, age range, or time period.

DON’T ignore a book in your favorite section of the library based on its cover.

DO pick up books whose covers ignite some kind of emotion in you.

DON’T ignore books with plain covers.

DO pick up books with different covers to compare them.

DON’T choose to take home a book when you only like its cover.

DO look at a combination of ornate and plain covers.

DON’T overlook books just because they have “movie” covers.

DO gently take off book jackets to see what’s underneath them.

DON’T ignore the writing on a book’s cover.

DO make sure that you examine the book past its cover.

DON’T ignore any non-professional aspects of non-fiction covers.

And finally…

DON’T be afraid to admit that you took a book home because you loved its cover!

So while a book’s cover shouldn’t be it’s defining factor, it can be an important step in evaluating whether it is right for you or not.

It’s the publisher’s job to use the cover to elicit emotions from readers. Don’t let their hard work be ruined. That’s why I strongly urge you to pick up a book if you feel any strong emotion when you see its cover, whether it’s excitement, anger, sadness, etc. You never know, that might be just the emotion the publisher was going for.

So go ahead! Get your finger prints all over those library covers! Turn them over in your hands and take a peak under jackets! Let your eyes guide your journey towards your next favorite book!

What was the last book that you checked out or bought, because of its pretty cover?

No judgement. I promise. 😉


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