Do you choose a book by its cover?

The answer to this question has surprised me of late. There was a time when I would have said absolutely yes.

A book would not have gotten a second glance from me if I did not like it’s cover.

Then I got my ereader. I got it over a year ago, before Kindles and iPads and all the other beautiful shiny new readers came on the market in Australia. My ereader is a very basic tool. It does the job perfectly, and I love it to bits, but I cannot see covers on it. All I get are grainy, black and white, tiny images that are impossible to make out. I’ve gotten so used to the lack of covers that I no longer consciously look at covers when buying books. In fact, if I think of the last 40 odd books I’ve purchased, not one cover comes to mind. I can tell you about the book, author and story, but could not describe a cover to you.

Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series, Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, JR Ward… all authors/books I’ve been reading quite obsessively, yet I could not describe a single cover from any of these books. Weird, huh?

It’s funny, because I have become quite obsessed with cover art. Perhaps it’s a personal thing, but I’ve taken to checking my emails every day (more than once a day) to see if I have been sent any new covers for my own books. I love the thrill of opening that attachment, and seeing what delicious goodies the cover artist has put together for me. (Er, the cover artist may not feel that same thrill as I tend to be real fussy, and on more than one occasion have sent back a cover with a big fat no pinned to the attachment.) (With apologies to Scott Carpenter.)

When it comes to browsing books by digital publishers, like Samhain and Ellora’s Cave, I am a lot more aware of covers. Then I’ll scroll through until I find a cover that tickles my fancy before reading the blurb. But even so, I tend to search for books by genre first, which I never did before. I always headed straight through to the cover art.

Now, you might be wondering why I’m going on about cover art. Well, there’s a reason. A Valerie Tibbs reason. 😀

She has just designed a brand new cover for an upcoming release of mine from Aspen Mountain Press. What do you think?

I know. It’s absolutely gorgeous! And, I can promise, I did not send this cover back with a big fat no. I grabbed it and held on for dear life. (BTW, interested in knowing more about the book? Read on, I’ll post the blurb and info at the end of the post.)

Okay – Enough talk from me. I’d like to know your opinion. Do you choose books based on their covers? Are their any specific kinds of covers that grab your attention? Anything you want to mention about cover art in general? Here’s your chance.

Leave a comment and you will go into a draw to win a $5 gift voucher from BooksOnBoard. Then you can browse their e-shelves, find the cover that most appeals, and buy the book.

Please, make sure to leave your email address in the comment if you want to be entered into the draw.

Good luck!


Visiting Paradise by Jess Dee

(Coming soon from Aspen Mountain Press)

Visiting Paradise is one of five novellas from the Boys Down Under Anthology. It will be releasing soon as an individual novella. It’s a steamy, quick, emotional read, and holds special meaning to me as it’s the first novella I ever wrote.

The blurb:

Beth Brown needs a holiday. She’s burnt out, single and madly in love with the man who pays her salary, Joe Bastion. Much as she’d like to act on her feelings, Beth’s learned the hard way not to sleep with the men she works for.  As far as she is concerned, Joe is off limits.

Sometimes, to get what you want, you have to chase hard. And  Joe wants Beth  He’s organized the trip of a lifetime for her. Beth’s about to set sail into paradise, and she has no idea Joe’s the one who’ll be taking her there.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, you can visit my website. And if you’re too impatient to wait for the novella to release, you can get your copy of Boys Down Under here. (BTW, Valerie Tibbs designed the cover art for the antholgoy too! Genius, no?)

Good luck with contest,


46 Responses to “Do you choose a book by its cover?”

  1. Maria63303 Says:

    Yes I do look at the cover (did you and Valerie talk about this post today before you posted?) and sometimes I have been sucked in by a glossy and beautiful cover and the story wasn’t what I expected or hoped but for the most part the cover attracts me and then the blurb and any posted reviews keep me…

  2. I don’t buy books based on covers alone, but some covers have caught my eye and introduced me to a book/author that I might not have known before.
    If it’s a good looking man on the cover it will definitely catch my eye and I will stop to find out more.
    The cover doesn’t matter all that much when it’s an author that I know because I will eventually end up buying the book.

    • Leni, I’m with you. Covers don’t matter when I know the author. But it is mighty nice to stumble across a wonderful new author thanx to their cover.


  3. dreabecraft Says:

    If I see a cover that I love I absolutly buy. Sometimes I am let down and other times I just can’t believe in my good fortune. But either which way you have to read the blurb. Because crap, no matter how pretty you wrap it, is still crap.

  4. Covers absolutely mean a great deal to me. If it looks interesting, I’ll read the back to see if the story is as interesting. Of course there are times when I will grab a book at random regardless of what the cover looks like. You get winners and losers with good and bad covers. *shrugs* But yes, the initial judgment gets posted on the cover.

  5. Unless the cover is truly awful or has a sexy guy on it, then I might not even notice. I buy based on blurb and authors who are auto-buys. Now, if the cover is couply clenchy, then I might have to keep it covered in public–people are snarky sometimes–or buy it in ebook so nobody sees it.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

    • LOL, ebook readers sure make it easier to carry around those raunchy novels and raunchy covers. Mine has saved me many a pointed looks in my time.


  6. lorettaC Says:

    I don’t choose a book by the cover and I have never done that. I can appreciate a sesy or beautiful cover ut that is it.


  7. Not really they can catch my eye or detract from the book. but I have been not to pick up books with really bad cover. I almost didn’t read Charlaine harri’s sookie book cause of those covers.
    But folks kept prompting me too. Folks whose taste I trusted so i caved and boy was I glad I did. So I don’t think covers would me read or not read a book but they could delay the reading of one definitely.

    • Since I posted this post, I’ve gone to look at the Sookie covers on the net, Pam. And I agree. They are really not wonderful.

      Luckily the books are!!!
      An auto buy for me, regardless of cover art.


  8. The cover draws me to the book,especially if there a half naked guy on it 🙂 But its the blurb that makes me decide if I get it or not.If it doesn’t interest me having a hot cover doesn’t matter.But they sure are nice to look at 🙂

  9. Oh, Elaing8, I so agree.
    I lurve checking out a hot cover…but if the blurb doesn’t do it for me, it makes no difference how hot the cover or cover model is.


  10. A book’s cover may bring my attention to the book, just like a good title might, but my buying decision comes after I read the blurb.

  11. Like you, I read so many ebooks that sometimes I don’t even notice a cover. But a fabulous cover will definitely catch my eye and get me curious, and from there, I will take a peek at the blurb and excerpt.

  12. Hey Jess, yea its been awhile but I am back 🙂
    Its all of it for me. The first thing to catch my attention is the title, next the cover, and on to the blurb. It depends on the title and the cover if I even go to read the blurb. I might like the title but not the cover or reversed. But if neither catch my attention, I put it back. Unless one of my regular authors.


    • Glad to have you back, Midnight. 😉

      So, for you it’s a combo of title and cover.

      Hmm, now I’m wondering what kinda titles would completely turn you off a book.


  13. Hey Jess *waving* I do the same as you now, covers use to be important but now I read so many ebooks that the blurb has to catch me. Sometimes it’s all about what i’m interested in at that moment, menages have my attention right now 😉
    I will be reading yours and the other IH’ers always tho!!!

    • Mai, I’m also into menages at the moment. Reading and writing.

      LOL, keep wondering if I’ll ever go back to writing a plain ol’ m/f erotic romance.


  14. I admit I look at the cover first and I usually don’t care for just words. I like a picture that can help me picture what the book is about and I absolutely hate it when the cover has a blond but in the story it’s a brunette. I also like to read the inside blurb and I watch for it as I read the story. The cover does not have to have people in it, Robyn Carrs covers express the feelings I get from her Virgin River series( I’m from that area) and some of Nora Roberts senic covers where the book is set in Montana help me picture the vastness of that setting. Allie MacKay aka Sue-Ellen Welfonder series is great, the one titled A Highlander In my Bed has a old french style bed and the girl’s feet sticking out over the top with I believe a Highlander standing nearby. I so do love Valerie’s work though.

    • Oh, Zina. Love your point about being irked by a cover that misrepresents a book. Drives me mad when I expect characters to look one way, because of the cover, and the author depicts them differently.


      • I feel that it’s the cover artists fault not the writer, and a few times I’ve wanted to tear the book apart because I can be so anal at times.

  15. It depends–often when I’m browsing, the cover will grab my attention (or not, as the case may be) first, but if the blurb and flipping through the first few pages doesn’t light my fire, I’m not buying the book. On the other hand, a terrible cover may not prevent me from buying a book that I’ve heard good buzz for, or if I love the author or have met her/read about her book online… I do find it mildly irksome though when the look/feel of the cover doesn’t match what’s inside–if it’s a cute, flirty cover, I expect light-hearted entertainment; conversely, if it’s a darkly striking one, I want some passionate drama 😉

  16. I appreciate nice covers and it’s definitely one of the first things to catch my attention. A pretty cover will lead me to pick up the book, but it’s the blurb that sells me the book. I like the silhouetted covers seen on many suspense novels and scenic covers.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  17. Jane, I’m thinking you’ve summed it up. A nice cover attracts you to the book, a good blurb sells the book.


  18. Courtney S Says:

    I have to say that it depends. If it’s something from an author that I like, the cover helps, but it’s not the determining factor. If I’m browsing in the bookstore, or the book aisle @ Walmart or Target, or on an ebook site, the cover is what initially catches my attention & then the blurb is the deciding factor. I LOVE a cover w/ a hot man on the cover, preferably shirtless (Joann Ross is good for this).

    • Courtney S Says:

      OOPS! Forgot to include my email…lol

    • Courtney, you mention browsing in bookstores… Well, I think that’s why covers are no longer so nb to me. I don’t browse through bookstores as much. Well not physical ones anyway. I spend the time on the internet, browsing cyber bookstores.

      Ad I also love a shirtless man on a cover.


  19. If it is by an author that is on my auto buy list not really. But, if I am looking for a new book yes I look for the covers if I like the cover I will pick it up. If I don’t really like the cover but the title grabs me then I usually look at it. But I am a cover person.

    • Desiree, that makes me happy to hear, because I mostly love all my covers, and if that’s what attracts a new reader to my work…I’m good with that.


  20. The cover doesn’t necessilary end up as the deciding factor as to whether or not I buy a book, but if the cover is really good, I’m definitely going to pick up the book and look into it more. It’s like a precursor to purchasing.


  21. Sherry S. Says:

    Sometimes a cover will catch my eye but I don’t ever buy a book based on it. I’ve seen plenty of books that I loved the cover but when I read the blurb the book wasn’t anything I would ever read. Some of my favorite books have covers that I hate and would pass by in the store but would finally pick up and read the blurb and buy it.

  22. tennismom mary g Says:

    Hi Jess
    The cover might make me notice a book but I don’t buy that way (except once – Caine’s Reckoning by Sarah McCarty. Luckily the inside mached the outside LOL. What a cover does control is whether it’s a “read at home” book or “okay to read at work in the lunchroom” book. It’s not unusual for me to be in the middle of 2 or 3 books.

    • HI Mary

      Just looked at Caine’s Reckoning of the internet. I’ve never seen a Spice cover like that!
      Hmm, wonder if they’re different in Australia?

      And about reading books at home because of the cover…well, that’s when ereaders come in mighty handy.


  23. You’re a sweetheart.

    That is all.


  24. Yvonne R. Says:

    I try not to let book covers influence my decisions that much but I can’t help look at the covers when I’ve already bought the book and usually choose the order of what I read according to that. 🙂 Sounds weird I know. I really prefer covers that have a “photo-like” quality to them. I don’t like cartoonish covers at all.

    • LOL, Yvonne, I like your logic. Good way of choosing what to read next.

      Ya know, on romance novels, I’m not crazy about cartoony covers, but on mainstream books, I’ll definitely take another look at a cartoon cover.


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