Book Covers: To Judge or Not To Judge

While I was scrolling through Instagram the other day, I came across a book blogger who posted a photo of her recently read books.  She captioned the photo by saying that it was the first time she read a book based solely for its cover and questioned her followers on whether or not they choose books based on their covers.  

We all know that the age old rule is that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.  The outside of the cover doesn’t even begin to skim the surface of the literary magic living within the pages.  But even though I know the cover doesn’t matter much, I still judge a vast majority of what I read by the cover alone. That’s right, I’m a librarian and a cover judger.  But really, why are we inclined to judge our books by their covers?

Upon reflection, I believe that I judge my books based off of their covers because I want to enjoy looking at them just as much as I want to enjoy what’s inside them.  I usually carry a book with me in my bag all day, and I get pleasure from lining up the books in my to-read pile and admiring them.  If I have the choice between two copies of the same book, I’ll always take home the one with the more attractive cover.  But am I alone in this?warcross.jpg

I turned to my fellow Adult Services Librarians to see what their reading style is… to judge the cover or not to judge. Head of Adult Services, Katie, is also a cover judger.  She has read Warcross by Marie Lu primarily because she liked looking at the dreams of falling.jpgcover.  While Adult Services Librarian, Joseph, says he rarely judges books by their covers.  He claims to choose books by their merit alone, and uses book lists for reading suggestions.  I recently brought home Karen White’s novel, Dreams of Falling, because I liked the cover.  

But what about you, library readers, do you judge books based off of their covers?  And if so, what is your criteria?      

-Jessica Bielen, Adult Services Librarian

Livingston, NJ 07039, USA

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