Judging a book by it’s cover


I read a post on Amazon recently, where the post’s author said

“I don’t judge a book by it’s price. If it’s good, I’ll pay up to $9.99 for it. If it’s bad, I don’t even want to pay 99 cents. Write a good book and it will probably succeed.”

This inevitably begs the question of how you judge whether to purchase a book or not.  If you purchase only the works of authors already know to you then doesn’t this mean you will never expand your horizons?  (Maybe you don’t want to, which is legitimate, if a bit narrow.)  If you only read material that others have recommended (and there are an awful lot of critics out there with plenty to say, some for the good, some for the bad) then doesn’t that mean you rely on others to make your decision for you, that you aren’t prepared to think for yourself?

“Write a good book and it will probably succeed” – but this can only happen (in this context) if you don’t restrict yourself only to the known, and don’t just follow others like a sheep.  An author can write the best book in the world but it won’t succeed unless others are prepared to give that author a chance.

So what is it, assuming you do think for yourself, that tempts you to put your money down for a bit of reading matter?  Okay, you have a favourite author / genre and that obviously has an influence.  Price would certainly be a factor, but surely not the only one.  The blurb on the cover?  But that’s just there as advertising, and however well that may read it can’t be guaranteed to be indicative of the book’s contents as a whole.  The pretty picture on the front?  If that sways you (and I confess it sometimes sways me) doesn’t that mean, once again, that you are allowing someone else to make up your mind for you?  After all, the picture is from the imagination of the artist based on their interpretation of what the book may be about.  And I know for a fact that some book covers are created based purely on the title of the book.  That being the case there’s no real value to be gleaned from the pretty picture (other than to admire the skill of the artist).

So just how do you decide what you’re going to read/buy/download?

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1 Comment

Filed under General, My Writing

One response to “Judging a book by it’s cover

  1. Pingback: Critics & reviewers | Nigel Edwards

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