Be honest - how much does a book's cover (and/or title) influence your interest?

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#2
Title, not much. I have liked some books with pretty stupid titles (and it's hard for me to make much of a conclusion based on fewer than 10 words and a title longer than 10 words is a separate issue). Though I am disinclined to like books with foreign-sounding made-up words in the titles (Bradley P. Beaulieu's books excepted). Unless the title is The Gathering Storm. Then we know it's a later book in a series that has gone on far too long...(cough, cough, Crown of Stars and Wheel of Time). Or if the book is by someone named "Terry" and the title starts with The Sword of...

Covers are different. At least with unknown quantities (the US versions of Wheel of Time and Malazan, the first time around, had terrible covers in many cases, but Tor is generally a good gatekeeper). But with a smaller press or something, or a SPA, if the cover is shit, I question the sense of everyone involved in the process of selecting it. Since that many times includes the author for non-big 6/5/whatever it is now publishers, I start to wonder about the quality of what's inside the book as well.
 

Teresa Edgerton

Listens to The Unbeliever whine about life
#3
Both the cover and the title attract my interest. Whether it goes any further than that depends on a lot of other factors.
 

Anti_Quated

Journeyed there and back again
#4
A good cover and title can be sufficiently compelling to draw my eye long enough to peruse the blurb. If the blurb does what it's supposed to in shamelessly seducing me and appealing to my various tastes, then I'll buy it.
A shitty, low-rent cover or a pedestrian title would need to be preceded by incredibly strong word of mouth and would still need to be vetted through reviews and appraisals to determine whether I should invest.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#5
Title doesn't matter much.
Covers matter greatly in two instances. When I have never heard of the author before and when it's my first time reading that author. If they have bad cover in those cases, I will just switch to something else, and not add them to my ptr list or read them at all. I have over 700 titles on my ptr, so I always have that luxury of passing over badly presented book.
If the author is know to me, or if I have read their works before and I like them well enough, I'm much more inclined to give them a pass for a bad book cover. Example in case, Neil Gaiman's Coraline. Any cover, except for the minimalist one. Horrid stuff.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#6
I can forgive a lame title, and even lame cover art... but if a book sports both a lame title and cover art, then no deal.
That said, I've read bunches of books with great titles and cover art that turned out to be clunkers.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#7
I don't really mind what the cover art looks like and what the title is.
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#8
Title and Cover both count for me. Ropey artwork or typefacing just makes me think the contents are ropey too.
Chronicles of the chronicled chronicler: Volume 3 of the Asswipe Trilogy.

There's been quite a few books that I've read from recommendations here that, left to my own device, I would have ignored because of rubbish naming and art. I'm not shallow, I'm just busy and have high standards ;)
 

Travis

Has Danced with Dragons
#9
You know it's kind of funny that (at least where I'm from) there's a common saying "don't judge a book by its cover" which is meant to imply that you can't judge a book (or person) based on what they look like. What I find is that, while I find this true for people, books are another matter! This was worse when I was young but if a book has an awful cover it's very difficult for me to start reading it. I've gotten better with this simply because otherwise I would miss a lot of great stuff. I find a lot of older fantasy to have some of the worst cover art I've ever seen but I look past that. However, if a book releases today and has terrible cover art, I definitely won't buy it (unless there are glowing recommendations for it).

As for titles, they don't really bother me that much. However, @wakarimasen makes a point. I don't think I'd want to read Chronicles of The Chronicled Chronicler: Volume 3 of the Asswipe Trilogy either. That said, it would probably be better than The Fifth Sorceress :p
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#10
Proven way to get "likes" on posts at BFB: Trash Terry Goodkind in a post, even if it's obliquely...
 

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
#12
Professionalism is what sways me. It it looks cheap or home produced, or it's full of typos I'm turned off.

Having said that, I select from the library a lot and cover does draw me in.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#13
Proven way to get "likes" on posts at BFB: Trash Terry Goodkind in a post, even if it's obliquely...
He's terrible though. As is Terry Brooks. Terry - Terrible. The first four letters coincide. Coincidence? I think not.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#14
He's terrible though. As is Terry Brooks. Terry - Terrible. The first four letters coincide. Coincidence? I think not.
But a lot of people here like Terry Pratchett so you can't go solely by the first name...
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#15
It's rare that I decide to get a book based on it's title. But covers can be a deal breaker for me since I only read physical books. For example I'm interested in reading some Tad Williams but I don't think I'll ever buy these editions.



I read he's going to do a Robin Hobb and jump back into this world like she did with the Fitz and the Fool trilogy. Hopefully this means his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn will get new editions too just like Hobb's did.

 

Travis

Has Danced with Dragons
#16
It's rare that I decide to get a book based on it's title. But covers can be a deal breaker for me since I only read physical books. For example I'm interested in reading some Tad Williams but I don't think I'll ever buy these editions.



I read he's going to do a Robin Hobb and jump back into this world like she did with the Fitz and the Fool trilogy. Hopefully this means his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn will get new editions too just like Hobb's did.

This is exactly what I meant in my comment! :) Old titles tend to have bad cover art. I try to let it slide with them though, I'm more strict with recent stuff.
 
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Amaryllis

Journeyed there and back again
#17
If I'm not going in with a specific book(s) in mind, and I feel like I absolutely must have a book, it is absolutely the covers that I look for next.

I know marketing people say that book covers (particularly for niche genres) aren't about having good art themselves, but for 'genre/subgenre signaling' so fans can pick up things that are similar to what they like, but I know that I personally don't tend to pick up covers that look nearly indistinguishable from 100 other covers on the shelf. I have ended up with a fair amount of books just from grabbing things that caught my eye, and it usually doesn't lead me wrong (McKillip probably being my biggest 'success').
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#18
You know @Travis, hailing from the States n' all .. I'm surprised you've ever read a fantasy book in your life with the state of fantasy book covers over there. I mean you guys are great and everything, and are world leaders in countless things, but designing fantasy book covers ain't one of them!
 

Travis

Has Danced with Dragons
#19
You know @Travis, hailing from the States n' all .. I'm surprised you've ever read a fantasy book in your life with the state of fantasy book covers over there. I mean you guys are great and everything, and are world leaders in countless things, but designing fantasy book covers ain't one of them!
That made me chuckle! Yes, fantasy books over here tend to have terrible cover art (although as I've said, older books are the worst in this regard). It just seems like the covers were always made to look like generic DxD settings. Insert: castle, bits of landscape, and some warrior or wizard (probably on a horse). Thankfully, since I've discovered the wonderful recommendations on this site, I can go into a lot of books knowing they should be pretty good, bad cover or not :p
 

Anti_Quated

Journeyed there and back again
#20
@Anti_Quated it's kind of interesting for your notice to be attracted by covers given how bad Australia is for putting completely non-sequitur art on SFF books.
Between fighting wildlife engineered to kill on sight and navigating my way through the possibility of our native currency becoming 'Dollarydoos' I don't get to many physical bookshops, so it's international covers I mostly see.

And we Australians are a simple breed for the most part - a Fantasy book cover just needs to have some swords and castles and a wizard or some shit right? :D