I recently bought a book absolutely wholly and solely because of the cover. In my defence, it was very pretty. I went to an online cover competition to vote for a friend's book and saw it there. The cover just called to me, and a minute later I was looking it up online. All I found out was that it was a paranormal YA romance -- not at all my usual thing -- and before I knew it, I placed an order with Book Depository.
I wanted to own it, just based on the cover. I've received it and read it now, and I'm pleased to say that the words inside actually did live up to the cover! It was a great story and I'm glad I'd bought it.
It doesn't take much to make me buy a book (as my credit card statements will attest!) but it's not usual for me to buy something just based on the cover. In fact I buy a lot of e-books, and books that I've read reviews for, or just heard about by word of mouth on Facebook or similar, and for many of them I don't think I've even looked at the cover! So what was it about this one that intrigued me?
It's a few things. Paris, for one. One of my favourite cities. I have a little Eiffel Tower sitting next to me on my desk right now, and a calendar of vintage French travel posters on the wall. Set something in Paris, and you've already half-won me over.
The red dress, for another. I love the idea of a glamorous red dress like that. One day I will have to attend the Oscars so I can wear one! It speaks of power and fun and adventure and fairy tales. (As a side note, have you heard about "The Travelling Red Dress" project by The Bloggess? It's amazing. And it's all about not waiting for an invitation to the Oscars in order to wear a dress like that.)
And the black squiggly things. I don't know why I like them but I do. I don't think I'd ever be brave enough to get a tattoo in real life, but I'm always intrigued by other people's, especially when they're beautifully drawn black lines. And if I ever did, then it would be something like those pretty swirls and winding vines and leaves. In fact, when I draw doodles in the margins of notebooks, they tend to look something like that (although not nearly as pretty).
So for me, the reasons I like that cover are all incredibly personal. There will be plenty of people out there who don't like it, who have an objection to red dresses for some reason, who encountered a rude Frenchman on their trip to Paris and have less than fond memories of the city. For those people, this book won't be appealing on any of the same grounds as it was for me.
Covers are so subjective. Like any kind of art, I suppose -- beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. And in these days of ebooks, I wonder if covers are as important as they used to be? We've heard about the demise of album art in music now -- I wonder if book covers will go a similar way?
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I feel I have been blessed by the cover fairies (or just the Art Department at Harlequin -- thanks guys!). My cover for Cassie's Grand Plan was beautiful, and when I got to see it on the shelves in the US, the bright ocean and blue, blue sky made it stand out and it really drew the eye. (It wasn't just me -- other people said the same thing!) In His Eyes is set in a fictional winery area outside of Melbourne and my hero and heroine have competing vineyards and a complicated history. I just love the dark tones and sense of drama in this cover -- it's totally appropriate to the story. I hope you'll agree when you get a chance to read it. :)
Do you think book covers are less important these days? Have you ever bought a book just because of its cover?