Judging By the Cover

Many people choose their novels based on looks alone, however, this may not always be the best approach


When walking through a library or store, or even receiving a book for a class assignment, the first thing one is faced with is the book’s cover. Every time people see something they process the details about it and judge it, often without even knowing they’re doing it; however, a phrase that many grew up hearing warns against this reflex: never judge a book by its cover. Though this phrase references books, it is used more frequently to talk about people.

When the reference is used literally, there is often controversy. Some believe the judgement in regards to books is the same as with people; judgement prior to full knowledge is not only superficial, but wrong. Designs and pictures can not truly disclose the story between the covers. Others consider one fact to form their opinion: books’ covers usually embody the contents of the books and the ideas the words convey. Therefore, if a reader likes the cover, in their minds it is also probable the reader will like the material inside.

There are thoughts on each side of the argument and people share evidence of their beliefs through many forms of media.

According to the website Workopolis, “the font of the title, the size of the print, the kind of binding, the review quotes, all of these things are deliberately chosen to give you information about the style of the content within.There’s a wealth of information right on the cover with which you can make a pretty good judgement of a book.”

Not everyone has a specific opinion on whether or not a cover accurately represents a book. Some agree with individual aspects of each side and therefore do not take a stance. One example of this is avid reader senior Aubryn Corey.

“I enjoy reading books with covers that are more on the plain side,” Corey said. “I can be reading a book I like, but I hate the cover so it just ruins the story. Although, I don’t believe the covers have anything to do with the story really so when I’m picking out a book I make sure to read the description when trying to decide if I’d like it.”

For most, people use their intuition to decide whether or not the quality of the cover accurately reflects the quality of the book itself. Another reader, junior Nina Deckert, shared her opinion on the debate.

“The cover is the first impression you have on a book and if the author didn’t put the effort into a nice cover then I’m led to believe they didn’t put effort into a nice book,” Deckert said.

No matter others’ viewpoints, the process of choosing a book is based solely on one’s personal preference and system. Whether the reader goes based off of covers, someone else’s recommendation or a school assignment, the words of the story are ultimately what matter in the end.