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Old 09-18-2014, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Miami, FL
8,088 posts, read 8,303,415 times
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You know when browsing through that bargain stack or in the regular stock aisles and reading the titles on the spine. Do you pull out a book because of the interesting artwork and or title? Do you then go to the summary on the back cover?
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Maine
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A good cover will definitely catch my eye, but I would never buy a book based solely on the cover. It might make me pick it up, but I'm going to read the summary, gloss over any reviews, then read the first page or two. If all that turns out, chances are I've bought a book. If not, back on the shelf it goes.

But over the past few years I have learned:

Lots of good books have bad covers. Photoshop was the worst thing that ever happened to book art. True art and design have gone the way of the dinosaur. Now we have book covers with waxed models showing a lot of skin and tattoos. In the mystery genre we have a setting photo with heavy Photoshop "mood" changes.

Reviews usually don't mean squat. Reviews are bought and paid for. And once you read a lot of them, you start seeing a trend. Back in the '80s and early '90s, Marion Zimmer Bradley hailed every new book as "the next Tolkien!" I think she just had a rubber stamp with that on it.

It's the writing that matters. And this is where most books lose me. I'll read the first paragraph. 90% of books I pick up lose me here. There's no excuse for bad writing, and if the very first paragraph of your book is blech, I can't imagine the rest is going to be any better.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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Thanks. Having a discussion with an editor about this and he mentioned how critical both art to attract new readers to an author or genre.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:21 PM
 
4,456 posts, read 3,937,849 times
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Not sure but maybe in our post-modern era which looks at things somewhat differently I'm wondering if books could be sold (and collected) simply on the basis of its dust cover. Perhaps at that time the image will be more important than the words!
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:39 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,092 posts, read 13,870,450 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felix C View Post
You know when browsing through that bargain stack or in the regular stock aisles and reading the titles on the spine. Do you pull out a book because of the interesting artwork and or title? Do you then go to the summary on the back cover?
Well, if I'm reading the titles on the spine, I pull a book because of the title and/or author.
Artwork doesn't mean diddly to me.
I read the back or front flap for synopsis. Don't read the 'blurbs' from other authors or reviewers, those are a waste of time.

But what do I know? Years ago, I would just go to the SF/Fantasy section and pull the biggest, thickest books I could find. Didn't care about title or author ... I just wanted lo-ong epics
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:08 PM
 
995 posts, read 960,577 times
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When I started reading current sf/fantasy, I read mostly female authors. I'm not sure why except I was coming off a long binge of romances, but I started reading Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, Joan Vinge, CJ Cherryh, Barbara Hambly, CS Friedman, Katherine Kerr.
Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head. I leaned more toward SF, but did move on to pure fantasy writers like Anne McCaffrey after I'd luckily read Dragonsdawn first (which was the prequel to the Pern series) when it first came out. Book covers never ever mattered. It was opening the first few pages to see if it grabbed me.

Edit: Personal opinion here...if covers had put me off a book, Bujold's Baen covers certainly would have. Good god, they're just awful.
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:02 AM
 
Location: CO
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It's all about the covers! My favorite library branch displays all the new fiction on tables with the cover face out. It's wonderful. I may pick up a book because of its cover but read the fly leaf and put it back. But the cover caught my attention. On the other hand if I see an ugly cover but recognize a favorite author's name I'll grab it and covers be damned!
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:06 AM
 
Location: SoCal desert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnneWest View Post
When I started reading current sf/fantasy, I read mostly female authors. I'm not sure why except I was coming off a long binge of romances, but I started reading Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, Joan Vinge, CJ Cherryh, Barbara Hambly, CS Friedman, Katherine Kerr.
Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head. I leaned more toward SF, but did move on to pure fantasy writers like Anne McCaffrey after I'd luckily read Dragonsdawn first (which was the prequel to the Pern series) when it first came out. Book covers never ever mattered. It was opening the first few pages to see if it grabbed me.

Edit: Personal opinion here...if covers had put me off a book, Bujold's Baen covers certainly would have. Good god, they're just awful.
Ooh ooh ooh! Have you read any of the Liaden universe books by Lee and Miller? SF and romance combined

I seem to gravitate towards female authors also, never make a point of doing so - it just ends up that way.

And agree about Baen artwork, ie Contemptible Covers - lurid imagery, often at odds with the book's actual content. Can usually tell a Baen book with a quick glance.
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:53 PM
 
988 posts, read 895,350 times
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As a web and graphic designer, yes, I am drawn to books with nicely designed covers and will definitely pick them up to look at more closely. However, if the subject doesn't interest me, I'll put it down quickly after admiring the artwork.
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:55 PM
 
Location: In the desert, by the mirage.
2,322 posts, read 778,921 times
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Yes and yes. It doesn't go any further if I am not engaged by the blurb, the genre (maybe I have a headache and I'm not in the mood for zombies) or the writing style.

What's interesting is that I am more susceptible to a good cover on goodreads. Sometimes the cover, blurb and reviews is all I have to go by and I still end up purchasing the book with no clue of the author's writing style.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
<snip>
But over the past few years I have learned:

Lots of good books have bad covers. Photoshop was the worst thing that ever happened to book art. True art and design have gone the way of the dinosaur. Now we have book covers with waxed models showing a lot of skin and tattoos. In the mystery genre we have a setting photo with heavy Photoshop "mood" changes.

<snip>
Couldn't agree more. Sometimes I don't make the time to get past a bad cover. The cover is not the place to be cutting costs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Roses View Post
It's all about the covers! My favorite library branch displays all the new fiction on tables with the cover face out. It's wonderful. I may pick up a book because of its cover but read the fly leaf and put it back. But the cover caught my attention. On the other hand if I see an ugly cover but recognize a favorite author's name I'll grab it and covers be damned!
Favorite authors trump bad covers every time.
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