Good Book Cover Art Examples
Media

Judging a Book by the Cover 

Question: How much does cover art influence your fictional book purchase decisions?

We’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but how possible is it really?

I’ll let Aliza Licht, senior vice president of communications for Donna Karan, answer that with a quote from her recently released career advice book, Leave Your Mark.
Leave Your Mark Book Cover

People judge anything before they actually know what someone or something really has to offer. You want proof? Tell me you didn’t judge the very cover of this book before you bought it? I know you did. We all judge books by their covers — at least initially.

Personally, the cover image of a book influences my book buying quite a bit. Often, I don’t go to a bookstore with a particular title in mind. I walk the aisles and see what jumps out at me. Usually, the first things I notice are the book’s color, the title and the cover art — not necessarily in that order. Only after observing those items do I read the back, or jacket panel(s), to get a feel for the book’s storyline.

The cover art of a book is a huge draw. It gives a feel for the work, particularly if a reader isn’t familiar with the author. It’s also a (typically) subconscious gauge of how committed the publisher and author are to putting out quality work. Success is in the details. Well over 300,000 books are released each year in the United States alone. Publishers and authors have to do everything they can to stand out among the masses.

As Aliza says in her book, “So given that everyone [judges a book by the cover], why not use that information strategically?” Below is a sampling of book covers that grabbed my attention during various trips to the bookstore. Before I picked up each of these books, I had not been aware of any of these authors. Their book cover art drew me in, and their (well-crafted and executed) stories did the rest. In the case of the author of Honolulu, Alan Brennert, it worked so well I eventually bought his other book Molokai.

Good Book Cover Art Examples

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