Friday, September 14, 2012

why the f*ck friday (14)

Welcome to WTFF. In which I attempt to answer a single question--normally a thought on a book or a bookish subject--that I've been pondering for the past week. This week it's "why the f*ck did I just buy that?" 

I know I'm not the only one out in the world with a weird reading fetish. I'm not talking about reading multiple books. I'm talking about buying habits. I'm talking about purchasing books you have no intention of reading.

I think it's called cover appeal. I am attracted to a good cover, sometimes I don't even intend to read the book I just bought. I just like how it looks. I have found myself doing this less and less (covers seem to be degrading in quality and I can only take so many chopped off faces).

What do I consider a good cover? The Sirantha Jax covers:

What is it about these book covers that just make them seem fascinating? It's somewhere between "classic science fiction" and "bad ass chick" on the cover scale. Whomever did the artwork for them summed up the series with just a cover.

There was absolutely no reason for me to buy the actual books, I could have gotten them in ebook format. Instead I opted to buy them in paperback just for the covers. So my question for everyone this week is: what is a good cover to you? Do you buy books with no intention of reading them? Just for the cover? Can you explain your attraction to them?

Note: If I ever meet Ann Aguirre I will have her sign all my copies and cut off the covers and frame them. Maybe.


  1. Lara Croft. Tomb Raider. That's what most of those covers remind me of.

    Hmm...let me think. I naturally gravitate toward bright covers (orange to be more specific) but I spend more time looking over books with covers that are somewhat obscure--like I'm not sure if what's on the cover is an arm, a celestial body, or a really cool looking tree.

    However, I only ever buy books that I have researched a little and then I search for the edition with the book cover I like the most...I'm not a spontaneous book buyer and I don't really buy books I won't read...Now I need to look at my bookshelves and see what my bright cover to obscure graphic design cover ratio is.

    Did I even answer your questions?--a good book cover is one that symbolizes the story well. I can't recall an instance where I bought a book solely based on the cover. And I can't explain my attraction to the books I buy other than my favorite color is orange and I like thought-provoking imagery.

    1. Video game references. I love it. They are a little Lara Croft-y. I love Tomb Raider as a kid, though.

      Obscure? Could you give me an example? I have a copy of Wuthering Heights that fell apart on me and I had it framed. The cover was just... old school.

      See, I get the trees. For me it's birds. If there's a cool looking bird on the cover I'll probably buy it. Birds on covers can be rare, though.

      You answered my question perfectly. You always do.

  2. I don't know if I have specifics at what is a good cover, there are just covers that catch my attention. Reading romances I'll be honest that those covers more than most attract my attention like the covers of the Play by Play series by Jaci Burton.

    No, but there is a whole crate in my room with books that I purchased with the intention of reading, but now there's a good possibility that I won't be reading them.

    I don't buy just based on cover, but I will check them out from the library based on cover. I've only started doing it since I started working in a library.

    1. So it's only started because you're working in a library now. It was never intact before.

      If you pay attention to the covers you like you might notice a theme among them.

    2. I've always noticed covers, but I was picky about picking up a book just based on it before, but now that I'm in a library and it doesn't cost me anything, I'll pick a book up solely based on cover.

    3. Current theme is headless male bodies.

    4. Headless Male Bodies. Sounds like a thrash band.

  3. I am so picky about covers. I don't buy books often and can't remember the last time I bought and ebook. But when I'm buying a physical book I seek out the editions with the best covers. I've lost count of the British editions I've bought because they had nicer (less embarrassing) covers. I even have a French edition Harry Potter because the cover is so cute.

    I'm also really bad at reading the books I buy in a timely fashion. So if they're going to sit on my shelf for a few months they should at least look pretty.

    When new orders come into the library and I have to put contact paper and barcodes on them, I will only read or not read the synopsis of the books based on the cover. It's probably a bad practice seeing as how I'm expected to press upon patrons not to judge a book by a cover. Oh well.

    1. Yes! Win for British editions! Like the ones for Delirium. Or His Dark Materials! I have several British editions. I had a friend who had German editions of Harry Potter. They were interesting.

      I can agree with that sentiment.

      With so many books, though, you kind of have to discriminate by cover or else you'd be wasting your time. So it's understandable.

  4. How appropriate, because I was just at B&N last night taking pictures of YA book covers. They're basically all varying degrees of sameness. You will see what I mean when I post about it - soon.

    I try to ignore book covers, because really they're often ridiculous. Especially YA books. Lots of girls by themselves, especially in prom dresses, or looking determined. That tells me nothing about a book. When browsing a bookstore or library, i will pick up certain ones to look at because I liked the cover or title. But I would never buy something based on cover alone (if I had unlimited resources and shelf space I might tho). I have been be embarrassed to read something in public because of the cover. Though I know that's more of a problem for a guy reader than it would be for me.

    I actually rarely think a cover model matches the character I see in my head - in fact they usually get in the way of it so I prefer no people, or at least no close face shots on my covers. I am terrible with examples, sorry. I do love the Monstrous Beauty cover I see listed under your Currently Reading.

    1. I read quite a few romance novels and I'm always finding that the cover very rarely matches the description of the character or what I picture the character looking like.

      I also love the reuse of stock photos on covers. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books talks about it quite a bit.

    2. Lauren, it didn't occur to me until after posting this that it touched on the topic you were talking about the other day. I look forward to your take on it.

      I don't see a lot of the YA book covers because I read them all on my Kindle so I can read them in public. Although, that's really changed since I started going to the library more and more. I have no shame in my Sarah Dessen novels.

      The Monstrous Beauty cover is very well done. It matches the tone of the book perfectly.

    3. Amelia, I never noticed that until I went to Smart Bitches, Trashy books. But then again I don't pay too much attention to them.

    4. Lauren, you would laugh at me if you knew how many book covers I keep as pictures on my phone. Just because I like them. :)

    5. Amelia, I'll have to check out their take on it. I'm sure it's hilarious.

      Adam, you really aren't missing much in the YA cover department. I think it's fantastic that you love Sarah Dessen. Her books all got new covers recently.Though I can't really comment on whether they're better or not.

      Asheley, I love you and your book quirks.

  5. I'm too poor to buy books I don't intend to read lol. I have to be picky about what I actually buy. I couldn't describe what I think a good cover is. I just see it and I either love it or don't.

    1. Most of the time it's from the library discard pile or a book sale. I don't think I've ever bought a book at full price just for the cover.

  6. Dude. Ann is going to be with me on the Fierce Reads tour! Didn't you say a road trip to our Cincinnati stop (Fri. Sept. 21) was a possibility? I WILL BEG IF NECESSARY.

    1. What! I had completely forgotten about this. Can you name a time? I can totally do this since Cincinnati is only an hour and a half away. And I'd love to meet you and Ann. I would just have to talk to my supervisor about the time off (I don't have anything that will interfere with it as far as I know).

      There's like a 90% chance this is gonna happen.

    2. Wow EF, you are making the rounds and seeing everyone this month - me, Carrie, Asheley and now Adam. Who's next?

    3. Here it is, Adam! It's at 7 PM at Joseph-Beth. I would love it (and I know Ann would, too) if you could be there! I showed her your Enclave review when you posted it and she flipped.

      Lauren, the two most rewarding aspects of touring turn out to be meeting bloggers and teen readers. I feel like I'm making so many friends. That's new and different, for this hermit!

    4. Completely doable. I just have to leave work a few minutes early on Friday. The review of your book goes up on Monday.

      I see Marissa Meyer will also be there. Should be interesting...

    5. There's a meet-and-greet just for bloggers that you should definitely get in on. It's at 6:15 at Joseph-Beth, 1727 Riverside Drive. The contact person is Kate Lied: kate[dot]lied[at-sign of course]macmillan[dot you know the rest]. Tell her I sent you!

  7. I randomly like covers. It just depends on whether ot not they look good or not. It doesn't affect whether or not I buy a particular book but sometimes it will make a difference if I read a book or not. I judge and am not ashamed. If I'm buying a book I buy the cover I like best if there is more than one. There is one book I want but can't find the cover I want and am peeved about it, so I'm holding out, for example.

    I don't always like kissy covers or covers with animals. I don't mind the pretty dresses or faces (what Capillya @thatcovergirl calls SGiPD), but I don't like bodies with no heads. That is creepy.

    I very much like spine art because that is what I actually see on my shelves. The spines don't get enough credit. But that is a whole 'nother topic for a whole 'nother day.

    1. You don't like covers with animals? Cute kittens? Puppies? They don't do it for you?

    2. I'm with Lauren on this one. Please explain your dislike of animals on covers.

      This UK edition of His Dark Materials happens to be one of my favorite covers:

    3. What I mean specifically about the animals on the covers are the real animals. Like the Marley & Me type covers with the cats or dogs on them. Kind of a trend these days, although not necessarily specific to YA.

      Lauren - Unfortunately, cute animals just don't do it for me for reasons that would make me seem very cold-hearted and would probably get me ousted from this blog. So in order to remain safe and in good graces with its owner and the others here, I think I should probably not explain my dislike of animals on covers. I'm sort of afraid of all of you.

      Also, leave it to you ADAM to throw out the ONE animal cover that I really do like. That's the one I want doggone it.

  8. A good cover to me usually seems to be a young girl looking mysteriously off in the distance. I do not know why. I also really like the ones that are softer to the touch. I always buy books with the intention of reading them even if sometimes it takes me a few years to get around to them. I know when I went home in July I finally read
    The Frank Beddpr Alyss series which I'd had for a while as well as some fiction books. All my book cases are still at my parents so it's nice to have books there for when I visit. I do have to say that although the majority of the time the cover is what draws me in I will not buy the book if the cover flap where they do a bit of info about the plot doesn't seem like a storyline that interests me.

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