Spotlight Sunday: Can You Judge a Book By Its Cover?

Spotlight Sunday on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

When the four of us are together, in person or via the magic of the internet, the conversations almost always come back to books. We love them. We love the people who write them, the people who publish them, and the people who read them. In fact, we have so many feelings about books that we wanted to find a way to share our conversations with you!

This is the third week of our new feature, hosted by Fiction Fare (Erin & Jaime) and Swoony Boys Podcast (Kassiah & Meg). Spotlight Sundayis about ALL things bookish. Each week we’ll post a topic, we’ll start the conversation by telling you some of our thoughts, and then it will be your turn to sound off in the comment section.

Have a topic you’d like to discuss on Spotlight Sunday? Fill out the form here.

How important is the cover of a book to you? Do you care when they change them mid-series?

Jaime: I’m a cover whore… I love them and they are almost always what grabs my attention and makes me want to read or not read a book, especially from an author who I don’t know.

As far as a cover change, I have mixed feelings about this! Example – Anna and the French Kiss/Lola and the Boy Next Door – I loved the first covers, and I like the second set of covers, but… I had to go out and buy the new covers because I want a full matching set when Isla and the Happily Ever After comes out. and that also means that I won’t have a complete set of the first set of covers so part of me hates it. I mean it would be different if I had tons of money you know? LOL – Basically, I’m not a fan, but I have only myself and my weird need to have a full set of the same covers to blame.

Anna and the French Kiss Stephanie Perkins Hardcover Cover vs. Anna and the French Kiss Stephanie Perkins New Cover

Erin: I agree though – I also like to have the same covers and when they are switched mid-series I find it a bit frustrating – mostly because I am a book nerd and like them all to match.

Shatter Me Tahereh Mafi Old Cover

Juliette is not in a pageant–but you couldn’t tell that from this cover.

Kassiah: I agree 🙂 I don’t necessarily hate when they do a mid-series cover switch because it’s usually for the better (like with Shatter Me Series), but what I hate about it is I can’t get the same format in all the books, unless I wait. I usually prefer hardcovers, so I can’t have a matching set of all the hardcovers of either the Anna and French Kiss Series or Shatter Me because they’re not making the first book in the matching covers. So. #fail

Meg: Of course I agree with all of you. I strongly dislike not being able to have a matching set, but usually the cover switch happens for a reason.

Erin: I love, love, love pretty covers. I admit – that is usually what pulls me in. Don’t get me wrong, I want a good story but it is usually the cover that makes me look first. I like something that stands out too. I am finding that more often than not, books that fall into the same genre tend to have the same setup on the cover – you know, boy and girl almost kissing…or something like that.

Kassiah: Yeah, that’s true! I love covers that stand out.

I think I’m pulled in almost too much with cover love. I mean, sometimes there are extremely beautiful covers that the book totally does. not. live. up. to. Like Tris & Izzie and Uses for Boys. I want to read the books that go with those covers. I feel like it’s a form of false advertising, you know?

Tris & Izzie Mettie Ivie Harrison Uses for Boys Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Have any of ya’ll read and loved a book with an ugly cover that made you glad you picked it up anyway?

Meg: I think that “don’t judge a book by its cover” applies to life… but not books. I mean, I totally judge. It isn’t a complete deal breaker, but it will make me pick something up sooner or try something I might not have looked at twice otherwise.

I’ve had it go both ways! I’ve read something with a not so great cover (or a cover that just didn’t “match”) and loved it. I’ve also read something with a kick-ass cover that just didn’t live up to the hype.

Am I the only one who feels sorry for covers that get the short end of the stick? Sometimes I wish they could get a re-do!

Jaime: I totally have read books with ugly covers… I won’t say what they are, you can probably look through my read list on goodreads for that. It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while I find myself intrigued by a summary and totally side-eying the cover, but I want to give it the benefit of the doubt and those are the books I wish would get a redo!

I agree with you Meg, there are definitely books out there with amazing covers… and the not so amazing story. Those kill me because I can’t help but think it’s a waste of pretty.

Now that you’ve read some of our thoughts, let us know what you’re thinking in the comments below! We’ll be back next week with a brand new topic and lots more to talk about.

Past Spotlight Sunday Topics


  1. I think you can judge a book by its cover to an extent. On SOME books, not all. I say this because contemporary covers sometimes doesn’t really match the story, or it just embodies the focus of the story. Or just something pretty to look at and display on a shelf.

    There can be certain indicators that cryptically hints at what the story entails and might give a few things away. I see this in mostly Young Adult novels. However, sometimes the designer specifically desgins it in a way they want you to overthink things and draw up conclusions, so when you do read it, the readers theories would end up being totally wrong in the end.

    I think covers are important for many reasons, a couple in which I talked about above. There are some covers that I saw that could be easily deceiving to the eye. For example, I came across a book (I forgot the name, I apologize) with a couple in an embrace, and when I read the book description in the back, it was a paranormal book. That type of cover is meant for a Contemporary or Romance novel, not of the YA Paranormal genre. It’s important that the cover should be true to the book.

  2. Man, you ask the hard questions, you guys, lol.

    Ok, so as I mentioned in your first post of this feature (Do You Prefer E-Books or Physical Copies?), I buy pretty much everything as ebook, so the changes in covers does absolutely nothing to me. 🙂

    However, if I were to buy hardcopies, then it would certainly drive me crazy to have non-matching covers for a series. Really, make up your damn mind, publishers, and stick to it. Although I do have to say that sometimes the new covers are much better.

    Additionally, I absolutely do judge a book by its cover. I think it’s natural to do so. Seeing a book cover is usually our first contact with it, it’s not like we go to a bookstore and we can ‘sense’ if a book is interesting. The first thing is to see the cover, even when a lot of the times they can be misleading. In that regard, I think the work of the artists is particularly important in this business. However, I also add other things (in this order, lol): cover, blurb and reviews/recs.

    If the cover is pretty enough (or interesting), I read the blurb. If that sounds appealing, I check other people’s reviews of the book or if someone I follow has rec’ed it (specially on GR). Although sometimes following reviews can be as misleading as judging a book by its cover (it turns into a case of ‘are we reading the same book?’).

    So there. I think we DO judge a book by its cover, however it often happens that we CAN’T and we found ourselves surprised by it.

  3. Lots of head nods all around!

    I do tend to judge books by their covers and maybe miss out on some great books (or the books with the pretty covers turn out to be duds and I feel like a moth that realizes too late that the shiny flame is bad, so bad).

    That said, I also end up reading a lot of books with terrible covers (that, at times, turn out to be just as terrible as their covers and, other times, are so surprisingly good, I want them to change the cover so more people will give them a try), so maybe it evens out in the end?

    Oh and I totally agree, I find it endlessly annoying when they switch covers mid-series. If I know how many books there’ll be in a series, I’ll usually try to wait until the entire series is available before buying any of them. Then again, that approach gets tricky when I don’t know if the series will be worth any investment at all … ahhhh!

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