Authors, Book Reviews, Fiction, Friday Five Challenge, Indie Author, Non Fiction, Self Publishing, The Writing Process, Writing Tools, Young Adult

Do You Judge a Book by its Cover?


Q. Do you judge a book by its cover?


Every Friday I take part in Rosie Amber’s Friday Five Challenge. An exercise whereby you have five minutes to decide if you would BUY or PASS a book based on the cover, blurb and the reviews. The books we choose cover a wide variety of genres; from horror to young adult, romance to non-fiction, we each have our favourites.

As a young adult writer, I am always swayed towards the teen fiction, and with a penchant for fantasy, I am drawn to bold covers with eye catching typography and mystical images. The Friday Five Challenge has forced me to look beyond my comfort zone and search for books outside the genre I usually read. Would the pastel covers of a chick-lit novel be able to entice? Or perhaps the rich colours of a historical romance could tempt me to BUY?

It is an interesting exercise, and you can read all my Friday Five book choices HERE.

Recently, I noticed some young adult titles where the cover on differs from the cover of I was intrigued and a little disappointed. The covers for the American market were far more interesting than those for the UK audience.

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The cover on the left is for the US market and the cover on the right for the UK.

I know which one I prefer. Judging by the comments I received on my Friday Five Challenge post, the readers agreed with me. The US cover won hands down.

So why are there different covers? I asked the only person I knew who could offer me an explanation. I went straight to my publishing partner, Joni, from Blue Harvest Creative.

“To start with, I always think it is a really bad idea. It hurts branding and will confuse buyers.” I agree with Joni, confusion played tug-of-war with annoyance in my mind.

“Before the internet, it was commonplace to do this kind of thing because there was very little crossover, but now where everything is so readily available, it is a confusion factor.”

For an indie author, publishing books with opposing covers is an incorrect way of dealing with their brand.

When it comes to Traditional books, though, there is another reason for this. Joni explains, “Often the publisher is different in separate countries. Publishers will create new art because they don’t have the RIGHTS to use another publisher’s cover art. If a book is published in ten different countries (languages) they are normally published by ten different publishers and, therefore, would have ten different covers.” Phew, that would be an interesting post for the Friday Five Challenge!

So there you have it. There is a reason behind it, but hopefully, over time, this will happen less and less. For me, it was an interesting topic, and hearing Joni explain the process helped me to understand how vast the publishing world is, and also how little control Trad authors have over their brand – I think that’s a whole post in itself!

As a resident in the UK I opted to PASS on buying Katie McGarry’s book, Nowhere But Here, and yes, I did judge the book by its cover – Would you?


3 thoughts on “Do You Judge a Book by its Cover?”

    1. Initially I thought the covers were different to represent cultures etc. I couldn’t understand how a teenager in the US could have such different tastes from one in the UK – apparently they don’t! Good to know when you write for that audience 😉


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