A while ago, I discussed both deal breakers and deal makers in a short post series on The Broke and the Bookish. Most of these, however, had to do with the actual writing of the books in question, like if a book has a forced love triangle or is written in a style I don’t like. Today I’m talking about more superficial book deal breakers, from things that just make me go “ugh” to things that will actively prevent me from picking up a book. Yes, it’s time to judge books by their covers. Apparently I don’t do it that much, though, because I couldn’t come up with ten!
Deckle edge. Why do people like this? Why does it appear on novels newer than 100 years old? I don’t know, but it annoys the crap out of me. You know how terrible it is when you put a book in a backpack or purse and one of the edges gets crunched a little bit so that a bunch of pages all have that tiny, impossible-to-fix crease? That’s what deckle edge reminds me of. Except it’s the whole book, and it’s “supposed” to be like that. This might bother me more than some people because I have a habit of flipping through the pages I have left as I’m reading, and deckle edge makes it harder to do that, but still. We have the technology to make the pages all perfectly aligned. Why don’t we use it?? This won’t necessarily make me not buy a book, but if the hardcover is deckle edge and the paperback won’t be, there’s a good chance I’ll wait for the paperback.
White people almost kissing on the cover. 99.999999999% chance that this is going to be a sappy, insipid book by someone like Nicholas Sparks who doesn’t actually know anything about how real relationships work. Pass.
No blurb on the back. It doesn’t have to be on the back; it can be on the jacket flap, it can be on the very first page, it can be wherever you want, but there better be a blurb. A title and a pretty cover are almost never enough to make me pick up a book. Hook me! Tell me what your book is about! How else will I know I want to read your book?
Mass-market paperbacks that are too tall and skinny. Have you guys noticed this weird trend recently where mass-markets stay the same width but are maybe in inch taller, which makes them really difficult to hold open and wreaks havoc on the smooth lines of your bookshelves? The paperbacks of Cell and Lisey’s Story by Stephen King are both like this and it drove me nuts when I was reading them. It’s part of the reason I haven’t reread either. (The other part is that Cell, at least, was just not that good.)
An “Oprah’s Book Club” sticker. Particularly one of the ones that’s actually printed onto the cover that you can’t peel off. Because then you can’t read it in public without fearing people will think you bought it just because it’s on some former(?) talk show host’s list of books to read. I can choose my own books, thank you very much.
What are some ways you judge books by their covers?by