Back when I lived in Milan, I had a friend who designed book covers for one of Italy’s largest publishers. I was just learning Italian back then and I remember asking her if there was an equivalent expression for “You can’t judge a book by its cover”, and being surprised to learn there wasn’t.
I just read this hilarious post from the sobadsogood blog on the Ten worst book covers in the history of literature and, I must admit, this seems to be a pretty definitive list. Authors beware! You really don’t want to find yourself on this type of a top ten list…
With a lot more self-publishing today, I get the impression there are even more questionable design choices – even if this sobadsogood blog post seems to prove the phenomenon has been around for a while.
I know it’s superficial, but I can’t help being drawn to a good cover. Since e-readers haven’t yet taken over in Italy, I still love spying on the book covers I see on the metro or on the beach and, when one catches my eye, I tend to seek it out in the bookstores.
My non-scientific method has certainly netted me some duds, but some nice surprises as well, where the evocative cover really did hint at the beauty of the words within.
What about you, writers? Are you drawn to an appealing cover? Have you ‘discovered’ good books this way, simply because good art work caught your eye?