BTT: Cover Up


At first, this week’s Booking Through Thursday made me think it was too close in topic to the one called Format, from back in February. Which wasn’t that long ago.

Here’s this week’s question: While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

The Format question was all about what we’d want in our library. This week’s question is all about what we like to read.

My answer is pretty much the same, in terms of trade paper versus mass market:
1. The new mass market size sucks.
2. I like trade paper best of all three formats.
3. More e-books should be available in print.
4. The new mass market size STILL sucks.

As for font… like I care. Don’t print in wing dings, okay? Make it legible. I’m happy.

Illustrations? Well, okay. The Tour Manager bought me an illustrated novel for my birthday (you confused Thirteeners didn’t read carefully enough!). The draw there is the artist, not the fact that it’s a novel.

Now, clearly, a graphic novel needs to have appealing artwork. Incredible, even. *coughJoannSfarcough* But a novel? A fiction novel? *snicker at the idea of “fiction novel” being a novel concept and not redundant as hell*


That leaves cover art. I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a book because of its art. I might have when I was younger. I’m a lot more jaded now, sad to say.

However, if I pick up a book with ugly cover art, or something I maybe don’t want my not-jaded kids to see, I do wish for something to cover up that cover art. Like one of those quilted book covers that, ordinarily, I’m just too cool for.



  1. Thomma Lyn

    March 27, 2008 6:44 pm

    Yeah, this week’s BTT was pretty close to the February topic — and my answer would be pretty much the same as it was in February.BR/BR/Re: cover art — I don’t judge a book by its cover, but I know covers are a IHUGE/I deal today. It ought not to be that way; it ought to be the content of the book which sells it, not the way its cover looks. Meh.BR/BR/LOL @ quilted book covers! I don’t have any of those, but older ladies I’ve known have had them — probably for when they were reading something racy! 😀

  2. shaunesay

    March 27, 2008 7:22 pm

    I got in trouble for stopping in and not saying hallo, so here I am saying hallo! ;)BR/BR/I agree that the new mass market size sucks, it’s just a stupid size. BR/BR/I admit I love cover art, and I’ll pick something up because of a good cover picture. I may not buy it, but I do like having a pretty picture to refer to as I read… or to make fun of as I read “obviously they didn’t tell the artist enough about THIS story!” BR/BR/I like mass market size the best because it’s smaller and more convenient, and I like a bit larger type just because it makes me feel I’m getting through things faster, but I can’t say that those things affect whether or not I buy it, aside from the price, at least on new books, used, not so much of an issue.BR/BR/Was that a better hello? 😉 *smooch*

  3. Susan Helene Gottfried

    March 27, 2008 8:23 pm

    MUCH better, yes.

  4. gautami tripathy

    March 27, 2008 9:28 pm

    One of my friends used to cover her racy romance novels with thick white covers. I still got one of her books with that cover. Never got around removing it. And no, I have not readthe book!BR/BR/A HREF=”” REL=”nofollow”Booking through cover/A

  5. Sya

    March 27, 2008 10:48 pm

    Hm, book covers–I used to make some out of remaindered wallpaper. Although I’m not sure unfashionable grunge would be necessarily cooler than quilted.

  6. Florinda

    March 27, 2008 11:50 pm

    Maybe it’s because I rarely buy mass-market paperbacks, but I didn’t realize they had a new size. What’s that about?BR/BR/I agree with you about the e-books in print thing, just because I still prefer to read a book that’s a Ibook/I, you know?

  7. Susan Helene Gottfried

    March 28, 2008 7:52 am

    Florinda, the new mass market size is about an inch taller than the old, so they don’t fit neatly on a shelf (or in those racks you see at Half-Price Books). And they cost three bucks more. Yep, 9.99.

  8. Irishcoda

    March 28, 2008 10:47 am

    I haven’t had a chance to do my BTT yet but just wanted to thank you for your comment on books and what to do when you are done. I’d joined Book Crossing and Paperback Swap hoping to do the 1 for 1 but somehow I’ve ended up with twice as many to be reads as ever before, lol. I’m donating 15 my hubby and I just read to Books for Soldiers…

  9. karen!

    March 28, 2008 10:56 am

    I intentionally skipped this week’s BTT precisely because the question was too similar.BR/BR/I also hate the new tall mass markets, though I’m not a huge fan of mass markets to begin with – too much spine-breaking for my taste.BR/BR/As for book-covers… maybe I could knit one with some left-over yarn (sock yarn?). That could be kind of cool. I think I’d have to come up with a pattern myself though because my quick search is only yielding book cozies (not covers you could keep on while the book was open).

  10. Susan Helene Gottfried

    March 28, 2008 10:59 am

    Left over yarn??BR/BR/Our books deserve better! How about bamboo yarn? Or the gorgeous alpaca wool I encountered last week (at only $500 a spool)?

  11. Tilly Greene

    March 28, 2008 11:49 am

    I’m not fussed about format. If I want to read a particular book then I’ll read it however it comes. That said, if it isn’t an author I read and reread [therefore keep on my limited shelves] then I look to see if it’s in ebook.BR/BR/As for the artwork…I’m a huge collector of children’s illustrators and found many a gem by being pulled into the story by the illustrations. As for fiction, well, yes covers can draw my eye and encourage me to pick it up but it doesn’t make me buy. BR/BR/I don’t care if someone checks out the cover of my book and finds it risque or not appealing. Reading is simply too good to worry about something like this 🙂

  12. trish

    March 28, 2008 12:54 pm

    Hahaha!! Don’t print in wing dings…wish I’d thought of that!! 🙂

  13. Megan

    March 28, 2008 1:33 pm

    “I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a book because of its art.”BR/BR/Is that really true? How could you not be interested by its art every once in a while and pick it up in the store or other wise and just take a peek?

  14. Susan Helene Gottfried

    March 28, 2008 1:38 pm

    I think because when I was younger, I’d spend hours staring at cover art, trying to figure out why/how it didn’t match up with what was inside.

  15. Ann

    March 28, 2008 4:01 pm

    I love trade paper backs, and i’m beginning to love large print (no, not because my age makes it hard to read smaller print- I’ve always been near sighted, it’s just getting bad enough that to get the book close enough to read, it’s too close to read with both eyes- sad, isn’t it? Cover art? doesn’t really influence me, unless it looks like it was drawn by a hyped up 6 year old (amatuer covers on a professionally produced book make me wonder about what’s inside). Have a great weekend. 🙂

  16. pussreboots

    March 28, 2008 5:00 pm

    I agree with you on the ebooks. I refuse to buy books that are ebooks only nor do I buy music that is download only. I like books to hold in my hands and CDs to put in my CD player. BR/BR/Happy BTT.

  17. Literary Feline

    March 28, 2008 9:08 pm

    I have a nice book cover that I used all of twice. When some bloke decided to heap the stereotypes on in commenting about my reading during my lunch break, I decided a worn corner from going in and out of my purse would be acceptable.BR/BR/I’m not sure how I feel yet about the new mass market paperback size. I haven’t read too many books in that format. I do prefer trade when it comes right down to it. Easier to hold.

  18. Susan Helene Gottfried

    March 28, 2008 9:31 pm

    No, Sarah, I actually LIKE e-books. I’m a huge fan of them. Just given the choice, I’d rather have print.

  19. Bob-kat

    March 30, 2008 6:10 am

    It’s amazing how, despite the fact that we all know we shouldn’t judge a book by a cover, that people seem to do so more today than they have ever done! The first thing i will notice about a book is it’s title. Now that can be the difference between me picking it up or not!BR/BR/I’m glad to say that have no quilted book covers so I must still be cool, phew! LOL!

  20. spyscribbler

    March 30, 2008 6:08 pm

    I wish more books were available as e-books! For a variety of reasons, I’m going mostly e-book soon.BR/BR/I hate those tall mass market books. Those are awful. I hate them, really hate them!BR/BR/Trade size are my favorite, too, but not my favorite price. :-(BR/BR/Hardcovers look pretty on the shelf, but they’re pain to read and carry around.

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