Booking Through Thursday

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.?

Ah, covers…. I’ve resigned to the fact that the overwhelming majority of covers has nothing at all to with the actual book. I’d like to say that a book’s cover doesn’t matter to me, but it does. If the cover has (semi)nude women in it, it will take at least twice the amount of recommendations to convince me that I should give the book a chance. Similarly with covers that have “warrior women” with distinctly phallus-like weaponry, no matter if it’s a gun or a sword. I’m also rather baffled by the trend to put semi-nude women to the covers of the urban fantasy books. These are primarily marketed to women, right? Instead of adolescent boys? Or are publishers really that desperate to attract male readers? And just what is the problem with a female readership, anyway? Money is money, no matter what the buyer’s sex is.

On the other hand, a quirky and colorful cover is more likely to attract my eye in a bookstore.

These days I also tend to shy away from books which are over 600 pages long unless they’re non-fiction. I also tend to read more paperbacks than hardcovers but that’s more of money issue than a real preference. In fact, hardcovers tend to have better font so if I had the money I’d probably be tempted to buy more hardcovers. Modifying the font is also one of the advantages of eBooks.

I don’t care for illustrations in books aimed at adults. Children’s books have pictures. Comic books have pictures. Putting pictures in an adult book usually flattens the mood to me.

So, a book’s design is more likely to affect whether or not I’ll read the book in the first place but not so much the reading experience itself.