27 March 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Cover-Up

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.?
Since I get almost all my books from the library or the Bookfest, I can’t afford to be picky about covers. I have a few that are awful (like a Georgette Heyer featuring the clothing and hairstyles of the 1970s); but when it’s a choice between taking a bad cover or not having the book, I’ll choose the bad cover. I’m sure I have been attracted to a book by its cover (although I can’t think of any examples right now), and I’m equally sure I’ve rejected perfectly good books because of atrocious design. And while I do love curling up with a beautiful book, I’m far more interested in what’s on the inside!

I almost always read softcovers for convenience, because they’re lighter and more portable; but I do like small hardbacks from about fifty years ago, with fancy gold embossing on the covers. They’re only a little bigger than a mass-market paperback, which is what I prefer for ease of holding and carrying. As for font - it only has to be readable! Fortunately my close-up vision is good so even small print is manageable.

7 comments:

  1. I'm wondering if one of the reasons that I don't pay much attention to covers is because I almost always get my books from the library and as you say in those circumstances you simply can't afford to be choosy. It also has to do with the fact that I respond to aural rather than visual stimuli, but I think there is something in the library issue as well.

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  2. Yes its what's on the inside that counts but outside beauty is appreciated :)

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  3. Yes, it's what's 'between the covers' ;)that counts. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

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  4. inktree10:50 AM

    Covers only matter to me when there's more than one edition of a book on the shelf - then I'll choose the most fabulous. When I was really young, though, I based all of my book selections on how super cool the cover was - but that's how I discovered Neil Gaiman, so it wasn't all bad.

    Quick question, as I am an utter n00b - how do you get columns on both sides of your posts? Does it have to do with blogger vs blogspot?

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  5. I think what's inside is most important too. I've also been known to avoid a book with an atrocious cover. At least until someone gives it a rave review and can make me look past the bad cover art.

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  6. It's all about old school hardbacks, I forgot about them! I am a paperback girl as well, just easier and lighter to carry about.

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  7. Table Talk: The only thing that deters me from borrowing a book I want is if it's a large hardback and I'm out of carry space!

    Alix: It is! I'm quite fond of my best-looking books.

    Chris: I probably should have thought of that one myself...

    Sarah: Good covers can be useful that way.

    The three-column format was achieved through trial and error - mostly error! I tinkered offline with a spare copy of the template until I got it right. I don't know how well I'm going to explain this, but: You need to find the sections of code for the sidebar (in the header and the body) and duplicate them using a different title.

    If that doesn't make sense, my best advice is to make a spare copy of your template and change things at random - one at a time - to learn what does what.

    Literary Feline: A good book review can overcome a lot!

    Rhinoa: I've begun limiting myself to slim hardbacks, because I'd be lost without a book to read on the train!

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776