Saturday, 9 August 2008

Judging a book by its cover

A while ago, I was in a book shop and I saw a row of the most beautiful Agatha Christie novels. Now, I do dearly love Ms Christie, and her ingenious plots never fail to delight me. However in average her stories take me no more than a day to read, and with the surprise at the end being the key ingredient of a Christie novel, I rarely reread them. Even so, these book covers were so beautiful, and complemented each other so perfectly, that for one second, I was tempted to buy them anyway.

Such is the power of a good book cover. Whilst a bad cover will very rarely put me off a book I want to read (except when the cover is an image of a female body part; it's screamed to me 'unoriginal chiclit' ever since reading this article), a book with a beautiful cover is powerfully alluring, often irrestistable. A hardback book may seem like a waste of money, even cumbersome when you want to carry your book around but it adds a specialness to it, especially when it was a gift. For my birthday, I received this stunning anthology of poems; anthologies are the perfect candidates for special book covers because you're not likely to want to read a couple of poems on the tube.

In fact, browsing the page on the Penguin website for inspirational gifts, I want to immediately buy every single over-priced box set - NOW!


  1. I would genuinely appreciate a hard-cover book like this for a gift. The hard-cover elevates the book from "book" to "gift." It's beautiful, too, as you point out. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. I love the idea of just buying by the cover. It reminds me of a thing in the sunday NYT once about buying wine by the look of the label, an entirely fun, if irreverent way of shopping. And hey, books can look good on a shelf:)