This week’s question comes from Julie, who asks:

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.?

Usually, it is the author's name that will catch my attention of a book, regardless if it is a hardcover or softcover, trade paperback or mass market paperback. If it is my favourite author, I will buy the hardcover because I know I just can't wait for the paperback to be released later although I still think mass market paperback is my perfect choice because it is lighter and easier to carry around. In my opinion, hardcover is more like a collector's item that one treasures and admires. I am not particular with the font printed on the bookcover though, because most of them are big and some even have it embossed, but it does take away my reading pleasure if the entire book is printed in small fonts as I don't want to spend most of my time squinting my eyes, especially not fun when I am reading in the late evening. It is very bad for the eyes since I am already myopic.

As for illustrations, I am not that particular about it although I have to admit I will most likely pick up an eye-catching cover if I am not familiar with the author. That said, I'd still pick up the other books out of curiosity though, since I don't want to risk the chance of missing any good books just in case.

26 Responses
  1. Juli Says:

    Hey! Thanks for visiting my blog. I thought I was the only one up! I forgot about author's name. Your're rigth...that grabs my eye too.

    i like your reading challeng addict icon. care if i grab it?


  2. Melody Says:

    Juli, thanks for visiting mine too. :)

    Sure, go ahead and grab the button. It's cute, isn't it? FYI, I found it here. ;)

  3. Anonymous Says:

    "I don't want to risk the chance of missing any good books just in case."
    I know the feeling... That's also the reason I (almost) never walk past a bargain table of books without stopping. :) You just never know!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    It's an interesting point you make about authors. If it is an author I know I might think that they've made a mistake with the cover, but I will still pick the book up. If, on the other hand, it's someone I've never heard of I'm less likely to give the book a second glance.

  5. BooksPlease Says:

    I agree with you. I buy books by authors I like regardless of the cover and I can't stand small fonts - it hurts my eyes!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    It is so rare that I get hardbacks, like you say they are to be admired and I treasure those I do own. I wait patiently (ok not patiently) for the paperback edition to come out. I am tempted to cave though on a few books at the moment. Charles de Lint has 3 new books out/due out and no release date yet for the paperback copy. I am also really excited about the new Black Jewels book by Anne Bishop and am not sure I can wait another year for the paperback..

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I also pick up books mostly because of the author's name or lots of recommendations. But if a favourite author would suddenly have an awful cover I'd think twice if I would buy it. I don't want to encourage the publisher to think that a bad cover "sells". :) I think it's a very bad trend when I have to get a book despite it's cover instead of because of the cover.

  8. Debi Says:

    Oh, I agree...I HATE small fonts!

  9. Amy Says:

    Font is probably the only thing I am picky about. :)

  10. trish Says:

    I totally forgot about the font of the title. I love love love an embossed title! I'll touch it over and over... :-)

  11. Jane Says:

    I have lots of hardcovers but I have switched to paperbacks because they take up less room and I can slip them in my purse if I'm going somewhere. I do change my mind when they are selling off the hardbacks for 6.00 while the new paperback is 14.95!

  12. Jeane Says:

    I'll always buy the hardcover of a favorite author, too. Sometimes I feel really disappointed though, when my favorite books have crummy art on the covers. It's almost an insult to a great book!

  13. Sya Says:

    I agree with buying a favorite author regardless of format. If a book is by someone whose stories and style are something that I enjoy, book design--whether it's art or just abysmal--is irrelevant.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Loud, garish covers are a big no, no! I like simpled uncluttered ones. And fonts should be reader friendly!

  15. Ana S. Says:

    I agree with you when it comes to hardcovers/paperbacks... my favourite formate is definitely mass market paperback.

    A pretty cover is more likely to get my attention if the book is not familiar to me too. Sometimes after a few minutes with the book in my hands I realize that it's not for me, but at least it did make me pick it up and take a look.

  16. pussreboots Says:

    I am more willing to pick up and read any book at a place like the library but when I'm buying a new book I'm more likely to be drawn in by a beautifully designed cover. Happy BTT.

  17. Kim L Says:

    great answers! I agree, names do catch my attention. I'm usually patient enough to wait for a paperback, because I don't like the heavy paperbacks (except on the shelf to look pretty)

  18. I am quick to snatch up a favorite author's book too, sometimes even in hardback if I'm feeling too impatient. Lately though it hasn't done me any good because the books are still on my shelf unread and now they're starting to come out in paperback. I'm too slow of a reader, I think.

  19. Melody Says:

    Jennifer - I don't think any of us booklovers will say no to booksales, hehe.

    TableTalk - If I'm not familiar with the authors, I'll not give my full attention unless the cover grabs my attention. I'll still see to the books but that will be after I've checked out the rest of the books that I'm more familiar with. ;)

    Booksplease - If the fonts are too small, I'd give it a miss and hope that the next edition will be better.

    Rhinoa - I rarely buy hardcovers unless they're from my favourite authors, partly because they're so expensive and hard to read! Oh, I can't wait for the next Black Jewels book to release too! I'm excited just thinking about it. ;P

    Mervi - It'd be a pity if my favourite author's book has a bad cover, but I'll still buy it. I don't want to miss reading it just because of its cover.

    Debi - Small fonts is a big no-no to me. I'm glad to say most of the books I have have the usual standard fonts... just nice for my reading.

    Amy - Me too. I can tolerate other things but not when the print is too small!

    Trish - I've a thing with embossed titles. I think they make the book looks classy and elegant.

    Jaimie - I don't bring hardcovers around because they're so heavy! I only read them at home. And of course I'd jump at the chance if they have a promotion for the hardcovers... I wouldn't want to miss that since it is worth the price.

    Jeane - I agree it'd be a real pity if a good book has a bad cover. The only thing I can hope for is they'll change the cover if they consider having the book reissued.

    Sya - I'm with you. The contents is still the most important thing when it comes to the books though...

    Gautami - I agree loud garish covers will spoil the look/feel of a good book, but nothing is worse than having small prints!

    Nymeth - Mass market paperbacks are so much easier to read and carry... I wouldn't want to bring along a hardcover anywhere I go!

    Pussreboots - I totally understand. I don't mind reading any formats with library books, but nowadays I hardly go to the libraries anymore...

    Kim - I wish I've the patience to wait for the paperbacks from my favourite authors! But most of the times I always gave in to it...*sigh* Definitely no good to my wallet, hehe.

    Wendy - I haven't read some of the hardbacks from my favourite authors too! *blush* It's hard when I keep on adding books to the pile... guess I need to kick off this habit but it's getting so hard. ;P

  20. Very true! The author gets my attention first.

  21. Alice Says:

    Hi Melody, surprisingly when I buy used books from, I usually get nice hardbacks (but they're older titles, of course). :)

    I don't mind the size of the fonts but I do prefer bigger ones, or rather, normal ones. LOL.

    I kind of hoard books, you know, just in case I missed out any goodies. LOL. Like just a moment ago, I downloaded a free full novel from Scott Sigler. It's a horror/thriller to be launched on April 1. You can get the book from the link in my bloggie too. :)

  22. Melody Says:

    Chris - Glad to hear most of us share the same thoughts. :)

    Alice - I'm glad to hear offer nice hardbacks. As long as the book is still in good condition, I don't even mind if it is an older title. And thanks for sharing the link, I'll check it out later. :D

  23. Julia Says:

    Sorry am late in responding to this. I've been too busy lately.

    Author's name usually catch my attention too. But sometime even a eye catching covers or attraction cover, doesn't always make me pick up the book. Because what you see on the cover, isn't what you see inside the book. So it make me feel I waste my money. I learn my lesson long ago...

  24. Melody Says:

    No prob, Julia. I understand.

    Oh yes, I too was disappointed with some titles with attractive covers too a few times. But then, they had done a good job in catching my attention in the first place. ;)

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Almost a week late in my response but I hope it's better late than never...

    Author's names are really big in my choice. I have a few favorite authors and I tend to grab anything by them, no matter what form the book comes in. I also tend to stick to mass markets, if for no other reason than it is much harder to keep a hardback book in my purse! As for fonts, I am all for not further damaging my sight so tiny fonts are less than desirable.

  26. Melody Says:

    Aria, thanks for visiting. :)
    I'm glad to hear we share the same thoughts.

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