The opposite of “Cover Love”

For a long time now I have been sharing attractive book covers via my Cover Love series of blog posts.  You know… those books that have covers that attract the reader, make them pick the book up, read the blurb, etc.

For this post I’m sharing with you the very opposite.

In this post I’m sharing with you some of the covers that I would NEVER pick up on the basis of the cover alone.  Mind you, I would never be so superficial as to dismiss the book entirely, but it would take someone else’s recommendation or several superb reviews to entice me. Some of the following covers I find distasteful, some make me cringe, and some are just so-so, and do not appeal to me personally.  If there was a huge stack of books listed as free in a bookstore, these are ones I would NOT take home with me. I know that many of these are likely fine novels, and that some of them might even be spectacular novels, but they are ones that repel me and I would need coaxing to read if I only saw the cover.

As I said, if it was cover alone I would not pick these.  However, I realize that some of these books ARE good – some are already ON my TBR list.  Of course, sometimes it is the author’s name that attracts me to a novel. If I like the author’s work enough, I’d buy the book even if I hated the cover.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I also realize that beauty IS in the eye of the beholder.  For that reason I pose the following three questions:

  1. Do you find any of the above covers attractive enough that you would pick up the book?
  2. Do any of the above cover repel you?
  3. Have you read any of these books and liked it enough to recommend it to me? Why?

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Choosing what to read next, Dustjackets, ramblings & miscellanea and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to The opposite of “Cover Love”

  1. gregjolley says:

    Thank you, a very interesting insight into how covers influence. My publisher does mine (I do get a vote which they ignore, politely) and I understand the designing to be an interesting craft of art and marketing, which I leave to them. Like the interior designs, the covers are important and this was another good reminder.



  2. I have liked other John Green, so I could probably get past that cover. I don’t read much horror/thriller fiction, though, and I don’t think I would read any of those. I am pretty turned off by all the drowning doll heads!


  3. madbooklove says:

    Self-proclaimed cover snob here. I’ll often pick a book on its cover alone, so long as the genre is one that I know I enjoy. Conversely, I do struggle with books with ugly covers, if the author is new to me. I do actually find some of these covers appealing, including The Little Friend and All the Birds, Singing. What I really struggle with is cheap, unprofessional looking covers (Dead Like Me isn’t scary to me, just terribly done). Unfortunately, that puts me off of a lot of independent authors who do everything themselves for budgetary reasons, but don’t really have the full skillset to do the “packaging” part of it. Great post!


  4. Annie Romero says:

    Actually I found a few of these covers attractive enough. I really don’t put too much stock in covers, I would hate to miss out on a good read because I looked at it and didn’t want to read it. I am currently reading Dawn Langley’s book The Mourning Parade, I don’t even remember what I thought on the cover so I guess it didn’t make enough impact for me. But this is one of the best books I’ve read in a while.


  5. carhicks says:

    I am one of those people that are drawn in by covers. If I am doing a quick pick of books (used book sales, clearance tables) I go by the cover and I have missed out on some great reads and bought some pretty bad books. I am amazed at how ugly some covers can be. I have passed over books numerous times due to the cover and then had it recommended to me and love it. Just goes to show, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. skyecaitlin says:

    I don’t care for the covers. Lynne: however, I have many books that were sent to me to review that have unattractive covers, and yet, they get high reviews on GR’s. I imagine the adage does apply.


  7. I agree with this! Especially john Green’s new book! ( Yeah i forgot the name even though i just read it like 10 seconds ago)


  8. Annika Perry says:

    An excellent post, Lynne and you must have spent ages looking for all these! There seems to be a proliferation of women’s head in water for some reason. The first book struck me as I had to read the title and author through the garish orange scribble only to realise this is a John Green novel I haven’t heard of – hopefully, they’ll put a new cover on it soon! One I do want to read…I think!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Miss A says:

    NO they all look scary as hell 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bibliobeth says:

    Oh dear! Dead Like Me is just hideous! 😱 I would never pick that up! Great post Lynne.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Bree says:

    Eeeeek! Some of those covers are terrifying!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The only cover I like it the hatching one. However I never wanted to pick it up until the bloggers that I love gave it interesting reviews. Now I am planning to read it during the month of October. We will see if I end up liking it. Wonderful post matey.
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

  13. holy moly–you are so right. I wouldn’t have picked up any of them. that said, I must admit to having to read (and found delightful) more than one book I wouldn’t have touched because of the cover. and no, haven’t read any of the above–don’t plan to.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love this topic! To be honest, I’m put off by a lot of these cos they’re just too creepy for me 😉 Especially the sleeping doll. And I’m also totally freaked out by bugs- so actually though I think the Hatchling is a good cover and I’ve seen people recommending it- but I have no desire to read it cos *eww spiders* 😉


  15. delphini510 says:

    I would not pick up any of the books above and yes there are a couple that I find frightening.
    I find I react the same in book shops. Don’t judge by cover but surely the cover is meant to tell you
    What kind of story you can expect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cover of a book SHOULD hint at what type of story you can expect. Sadly though, I have found that this is not always the case. Several of the books I’ve listed are ones that I want to read. Thanks heavens I read on a Kindle so I won’t have to keep looking at the cover every time I pick them up. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Christine says:

    Lynne, I like the Black Sheep cover. Lots of the others do not draw me, but I do say 3 cheers for the originality of some of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I would not pick up any of these books based on the cover. They all repulse me to various degrees. I would not read them based on the fact I assume I would not like the content, and I would not like to see them laying in my side table either. Shallow? Probably…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I have to admit I was drawn to the cover of The Night Visitor and happily this turned out to be one of my books of the year.


  19. Some of these covers are just creepy! I would definitely turn away from them!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. We all view things so differently! I find most of these covers attractive and the fact that they are different attracts me. I’m currently really turned off by the covers with a woman in a brightly coloured coat with her back to you. There are so many of these covers now and I automatically assume I know exactly what they are going to be like … which I know I shouldn’t! Dying to Live is great and the cover fits in with the setting.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I confess that I do prefer to pick up books with beautiful covers and I’m definitely put off by certain covers. I really like the cover of The Night Visitor, partly because I love that shiny green beetle and I loved her previous book, The Other Child, a brilliant psychological thriller.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Naty says:

    I agree with all of them (except Moonglow)… they are quite un-enticing. The cover definitely helps when buying a book! Great post ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I have read ‘Dying to Live’, agreed the cover is a bit weird, the fact it is an Orenda book swayed me because I do tend to trust theirs. My thoughts here: 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The covers for Turtles All the Way down and The Driver actually seems okay to me,probably because the others are hideous!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. the hatching… *shudder*

    Liked by 1 person

  26. James McEwan says:

    Ah, the indiscernible world of the mysterious reader. Is it the book cover that draws them like moths? or: Is the author’s name a person they trust for a good story? Or perhaps are just lovesick fans of the genre. I am advised that a book cover should tell the complete story in one visual impact – So much for that theory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James often a book cover will entice me to pick up a book (or not as the case may be). That is the first step after all. Once you pick it up to investigate, then you can base your opinion on whether you’ll read it on other factors such as the blurb, the first page, etc.
      As I mentioned in my post, it is often the author that will draw me to a book, whether or not I find the cover attractive will be immaterial in those cases.
      My favorite types of covers DO tell the complete story in one visual impact – but I like those that the reader only realizes it AFTER they’ve read the book. Such was the case in a great title that I’ve read recently:

      Liked by 1 person

  27. M T McGuire says:

    There is a predominance of a certain type: big letters. I laughed at Liar because I read it first as Rail and Liar was the only word on that cover that I could make out so epic fail on that designer’s part. I could imagine the creepy ones would appeal to horror fans but to me this said the most about your cover and genre preferences. Big letters hold less appeal to me too because they normally say thriller which is quite … Meh to me. Then again, if I did this most of mine would be selected from the many hundreds in my genre (sff) which I believe are sexist and degrading to women. Yep all those chicks in leather jumpsuits with their back to you and bum in the air so they can show us the incredible pertness of their behinds. Shudders.

    I think it’s really interesting how personal cover likes and dislikes are. It just goes to show how hard it is to get them right as an author.



    Liked by 1 person

    • I too find it very interesting how personal cover likes and dislikes can be. Also, as you said, how much you can discern about the reader’s tastes as to genre etc. I do not read SF or fantasy, so would immediately stay away from covers with robots, dragons, spaceships, vampires, etc. I DO read some horror, but find that covers that are blatantly abhorrent do not draw me, rather I like covers that imply the horrific, but do not openly show it.
      I agree with your statements about many of the SF and graphic novel covers being sexist, and a completely inaccurate portrayal of women.

      Liked by 2 people

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