Armchair BEA: Book Aesthetics

Day 2 of Armchair BEAΒ and it’s all about book aesthetics! (Read my introduction post here! Also, header image by the awesome Natalie Patalie!) Does the cover impact your choice of books? As a visual person, I absolutely fall into the category of judging a book by it’s cover. Case in point: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

Six of Crows March Book Reviews

I truly didn’t care if the story was good or not because the book itself is just so pretty. I absolutely adore it’s design. (Luckily, it’s also quite a good read!) I definitely think the look of a book impacts interest in it. When browsing a bookstore, if I don’t have a specific book in mind, I go entirely by the cover and design. If a book strikes my fancy visually, I’ll pick it up and read the blurb about it. If I like the blurb, there’s a decent chance I’ll buy it!

Obviously, aesthetics play an even bigger part in comics and graphic novels. Being a media that is carried as much by the visuals as the story, I have to like the art if I’m going to consider reading it. It’s one of the reasons I really don’t like it when the covers of trade volumes have different art than the inside. If I fall in love with the cover art style and the whole comic is completely different, that can be frustrating.

One of the biggest struggles I have when it comes to book covers is I almost always end up liking foreign versions better than the U.S. versions. For example, V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy:

On the left are the U.S. and on the right are the U.K. – I love the U.K. ones so much more! Blargh! And this happens all the time for me. One of the few instances where this wasn’t the case was the original Scholastic U.S. covers for the Harry Potter series; I liked the U.S. illustrations much more than the U.K. editions.

For me, I think the visuals of books have the biggest impact when I’m shopping in store for a book, as I mentioned above. And I do that rarely. Most of my book shopping is done via Amazon, purchasing books on my Goodreads TBR list. Visuals still play a part, but definitely a smaller one when I look at books online, even on Goodreads. I tend to go by the blurbs to see what the story is about versus being drawn in by the cover. So while I think design is still important, it becomes a lot less important to me in a e-book setting.

What are your thoughts about book aesthetics? Do they have a big impact on you?



  • Hahah I almost picked up A Darker Shade of Magic last week, just because I liked the cover!!

    • Kay

      I really, really liked it! (And the cover, haha) Definitely worth a read!

  • Kristina D

    I’m torn on the Schwab covers. I like them both, there is something about the US ones that just keeps my attention.

    • Kay

      I agree they are both good design!

  • That’s exactly the same for me. I usually look for kindle deals from my TBR shelf so the books are bought solely because of the story and the price πŸ™‚

    P.s. I prefer the UK covers of the books above too!

    • Kay

      So pretty, right? πŸ™‚ Sometimes it’s kind of nice not to have the distraction of covers when looking online – definitely let’s you choose solely based on content which is nice!

  • Oh, I totally judge books by their cover, even with ebooks! If it has a bad cover, I probably won’t bother downloading it unless a lot of people are recommending it. Not sure why since I rarely get to see the cover when I’m reading an ebook:P But I can DEFINITELY see a major appeal for physical books with pretty covers<3

    • Kay

      I haven’t browsed e-books in so long since my physical TBR shelf is never ending, but I feel like I completely disregard covers and I don’t really know why! I guess it’s because like you said, I’ll rarely be seeing the cover once it’s bought, so I don’t have to think twice about what the cover will look like!

      • Yeah, there’s really no reason for me to dismiss ebooks based on an ugly cover, haha. I think that since I mostly browse Goodreads before buying an ebook, I see the covers and just think that if the cover sucks, the book probably will too! I’ve definitely read some books with really pretty covers that ended up totally sucking though, so I need to reexamine my methods:P

  • I can count the number of times I’ve picked a book up based on the cover on one hand, I think (at least in my adult life – I was much easier swayed as a child). That does not mean I don’t appreciate pretty cover art, and it definitely doesn’t mean that I aren’t ecstatic whenever an amazing book is matched by an amazing cover (or that I occasionally don’t go hunting after a pretty version of a book I already know that I love), but I think I’ve just learnt the hard way that pretty books often burn you the most, haha.

    • Kay

      It is SO true. I definitely won’t buy based on the cover alone, but it certainly helps me get it in my hand for a look. However, if the premise doesn’t sound promising, I’m just not going to snag it no matter how pretty. And sometimes, even if it DOES sound interesting, it is still a flop!

  • Ari Carr

    I am totally with you! Good cover art always makes me want to know more and check out the blurb.

    • Kay

      For sure!

  • I totally judge a book by it’s cover! If I’m in a bookstore, I always go for the book whose cover I like first and then read the blurb on the back. I hate when I pick up a book that looks cool and then get disappointed by the blurb!

    • Kay

      Same! Good cover certainly doesn’t equal good book, that’s for sure!