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Dreadful Book Covers

Its's been a long time since I last did an edition of Dreadful Book Covers, but here's a new one for you: the cover of The Priest's Madonna, by Amy Hassinger. The book has gotten good reviews since it was published two years ago, but hasn't sold that well. Maybe because of the cover? The woman looks as though she's possessed!
So I guess I revive my old questions: do you think a cover makes or breaks a book? Do you ever purchase a book based solely on its cover? What kinds of covers usually catch your eye, if you're out browsing at a bookstore?


Serena said…
Wow, I'm sure I am not the only one that buys some books because the covers look fantastic. I often do this when I'm not looking for something specific. That cover is dreadful, and I don't think I would look at the book twice in the bookstore.
Meghan said…
I definitely think they have an effect. I'll buy a book on the strength of recommendations no matter what it looks like, but I think we're all drawn to the pretty covers in the bookstore. A nice cover will get me to look at a book and read the back to see if it's interesting; a plain one might not stand out from the shelf enough to warrant that. Doesn't mean the pretty book is good, but it will probably get more attention.

Covers stereotype the contents, so normally I can see at a glance what genre a work is in. So, I'm usually picking up the books with covers of women in fancy dress, their head just past the cover's range. I stay away normally from books that are pink. I don't really do much shelf-browsing, though.

And that is indeed a really ugly cover.

- medieval bookworm
Amanda said…
Oh I totally agree that a good or bad cover makes or breaks a book. I also hate it when a really awful book has a great cover or if a really good book has an awful cover. I also hate it when the book cover show the character(s) because I like imagining them.
Kristen M. said…
I seem to have an excessive number of books with black crow silhouettes on the covers. I think I will stop and look at a book with a cover like that. Or the lamppost, bridge and fog in any combination ...
I am turned off by neon-colored covers.
Ladytink_534 said…
Oh I agree, that cover is awful! I certainly wouldn't want to buy it. A book cover can "break" a book but it doesn't "make" it (for me at least).

Pretty covers that make me go "ooh" are usually some of the first I notice. Then the brightly colored ones.
Amy said…
I will admit, when I browse, I only pick up covers that appeal to me. I bought Pure just because it had daisies on the front!:) I also am really partial to butterflies on book covers...I am just drawn to them.

But since I have started book blogging, I am getting alot of reccomendations, which allow me to look beyond just what the cover looks like.
I think it it can but is probably dependent upon mood as well. Are you in a that-book-cover-is-so-ugly-let-me-see-what-it's-about-mood or does it just make you pass to the next thing? I am really pick about font and the size of the print. I won't buy a book I'm interested in because of the size of the lettering and I really don't like hard covers. If someone gives it to me I'll deal with it though, or if I have to read it for a book club.
teabird said…
When I see a cover that horrible, I wonder who the designer thinks she's attracting ?
Yikes - that is a scary cover.
I definitely look at the cover as a make or break deciding factor when purchasing a book. Covers are important. Of course if the author is one of my favorites, then I am willing to overlook the cover.
Nan said…
That cover is so unappealing. But then again, there are some covers that are beyond beautiful, and the inside just can't live up to it. A while ago, I did a little entry on this very thing. If you'd like to read it:
Bookfool said…
Wow, that is one scary-looking woman. Yes, covers do effect me. I don't want them to, but I'm swayed by a pretty cover or put off by an ugly one. In fact, a couple of months ago I passed up Divisidero by Michael Ondaatje . . . a book that has been on my wish list, since the day I first read about it . . . and bought The Blood of Flowers. Such a pretty cover. But, I was kicking myself around the room, when I got home. I adore Ondaatje's writing. I wanted to read Divisidero! I still haven't read The Blood of Flowers. Gorgeous cover, though. It looks great on my shelf.
Anonymous said…
The cover does matter. Not only does she look possessed, she creeps me out!

I have a weakness for covers with dogs on them. I picked up The Art of Racing in the Rain just because the labrador on the cover caught me eye!

Hate movie tie-in covers.
Alea said…
I saw this book in the bargain bins of Borders yesterday and thought of you!

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