Cover, premise or blurb? discussion

I have lately been thinking about the marketing behind a book, and what matters the most to me when I decide to buy a book. Is it the cover, the premise or blurbs?

I’ll first just quickly define it all, because I have seen some getting confused by it: the cover is obviously how the book is designed, how it looks. The premise is a resume of the book, a little text that describes some of the storyline. Blurbs are quotes from news papers, blogs and authors telling what they thought of the book.

The question is then, when you are browsing a bookstore, what is the thing that convinces you to pick up and buy a book?

The cover is totally irrelevant, when it comes to whether a book is good or not. It does, however, decide whether or not I will pick the book up from the shelf. If the book is the ugliest book to man kind, or if the cover looks like a cover from a genre I am not interested in, I simply won’t pick it up. It might have an amazing premise and impressive blurbs, but it doesn’t matter I’ll never know. If the cover, however, is average, it might look interesting I will go further and the back will decide whether or not I will buy it. If the cover is the most beautiful cover in the history of books, the text on the back will still matter, but it might not matter as much as it does with the decent covers. So for me the cover has a decisive factor. It does deselect many books, but in the majority of the time it isn’t what settle my final decision.

Then we have the text on the back, which can be filled with blurbs or a premise of the book and sometimes even both. I must be honest and say that I rarely just pick random books up at the bookstore. What I buy is 90% of the time based on a recommendation from one of you or one of my friends. I am therefore not used to basing what I read on the premise of the book, but on someone I trusts opinion. I also think that is the reason why the blurbs matter so much more to me than the premise does. If some of my favorites authors or a well-known blogger/booktuber says they like it, I am sold.

The premise of course matters as well. ‘A teenager who falls in love with a vampire?’ Forget it. It doesn’t matter whose blurb is on that back, I won’t read it. With other books, the premise doesn’t determine that much. I feel like so many plots sounds more or less alike, so the premise doesn’t really tell you if it is a unique story or just one in the row. ‘A boy who discovers magic is real?’ Well, that could be Harry Potter aka. fucking fantastic or just another book in the row. In those cases I would need amazing blurbs to convince me (or perhaps a stunning cover). Some plots, however, sounds absolutely unique and amazing. You can hear from the premise alone, that it is something special. In those cases blurbs aren’t needed, in those cases the premise speaks for itself.

So to sum up my thoughts on this, the cover is the first thing I see, I never pick the ugly ones up. It matters but it isn’t the important part. The premise eliminates some options, and highlights others. The blurbs are in most cases, the important part, and decides whether or not I will read it. Every part of the book can, however, be so fantastic and make the other parts total indifference, except if it is a) such an ugly book, I’ll never pick it up or b) the premise makes me know I won’t like the plot.

What are your views on this? How do you pick out books at the bookstore? Do you agree with me or it is other things that matter?



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  1. Great post – I’m always curious abiut how fellow readers pick their books, as well. For myself, all three plays a role, I think. I like random bookstore browsing, so the cover definitely needs to grab my eye. Because I like to display my books, and I am a lover of pretty things, I need to really love that cover. The premise is equally important, though, since there are usually more than one cover edition (thank goodness!), so even if the cover fails, the premise will likely cause me to make a mental note of the title. As for blurbs…it is a tricky one. I am usually intrigued if a title is declared “fantastic, etc” by the blurb, and the cover and premise fits the bill. But I do always keep in mind that opinions are very individual . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you you make some good points! And same, nice covers totally makes me want to read a book it generally plays a much bigger role than many admits. It’s nice to see he different opinions are on this, good thing publishers do it all!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For me the premise plays the most important part, followed by the cover. I almost never read blurbs and think it looks ugly if too many are included. If an author I know of says something good about a book then that’s all well but it has little to no impact on whether or not I’ll read the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree. The cover is often a first deciding factor. At the very least, the cover should give a sense of the genre of the book and the tone. Is it dark, romantic, funny, fluffy, epic, etc.? I’ve passed on some books accidentally because the cover totally made me think a fantasy was a contemporary or whatever. But after that, it’s all about the premise. I don’t care about blurbs at all. In some sense, I know authors are obligated (or feel obligated) to write them, and often they’re so vague you can’t really tell whether the person read the book. (I’m sure they did, but if the blurb is just like “An amazing read!” that doesn’t really tell me anything.)

    Liked by 1 person

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