Don’t judge a book by its cover

Having a warehouse (er, basement) full of books for Polka Dot Creations puts me in a position to observe the relationship between a nice looking cover and the content inside the book.  I’ve seen a fair amount of awful covers in my time, and while sometimes the book itself is truly awful, often the content is just fine.

You would think that when it comes to art and craft books that the publishers would take extra care to make the covers aesthetically-pleasing.  After all, if they are targeting craftspeople, then they are marketing to a group that is highly visual by its very nature.  We want to be wowed and enticed, don’t we?

This is probably the least attractive book to cross my desk in a while.  And, really, it’s such a shame!  Christi Friesen is one of the funniest, most creative people I’ve met.  Her self-published project books have very nicely-done cover art, and are entertaining reads even for those of us who are not really into sculpting.  If I knew nothing of CF, this book cover would not entice me to learn more. And it would be my loss!

The pages of this book are full of the humor and creativity one would expect from a CF publication.   Jewelry and home decor projects featuring leaf & flower, creature, human, and sea motifs are presented in CF’s signature style, with wit, clarity, and encouragement.  It’s a very nice book.

I wonder how many people have looked at the cover and just moved on to the next book on the shelf.

I wonder what could be done to improve the first impression of this book.

I wonder if any of you would like a free copy of this fun title.

Oh, you would, would you?  Well, I just happen to have one to give away to a random commenter.  Leave a comment on this post, and if you can, tell me about a favorite art/craft book and how the cover art factored into your first impressions.

I’ll select a random winner after Noon on Wednesday.

18 thoughts on “Don’t judge a book by its cover

  1. wow, I am amazed that Christie would have a cover like that. Oiks! I love her books just for the “read” and have them all….well all except this one 😀 Count me in on the drawing.

  2. It’s a great point you make, Lisa. I design books for a living and buy many myself and an uggle cover would absolutely get a pass from me. I would assume the makers of the book had nothing of value to offer me if they couldn’t know enough to design a visually enticing cover.

    A book’s interior design has got to be great too.

    Whenever I see these terrible covers on good content, I’m always tempted to design a great cover for it and put it online to gauge the difference in sales good looks can make. I wonder if it would?

  3. I just took my bimonthly visit to Borders still waiting for the new PCC to get on the shelves. Lately they haven’t had any new PC books, but I looked, only because I was in that section looking for some woodworking books for hubby. I saw Donnas new book and the cover grabbed me. Now of course her hubby is to thank for that, but still it was big, graphic and being down on the bottom shelf of the bookcase and in not so great light, it got my attention.
    I took it over into the cafe, flipped through a few pages and fell in love and bought it. I don’t buy all that many PC books like that but I guess you could say the cover was half the sell, and what got me to look in the first place! And I love the book, haven’t been able to put it down since!

    See what Kate has been blogging about: Parmesan Cheese Shaker Tomatoes and Herbs

  4. You’re right. Covers are really important. I tend to go for pleasing colors and certain words can catch my eye. For instance, I just love the cover of the craft book “Retro Crafts”. The word “retro” caught my eye and the colors are very cool. If I’m interested in a certain subject, I’ll thumb through just about anything, but I have been known to fall for beautiful cover art. 🙂

  5. covers are a hard one. i think we do the same thing with people too. it is just in our ‘nature’ i guess. there was a art journaling book at barnes&nobles. can’t remember much, but love it….weirdish artsy front.

    See what becky has been blogging about: Distraction—again

  6. Oy, what a mess! I think maybe it’s the purple background that makes it so, well, gag worthy. Of course, looks like nearly every word is a different font…

  7. I have to agree about the title/cover art… I think I’d probably pass over it. I remember the first time I saw Carol Blackburn’s “Making Polymer Clay Beads”- the cover is sparse, but I just kept saying, “I want to try this one, and this one, and this one!” and couldn’t wait to open the book and dive in. I would love to see what Christie has in store INSIDE…. thanks for the cool blog and giveaway!
    -Jenny at CraftTestDummies.com

    See what Jenny has been blogging about: Craft Product Review- Radiant Rains by LuminArte

  8. You kind of want to write a letter: “Dear book publishers: your focus is the art, not your rudimentary photoshop skills and collection of perky fonts.” Alas, I lack a book cover story, unless you count looking at your post here, going “huh” with total disinterest, then reading your review and thinking “I do a lot of polymer sculpture but I’ve never read a thing about it… ooo!”

    See what Corvus has been blogging about: Earl

  9. My very first polymer book was a first edition of Donna Kato’s Art of Polymer Clay. I thought the cover was uninspiring, but I really wanted to work with clay.

    That book was so full of information… after that, I stopped vetoing PC books because I didn’t find the cover art appealing.

  10. WoW! I saw that book at a shop and did not realize who’s book it is! bad Cover!! I just passed it and went to the next book!
    Mary-Ruth

  11. I also agree, as a graphic designer myself i almost instantly decide which book to choose by it’s cover, this is done without thinking, i am drawn to the book by it’s color and design…

    thanks Lisa for the gift, Christi is so nice – i love her books and she is such a funny persona…:)

    See what iris mishly has been blogging about: Polymeri Online 5.3.09

  12. Hi Lisa, I totally agree, a very unappealing cover. I often buy books (of any kind) based on what the cover says to me. Books are such tactile objects and if the cover doesn’t make you want to pick them up then it’s not doing its job.

  13. I looooooooooooooooooooooove her books. She is a hoot and a half! I tend not to judge books by cover and flip through to make my final decision. I have purchased books with great, appealling covers, and some without. So count me in to the commenters! Good luck to all of us, great topic!!

  14. A books cover is something that will get my attention at first, but I do take time to thumb through it before I make a purchase….I too love DK’s book covers!…and I’m tickled pink to finally get to take a class of Christi’s next month in Indy!….Melanie:)

    See what Melanie has been blogging about: Weeping Willow and Ice Storm 2009

  15. Pingback: Polka Dot Cottage Delusions of Springtime (and a winner!)

  16. hi lisa, WOW i love her books and her work. i would love to have her book.i always go to site and check out what she has done. i do look at the covers to sometimes make my decision whether to buy or not. This one got my attention when i ran across it. i usually look thru the book before i buy as well but when you can’t you just have to go on the artist work they have already done. in this case it’s a winner to me. thank-you lynn watts

  17. I DID pass up on this book, Lisa, for just that reason. I think Amazon may have sent me notice on it when it came out and I couldn’t be bothered to check it out! We visuals need CANDY . . . eye candy!

What do you think about that?