Monday, March 03, 2008

Judging A Book By Its Cover (You Know You Do)

Tonight was book group which as usual was lovely though sadly Kaylord had a bad cold. The book was ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ which we all agreed (bar ME – such a bloke tut) was fantastic, if a little too long and a little too clever for its own good sometimes e.g. when Ann Boleyn says to Jane Seymour ‘I hope you die in child birth’. I mean come on, isn’t that a little contrived? We loved it though; well you know I did as I went Tudor mad for a week or so. The venue was fabulous too, it was the Café in the Crypt at St Martin’s near Trafalgar Square and the food was lovely.

As we always do (bar poorly and her man) Muffintop, Fimmy and I all went to Borders (its open until 11 hallelujah) to get the next book (Cormac McCarthy ‘The Road’) which is where my little rant will begin after I saw this…I cannot stand books with film covers. I don’t know where this small rage has started and built up and built up I just cannot stand them. The thing is I am not alone; we had been discussing ‘Chocolat’ after I was raving about the film to everyone, yet I haven’t read the book. Muffintop said ‘I nearly bought that once but it had the film cover on the front and I didn’t want Johnny Depp feeding whatserface Chocolate like it was his phallus in front of my face on the tube’. And it’s true we do care about what people think of what we are reading even subconsciously, more of that in a minute.

From a marketing perspective I can understand that people might want to be seen reading the latest movie but why with a horrid vile cover, they are always so glossy it’s sickly. But then it cant be working as people aren’t buying them like people would, as you can see from the picture they are half price, and this annoyed me even more, where as the original covered version wasn’t. That’s madness!…Back to the idea of book covers on the tube.

I randomly had this discussion when I was interviewing Brit & Alex, they had read ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and I made a joke of bet people know I am a puff reading that on the tube with its golden swirly writing and bodices. It’s true though. I always look at what people are reading. I mean if I saw someone reading a Mills & Boon I would automatically start making assumptions about them (not necessarily bad ones – I have read a few, shush don’t tell anyone) or if I saw someone reading a mammoth book on war I would do the same.

The same goes for my bookshelves too. I want fabulous covers that make everyone want to read the books I own, not the latest Hollywood star. I know authors feel the same in fact Stella Duffy did a blog about how important the shape of the key was on her cover and what images of London to use. I have bought books based on covers before, we all have. I have also not bought books for the same reason and quite possibly missed out on some gems.

People say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but sorry in the literary sense… frankly I do! Right, rant over!

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