“Don’t judge a book by its cover”, we’re often told, exhorted to this in its metaphorical sense. Yet, that is what publishers are constantly urging us to do literally, judge a book by its cover, to buy it, or to borrow it from the library.
Covers today are colourful, often embossed. Publishing is a very competitive world. Some covers are artistic abstract interpretations of the books themes, some are photographs suitable for the story, some are paintings of the setting.
Along with the title, the cover must have a deep personal appeal to a prospective reader so that he or she will pick it up, read the blurb, perhaps read a few paragraphs, check the price and hopefully go to the cashier.
Books in my parents’ bookshelves were very sombre.
There were a few paperbacks but most were hardback cloth and there were a few leather bound volumes. These included the Bible and their personal hymn books.
Dickens’ volumes were all in the same dark green hardboard with pressed gold headings. My mother had a collection of Georgette Heyer with extravagantly dressed ladies and gentlemen on the dust jacket.
I have noticed a current trend to have in paperbacks the face of a young woman half turned from the front, gazing back over a landscape. These look very romantic and I am usually put off by them.
However, I’ve come to learn that this is just a publishing fashion and have found thought provoking books lurking therein such as ‘The War Bride’ and ‘The Women’s Pages’ which I have reviewed for Book Club.
The Penguin Classics, in their orange and white simplicity, give a browser no clue. But, of course, the browser has had at least heard of the author or title, haven’t they?
The War Bride, The Women’s Pages and the Penguin Classics range are are all available from Dymocks.