What if Books Didn’t Have Covers?

5 May, 2015 / 16 Comments


What if books weren’t covered with that glossy beautiful image around them?  What if books just had a blank front and back (like just plain black or something)?  Or what if they didn’t have anything protecting the words on the pages and the “cover” was just the first page of the book?  Do you think there would be as many readers?  Do you think it would affect the types of books you pick up?  What if all books looked like the following?
Closed Black Book clip art

I have a feeling that if books didn’t have covers, we would choose our books differently.  I’ve mentioned previously that I think Young Adult books typically have prettier covers than Adult books, so my eye is always drawn to YA over Adult.  This is frustrating because I want to read more Adult books, but the YA covers just pull me in and I can’t help myself!  So, I think if a book didn’t have a cover, it would change which books we choose to pick up.  Then, we would be merely selecting our books based on the synopsis/author.  No more browsing in a bookstore and seeing a pretty cover, then picking it up to see what it’s all about.

I think the way we shop for books would change as well.  I think part of the FUN of shopping for books would be removed.  Isn’t it fun to browse a bookstore just looking at all the pretty covers?  I think so.  I bet a lot of people would go on Goodreads or some other online source to discover books that sounded interesting, or books by a favourite author, then go out to buy said book.  There would be no more getting distracted by a particular cover of a book in a book store.  There would be no more leaving the bookstore with way more books than you anticipated purchasing.  There would be no more fun when shopping for books!  Don’t you agree?

Sales might even go down if there were no book covers!

I know that this will (likely) never happen.  It’s just a random thought I had and thought it would be fun to discuss!

Share your story: What do you think would happen if books didn’t have covers?  Do you think book sales would go down?  Would your shopping habits change?  Tell me your thoughts on this odd idea that popped into my head!

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Posted 5 May, 2015 by Sam in Books, Discussions / 16 CommentsTags: ,

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16 Responses to “What if Books Didn’t Have Covers?”

  1. OMG!! What a great topic idea! I would not buy so many books that’s for sure. I would say 50% of the books on my shelf right now were purchased solely based on the cover. I have no idea what they are about until I open to the first page. Yess!!! I judge books based on covers. LOL! I would also not be drawn to read some great books. I think the covers sell the books. Great topic! 🙂

  2. Justin

    Very interesting topic. While we all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we all do it anyway. Just think how many great books we pass over due to an ugly/boring cover, and all the not so great ones we’ve slogged through just because we were draw in by an interesting cover. It would be a fun experience to go into a book store where all the book covers were just the title, and you had to actually read the summary on the back to learn what the book is about.

    • Sam

      True! It would definitely change the way we buy books! Who knows? We might choose more books that we’re actually into, instead of just books that look pretty!

  3. Oh I love this! Such a creative topic! And seriously, we would buy FAR fewer books I think. Because the fun of shopping would be almost non existent! Plus, I think a cover on some level tells you what to expect. I mean, a vampire novel won’t have a bouquet of flowers and a rainbow on the cover, etc. And collecting books would NOT be nearly as fun! 😉

    • Sam

      Totally! It wouldn’t be as exciting collecting all the books of a favourite series. I love putting my favourite series on display; that would be no more!

  4. I love book covers! I’ve been known to buy a more expensive edition just because I prefer the cover. I would be so sad if all covers looked the same. That said, when I download e-books these days a lot of times they have a generic cover (and my reader is black and white, so even those with designs are a bit monotonous). Give me a beautiful hardcopy book to sit on my shelf and I will just enjoy looking at it all day long.

    • Sam

      True! Hey, maybe if physical copies ever stop being made, books won’t have covers anymore because they aren’t as necessary on eReaders.

  5. I definitely love book covers, love finding the prettiest edition of a book, and love loading my shelves with all the different colors and designs, so if every book was a uniform black, I would be pretty depressed. And libraries and bookstores would be totally overwhelming! And so much PRESSURE would be placed on the back cover blurb! (Which, I almost always find the back cover blurbs super cheesy and not usually indicative of the book itself.)

    That being said, it might make people more likely to judge books based on the writing of the opening pages, which can only be a good thing — it would encourage everyone to open the book and read a few sentences, which usually leads to reading a few more!

  6. I know the old saying is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the cover is part of marketing–there’s a strategy behind each cover and I love looking at covers and guessing what they’re trying to convey. Covers aren’t just some thing we should ignore to get to the words, but oftentimes beautiful works of art. I would be quite sad if all books looked the same! And then we would just go to judging the book by its title or its synopsis, so we wouldn’t have gained much.

  7. Ooh, very neat idea, and an excellent point for discussion! I’m really intrigued by this idea and love how it really takes off in thoughts, away from the original source. One of my favourite things about discussion posts, that.
    So. I have found some of my favourite books because I noted the design on their spine, or saw their cover- it’s a big drawcard, is all about making you take note. The interesting idea of no longer having covers is something I… hope never to experience personally, but would like to see taken further in a novel! That could be done really well. I thikn sales would really take a hit, for sure, and I also think reading would possibly be more active, with less distractions to your tbr (maybe we’d even conquer them), but it would be a little less fantastical, even if we didn’t realise it.

  8. I adore a gorgeous cover. I totally agree that YA books tend to have much more appealing covers and I gravitate towards them immediately. That and historical fiction. They usually have really striking covers as well. I do love both of those genres though so it’s not like I’m sad that I’m drawn in by the cover.

    If there were no covers, it would have to come down to the blurb on the back and recommendations. I think it would help us to pick a wider range of books if you didn’t have anything visual to base your choice on. It would also level the playing field for books that have less than great covers. It would take the fun out of browsing all the pretty books at the store or on Goodreads though. I’ve found a lot of great books based on cover alone. Having to read the back of every book before I have any idea what it is would take a lot of time!

  9. I agree, great topic! I love a pretty cover too, but since I mostly use an ereader, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the cover. I also do think book sales would be affected if there were no covers.

  10. That’s an interesting topic! I admit book covers play a big part in my choosing what books to buy and read. I think if books don’t have covers, it’ll be harder to choose between them because then we would “really” have to read the blurb, right? So we’ll likely choose the ones that really interest us versus picking a book just because the cover’s so gorgeous. 🙂 It’ll definitely affect book sales because a lot of readers hoard books because they look good on the shelf. 🙂

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