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  1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    what is the very FIRST thing you notice about a book?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cacian, Nov 15, 2011.

    that you see on a shelf or a table or a shop window?
     
  2. FoxPaw
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    FoxPaw Senior Member

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    The cover.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Yep. The artwork, the author and the title, usually in that order. Along with how long it is.

    If that grabs me, then I'll read the blurb, and possibly the first few pages.
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    ah.
    so would you say this expression applies:

    do you judge a book by its cover?
     
  5. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    how do you mean by how long it is?
    what does usually make you grab the book in the end?
     
  6. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Long books put me off. Usually, I find, it denotes an inability to stay on track or keep from rambling. Or fantasy.

    I make my decision in the end on whether I think it looks interesting, or like a book I'll enjoy.
     
  7. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    The book's artwork. A good book will have a simple cover, a shoddy one will be gaudy or will try to emulate a movie poster.

    Yes, I do judge a book by its cover. It works.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    the question in itself is a little ... hrm, because obviously the very first thing you notice when you see a book on the shelf is the cover and it has nothing to do with judging the book by its cover like you suggest. of course an appealing cover may attract our attention, every writer wants an interesting cover just for that reason, but then if it doesn't sound interesting from the text on the backcover I doubt it that people would buy it... maybe you should have asked "what is the one thing that make you BUY a book?" if that was what you meant?
     
  9. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I don't like thousand pages long books.
    I rarely find a book I like so when I do I know it is going to be good.
     
  10. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    well no because we all go for the visual at first..like all members have demonstrated and so the expression :
    do you judge a book by its cover ? does not make any sense because we all know we do at FIRS.
    we also do say ''first impressions count''.
    we first judge people by the way they look. human nature.
     
  11. rainshine
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    rainshine Senior Member

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    The art work, the title, the read the first page, but saying that I have a favourite second hand bookstore that I visit in a small arcade. It sells crusty old smelly books that are written in down the edges, I love the smell of old books, wonder about the previous owner, that I may glimpse into their insight into the writing, and its a bit lazy too.
     
  12. Susieschwartz
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    Susieschwartz New Member

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    What negatively grabs me is a dated looking person or people on the cover. Yuck. Good Advice I once heard: Unless you are Oprah or Jennifer Anniston, don't do it.
     
  13. TurtleWriter
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    TurtleWriter Member

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    Aesthetics are important to me to a degree, but I think the title/subject catch me first. I actually like to read the descriptions on the back. If I'm interested in the description on the back, I may stop and read some more of the book.
     
  14. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Yeah... cover/artwork/title are the first things. If I'm just skimming the mystery section looking to buy something new to read, usually the cover and title of a book tell you ALOT when you have to look through 100s of books in a matter of minutes to narrow down which ones you want. The books that tend to be on the grittier side of Mystery/Suspense will usually have darker covers and usually some vague, creepy sounding title like "Kill the Messenger" or "Ashes to Ashes". But the books that tend to be on the "lighter" side (the type I like to read) tend to have lighter colors on their covers and the title can still be vague, but not necessarily creepy. I remember seeing a book series where all of the books started with "The Cat Who...". And all of the covers had light colored backgrounds. And immediately I knew it was kind of a book that wasn't too gritty and didn't take itself too seriously.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I notice the cover as well. Then the length. I do like longer books, so long as they're well done. All things being equal, if I'm going to pay $8.99 or $9.99 for a book, I'd rather have a longer one. I don't read the blurbs.
     
  16. rainshine
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    rainshine Senior Member

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    Sometimes an authors reputation, if you know their work is good you look at their new title whether its catchy, artwork doesnt matter, neither does the title, other times its what you know already, word of mouth, you know this book is good read it, then there is the ones with awards on, I bought pearl S buck The Good Earth because it won an award otherwise I would not really have read it which is awful really, but the thought was, its won a prize, I should read it, Its usually right. Seen a new one about witches which won the times book club award, and has a nice title, I liked the first page, also considering dragonology but it looks a bit thick ( a door stopper) groan. One fine day I bought because people on the internet keep saying read it, its won a prize, I keep seeing it advertised, picked it up from a second hand book shop (50p) its ok, I would not have bought it usually, its a romance, very well written but not memorable.
     
  17. The wonderer
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    The wonderer New Member

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    The book cover.
     
  18. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    ah so advetising is one of them, not just a book cover or an author reputation right?
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first, the author, then the size and then the title and cover blurb...

    i don't want to waste time on short books, so the 'wider' the book the better... the cover's artwork doesn't sway me one way or the other...
     
  20. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    Practically all my book shopping is done online nowadays and I buy Kindle books. My actual searching for a book takes place at Goodreads and then I buy at Amazon. So in this virtual world in which the entire process takes places, here is what I notice in order of priority:

    1. The cover. Yep, even with ebooks I notice the cover first, even though I will likely never see the cover again after downloading it.
    2. Author. It doesn't matter if they are popular or an unknown but I notice it.
    3. The rating. I like Goodreads rating scale more than Amazon. 1 star=didn't like it, 2 stars=it was ok, 3 stars=liked it, 4 stars=loved it, 5 stars=it was amazing. Typically the book needs to have an average rating of 3.5 or more for me to continue considering it.
    4. The number of ratings received. If it has a 5 star rating but only three people rated it I will likely dismiss it. There is no magic number but if there are more than 100 ratings it is a safe bet I will continue my consideration process.
    5. Read the synopsis of the book.
    6. Read some of the reviews, both positive reviews and negative reviews by reviewers with good reputations and with similar tastes to me. Goodreads makes this easy.
    7. Google. If I have made it this far I will then Google the book just to see what else comes up on it. If all checks out there I will add it to my To Be Read list.
     
  21. AmsterdamAssassin
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    The first thing I notice is whether the words on the spine are the same as the ones on my list. You see, while I do like attractive covers, I rarely 'browse' for books. I make lists of books I want to read, try to get them at the library first, second-hand bookstore next. So I'm scouring the shelves, list in hand, for the books on my list, skimming over the titles that are not on the list.

    If I'm in the library and a book that's not on my list strikes my fancy, it's mostly because the title intrigues me.

    I appreciate artwork, no doubt, but it's not a factor for me to buy/borrow a book or not. A book with great artwork, a louse premise and a crappy opening sentence won't be bought...
     
  22. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    This is the order in which I look at things when I see a book:

    1. Thickness
    2. Author
    3. Cover
    4. Title
    5. Synopsis
    6. Price
     
  23. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Definitely the title. I know it sounds shallow, but a good title works wonders for me. When I start reading the book, I always consider things I would change if it was MY book. Call me arrogant, but there are a lot of bad books out there....
     
  24. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't judge a book by the cover, but a first impression is very important whether it's a book, movie poster, a real person or whatever. If the book's cover look really bad, it doesn't mean the book will be bad. But it will have to impress me if I am to give it a fair chance. A good example is The Hunger Games. The cover (here in Norway) is a boring, black cover with the words "The Death Games" (direct translation). It sounds really stupid, and looks even worse. But when I started reading it, it was pretty good. I have later bought the other two books. ;)
     
  25. Cacian
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    but how do you know what the title is going to be?
    where do you get your lists from?
     

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