Confession: I Don’t Read Jacket Blurbs

I’ll go ahead and admit it. I judge books by their covers. The only time I’ll actually read a jacket blurb or a back cover blurb is if I can’t figure out what the book’s about from its cover or title. Most of the time, I just glance at the jacket blurb to scan for key words that might make the book of interest to me.

If the title or cover art intrigues me, then I flip through the book and read a few lines from random pages. I look at the font style and size, because if the font is hard to read, I won’t even bother reading the book. But if the book looks really interesting, I’ll try to find another copy with a different font. The thickness of the book doesn’t usually bother me. I’m not the type of person who’s put off by enormous books.

Ever since I started writing seriously, I also look at the copyright pages of books and see who the publisher was. If it’s a publisher I’ve never heard of before, I’ll Google them to get more information. The year of publication has become important to me as well, especially when I read YA books. It’s nice to see what was “in style” for a certain year (and what’s going out of style). As I read, I keep a mental count of how many typos I find. (Since I’m interning for a publishing company, typos really leap out at me now, especially if there’s more than one in the book.)

How do you choose books? 🙂

14 thoughts on “Confession: I Don’t Read Jacket Blurbs

  1. lol.Those are some tough standards you have there!

    For me, it depends on how I’m buying the books. If I’m in a physical bookstore, then I scan around the millions of covers and titles to find something that looks intriguing. Then I read the blurb. If that looks good, I’ll read the first few pages to get a feel for the book.

    If I’m buying online it’s a little different. I usually use some of the recommendations of books I like or the “people who have bought this have also bought…”. I usually ignore the book cover and title at this point (since in a bookstore it is just my way to whittle down the options). Some have a blurb of some kind and I usually look at that. Then I read the first chapter and decide if I like it.

    To me, a book just needs to somehow make itself known or stand out from the crowd. Then I’ll read a bit and see if I like it. I don’t really care about anything else.

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    1. Online, I look for books that have gotten really good ratings. I think that other readers’ reviews are definitely better than the blurb/publisher’s review when looking for a new book. Readers will tell it like it is; they’re not paid to endorse the book, haha!

      My standards aren’t really that tough – I’ll pretty much read anything – those are just certain things that irritate me. 🙂

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  2. I do read the jacket but only if the cover art catches my attention. Thanks for the smile earlier it helped.

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  3. How do I choose books? Good question.
    These days I almost never have time for bookstores–my loss.
    Most of the books I’ve read lately have been “referrals”. Books recommended by friends, by the authors themselves in interviews, or because I’ve needed to find something, and went eShopping.
    That said, I’ve read a very great many books based entirely on the cover art first, the title, second, and the author, third.

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    1. The author is almost never a factor for me when I choose a book. And I don’t usually go to bookstores either. I go to the library or shop online.

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  4. I don’t pick books . . . books pick me. 🙂

    I’m only half joking. Books seems to wend their way to me from various sources so that I always have 20 books (or more) waiting to be read.

    If I’m looking on-line at books ~ I read a few 1 star reviews and a few 5 star reviews. If the people who hated the book are raising concerns that would tend to bother me (over-flowery language, too many metaphors, etc.), I usually look for another book.

    Also, I walk around the library and let books attract my attention as I wander by.

    Thanks, Maggie

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  5. Wowwww I’m actually incredibly similar to you. I tend to like to know as little about what will happen in the book as possible before I read it which is one of the reasons I don’t like to read the jacket. Also, they rarely capture the true nature of the book anyway.

    As far as what I look for– First I judge by the title and the cover. If the book intrigues me in some manner I pick it up and scan for keywords. Then if it’s passed that I generally start to read the first page and try to get a feel for the writers style. Also, I’ve lately been picking up books that are popular and that I’ve seen around just out of curiosity’s sake.

    You posed an interesting question:)

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  6. Great question!

    I have to admit that the cover plays a lot in my decision to pick up a book. I guess that’s why so much expense and effort is put into makig book covers (especailly for fiction) look appealing. But, once I pick up a book, I try to read the first few pages. If I’m not grabbed by page 3, then I’m probably not going to be able to enjoy reading the whole thing. Not always, but most of the time, I know early on if the book is my taste or not.

    —Judson

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    1. Most of the time, when I pick up books where the first few pages or chapters lag, I push through them. Most of the time, the book gets really good later on and it’s well worth the read.

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  7. Lately, I’ve just been picking up random books at the library and reading them – I try to find a book that is a different genre than the last book that I read. I’ve noticed that my vocabulary has been greatly increasing because of this – I’ve picked up books that have these huge words that I’ve never even imagined.
    Currently I’m reading the science fiction novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley… It’s getting easier to understand:) Haha – reading any good books?

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    1. I like reading from different genres, too – I get bored with just one genre all the time. Right now I’m reading Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey. It’s quite a strange literary novel, but the writing style is beautiful and characterization is unique.

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