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Should you judge a book by its cover?

Of course. That’s what covers are for.

A good cover sets the expectations for reading the book. It tells us what it is about and what it will be like reading it. It makes us curious. It makes us pick the book up and read the back. It’s one of the first touch points in our process to choose the book.

But what about all the extraordinary books with terrible covers? Well, what about them? I’ve enjoyed a lot of those. But that misses the point. I’ve picked them up despite their cover. Or maybe just because of their cover as it had been spot on to trigger something in me that I didn’t even notice. Or maybe I was referred to the book by someone who enjoyed it.

The point is that a cover is a shortcut to what we think about the book before we read it. It is a decision making tool. Decisions are almost always made based on incomplete information. Books are no exceptions. (And neither are people). Covers prime this decision making process. Just like the way you show up primes the decision making process of the people in your audience.

What’s a great book cover you love?

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