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Covers matter to me.

It’s true, a book cover is not everything, but for me, a book cover is a first impression; it is intrigue, it is a siren’s call, it is seduction and it is anticipation. If I know nothing about a book, an artistic, or curious cover will make me look twice and pick up the book to read the back.  That said, a bad cover does not mean I won’t read the book (obviously), but sometimes it does mean that I will search for other available editions.  This is a book I want to read, someday, but not right away. And it is a book I am willing to search for a different edition of, because I really think I will enjoy it!

Take, for example, my recent acquisition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.  I have heard countless things about the wonders of this book, but have put off buying it for ages.  Whenever I pick it up in the store, I always frown at the cover. I don’t know what it is about the bright, demanding orange colour of the North American edition, but I just always wished there was another option for me.  Then magically, there was.  Random House released a large selection of coloured books for a collection they call Colour Your Library.  Curious Incident was a deep, romantic plum colour. I picked it up, and put it back down. The solid purple colour told nothing of the actual story, and I wanted something with a bit more relevance.

Then, I saw it.  Visiting a friend in Montreal, I found myself gravitating to her boyfriend’s bookshelves.  Being with a more casual reader myself, I am always awed when people have partners who read as much as they do. Her shelves are full of chicklit, his are full of scifi and fantasy. Then, an old and battered copy of Curious Incident came into view.  It looked like an English edition and I immediately fell in love.  I went home and Googled it, only to find that it was indeed the English edition and not available in any bookstores in Canada. I found it on The Book Depository, but then started questioning myself as to if I really was that vain about this one specific book cover.  Did it really matter that I disliked the bright orange?

A few weeks later, my future brother-in-law announced that he was taking a few days vacation and going to London (he’s a flight attendant.. lucky bum). He is super sweet and always asks if there was anything he could bring back for us? He will usually surprise us with delicious English teas, and the occasional cheap sweater from Primark.  I live vicariously through his trips to England as I have never been myself, but dream of it often. But this time, I knew exactly what to ask for.

A few days later, I came home to a book on the edge of my bed. It was the lovely copy of Curious Incident.  The UK edition.  The UK edition that I didn’t think I was vain enough to actually ask for from England, but then was…

So I guess it’s true, you guys. I am a sucker for a nice book cover! Have you ever gone out of your way to get a certain book cover? I’d love to hear about it!

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6 thoughts on “Cover Vanity

  1. I’m totally vain enough and demanding enough of my book covers to order from WHEREVER will offer me the most gorgeous edition. lol But you probably already know that about me and my neverending obsession with the Penguin English Library. I am not a fan of the orange version of this book, and I’m now quite jealous of your pretty UK edition. ;)

  2. I totally judge books by their covers!! But if I really want to try the book I at least get it from the library, despite an ugly cover :)

    What I’m kind of a snob about it is wanting all of my books in a series to be in the same format & cover style. It’s always a risk when I get books from Paperbackswap because sometimes it is NOT the right cover or style that matches the ISBN, but oh well. That’s what I get for being a little cheap sometimes, lol.

  3. Aww what a sweet thing he did! How nice for you. :)

    I too have been put off by covers in the past, and I think judging books by their covers, as terrible as it is, is natural. At least, I know I can’t help it. It’s usually the cover that draws me in or intrigues me, and then I check out the cover copy.

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