Breaking News: I Judge Books Before Reading Them

Oops, already one day late on my new Monday & Thursday blogging schedule. You forgive me, right?

Today I’m comin’ at you with a bit of a confession (not a surprising one) and then a chat about it – because why not? Ready?

I JUDGE BOOKS BY MORE THAN JUST THEIR COVER.

While I like the sentiment behind “don’t judge a book by its cover” it’s not the most realistic statement. We are visual creatures. We look at something, anything, and immediately form a judgement. Sure, maybe we don’t always act on that judgement and that’s where that saying can come in handy, but we still make those judgments.

And I 100% form an opinion on a book before even opening it…and it’s usually based on more than just their cover. When I walk into a bookstore, or shop online, these are the things that will either make me want to read a book, or not, besides the cover:

THE TITLE

For me the title will either be the first grab, or the second grab after the cover, depending on how I’m shopping for books – and that shit has got to be GOOD. It’s hard to explain how a title can be good or bad but its real. At least for me.  Sometimes I’ll read a title and just think fuck yeah I’m going to read that while other times I just think meh, sounds boring.

For example, when I heard the title Vengeance Road I thought this is going to be bad ass but when I read Starflight I thought this is going to suck. I don’t know why, I just did.

Disclaimer: Both of those books ended up being favorites for the year I read them. So, again, I don’t always act accordingly to the judgments I make.

THE BLURB

Not even in the way you think. Yes, of course the blurb/synopsis will have me wanting to either read a book or not based on what it says – but I’m talking about it in a totally different way and that is…

THE. LENGTH.

Y’all. Sometimes those things are just way to damn long that I lose interest before I’ve even started reading it. Whenever I visit a book’s page on Goodreads and I see that Read More button on the synopsis I immediately think Damn it, this shit’s going to be the length of a short story isn’t it? And when it is, I just click away from the book because I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT.

THE LENGTH OF THE BOOK or FONT SIZE

Because sometimes one affects the other and I can keep this one real short.

I.

Don’t.

Like.

Long.

Books.

Or.

Books.

With.

small font.

See what I did there?

THE HYPE

I’m not trying to be cool with this one, I just tend to avoid overly hyped books. I haven’t read Caraval. I haven’t read Nevernight. I haven’t finished ACOWAR. I haven’t read Stalking Jack the Ripper. Even though I own all of those, they are always the last ones on my radar to read. I don’t know if it’s because I’m afraid I’ll hate them, or because I just am exhausted hearing about them all the time that I don’t want to read them, or it’s because they’re all so damn long with tiny ass font that it’s just a triple whammy of Don’t Read This.


What makes you not want to read a book besides the cover? Do you still go for it every now and then against your better judgment?

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36 thoughts on “Breaking News: I Judge Books Before Reading Them

  1. I don’t like when blurbs are too long, either. To me, it means the book is going to be way too complicated. I’m also usually one of the last ones to read a hyped book. I get tired seeing the same books over and over again. And if it’s a genre I don’t normally read, it makes me less likely to want to read it.

  2. I hear you! I am a stickler about font size and formatting of books, too. If the book has giant chunks of text (really long paragraphs), I can’t do it. I have DNF’d books for that reason alone – I feel like I’m making NO progress!

  3. Completely agree! Especially after some rough reads I’ve had this past year, it changed the way I picked books and I’m super critical now. There’s just too many books out there that you have to be judgmental on some level.

  4. Totally relate to you when it comes to the blurb! Many blurbs are SO LONG these days. I generally will not read a book if the blurb is a mini essay. (I have a similar issue with long trailers for films.) Another issue for me is cliches used in blurbs. If the entire blurb is one long patchwork of cliches, I’m usually out. Sometimes I enjoy hopping on Goodreads to read really bad cliche book blurbs to my husband while he plays video games. 😛

    1. OK YES. There are some long ass trailers for movies hahah I’ve sat there and thought “wait, is this trailer still going? what the hell is happening?” >.< Also, that's hilarious! I should start doing that with my husband hahah

  5. hahahaha i am so glad that i am not the only one that doesn’t like long blurbs about books! i don’t want to have to read a short novel to find out what this short novel is about! geeze!

  6. I have definitely been won over by a witty or strong title. Title + cover definitely creates a mood. When I read a blurb that is too long, I wonder if the author understands what their book is about, and if they don’t understand what their book is about, how am I supposed to! My eyes are the bane of my existence. I refuse to wear my reading glasses, so I read mostly on my Kindle, though we have tons of books from years of BEA, BookCon, and other bookish events. I pulled one out the other day, and really wanted to read it, but the font was so small and there was no white space. That book would make me blind. I will have to hope it eventually comes to Overdrive or Hoopla.

    1. That’s actually a reason I don’t read a lot of physical arcs. The formatting and font size do not agree with my eyes! I have to wear my glasses even with young adult big font and large spaced books >.< But the kindle does come in handy for that! I can make that HUGE lol

  7. that’s funny XD because the whole point of aRCs is to create hype isn’t it? and yet we tend to stay away from books that are like over hyped. But, BUT I get it you know.. What I DONT get is the books hyped when they don’t deserve it.
    Also small font is a killer
    and I barely read blurb anymore cause… they ruin stuff

    1. hahha right >.< I'm backwards. I mean, I don't avoid all hyped books, but I do find myself reaching for not AS hyped books before those ones. Sometimes blurbs do ruin stuff, but I find I get impatient in the beginning of the novel if I don't read the blurb to get a general idea of the story haha

  8. Oh I def judge books, but not always in the sense of good or bad, more in the sense of “my kind of book” or “not my kind of book.” The cover, title, and blurb give off a certain feel, and it doesn’t what the story is actually like if I don’t even get that far. But yeah, long blurbs turn me away too cuz I don’t have great concentration/attention span some days.

  9. I totally judge books on cover, title, font size, etc. I will assume a book is going to be predictable or dull based on the blurb. I guess I’m right just often enough to keep making those judgements, but I’m wrong often enough that I should really know better! I am not afraid of long books if they are mysteries or YA, but a long book that seems to be “literary fiction” is something I will put off for a long time, even if the premise sounds great. I just know it’s going to take so long!

    1. Oh goodness, I have several adult fantasy novels that I keep putting off because of length and font size. The YA ones I’ll read at some point, those long ones are always read before the adult long ones haha

  10. Hahha I do ALL of these too. I am especially bad about the title one honestly. I get these preconceived notions of what the book *must* be about, and then basically don’t listen to reason. It’s pretty ridiculous. The blurb thing I avoid by simply not reading them (which maybe isn’t a great idea either, but alas). The length one is a biggie for me too- whyyyy do some books need to be like, 1k pages with 6pt font? Pass! These are SO true!

    1. hahah I feel like I do the same based on title? Like OBVIOUSLY this title means the book is about this I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY. hahahah I can’t not read blurbs. I find myself getting frustrated during the set up portion of the book if I don’t know where that set up is going to lead lol ALSO YES. Which I feel like is every really popular book right now? Like why are y’all reading such long books with tiny font now. My eyes can’t see that shit. lol

  11. The blurb plays a role on whether I read a book or not! I immediately put back books whose blurbs do something like “And then she met sex blah blah…” Even if the plot sounds amazing, just that description is enough to make me walk away.

  12. Ahhhhh I COMPLETELY JUDGE BOOKS BEFORE I READ THEM ALSO.

    I feel like I care about the font also a lot? I know this publisher that always has lines really closely spaced together and whenever they send me books I FEEL SO UNWANTING TO READ THEM because of that?? I’M OBVIOUSLY WEIRD.

    I really like cool titles! I really like fantasy-sounding titles, and then if they have ugly covers then usually I won’t read them #oops. But honestly, I feel like covers should represent books more accurately so that we can make better judgement.

    1. NO. I like that 1.5 or double spacing! hahah my eyes can’t keep on the line while I read if they’re too close together >.< Also, agreed, covers need to represent the book!

  13. I also tend to judge based on the title a lot. Sometimes more than the cover. What I really don’t like is all those repetitive titles, you know? Daughter or something something, Bones something something… A book has to be really different to catch me with that generic title.

    The good thing about the kindle though is that you can change fonts and font sizes based on your whim 😀 sometimes I find that just changing up the font can get me out of my reading slump.

    And I totally am allergic to hype as well 😀

    1. OMG SAME. I find those titles annoying now. Like ok I like them if it’s a series that I’ve already started so it’s nice and consistent….but I find myself not wanting to read any NEW books that have titles like that >.< I don't know what it is haha Also yes! I love reading on my kindle because of that. I actually will save books that I know have tiny font in their physical copies for the kindle version so I can change it lol OR audiobook.

  14. I totally judge books before I read them, probably the same way that you do…. I hate long books with tiny font, especially if they have really thin pages that feel like they’d be waaayyyy too easy to rip by accident. There’s nothing worse than that! Awesome post!

  15. This actually sounds pretty accurate. A book cover may catch our eye and you may judge it when seeing it but normally it’s the spine and book title which you see. I definitely judge by the title, that’s normally what I spot and if it doesn’t sound interesting enough I will probably skip. I don’t judge as much by the synopsis, I actually prefer a bit more detail for a summary so at least I know what to expect. I hate when they’re intentionally vague, I just feel like they’re being mysterious because the story will be obvious if they say too much.

    1. Ok, I definitely agree with the too short synopsis too! So I guess I would fall somewhere in the middle. It has to be the perfect length for me to be interested in it 100% hahah

  16. YES to all the things here ahah, I DO judge books before I read them a lot, as well. I judge the cover, obviously, but also the title: sometimes, I just want to read a book because the title sounds so cool ahah. I quickly lose interest in a book that has a blurb that goes on and on for like, 30 lines or something. I have read books with long blurbs like that, but more and more… I just skip the blurb because it’s way too long and giving away the whole story.
    Great post! <3