How to successfully judge a book by its cover

By Adaobi Onyeakagbu

One of the first rules of life is to not judge a book by its cover, but book lovers know that it’s one of the ways of predicting how good a book is.

Navigating bookshelves to decide your picks for the day can’t be easy without judging some books by their covers, so here are all our tips for picking out a good book.

After the writing and editing, book cover designing is the next most important thing. Many times, the editors and cover designers know what they’re doing when they make a cover as enticing as possible because it is one of the first things a reader falls in love with.

First, ask yourself how the cover makes you feel. However, the colours, design and artwork most times don’t divulge much information about the book or author. Next, you can try these few tips from Bustle.

The First Line

The first line is just as important as the cover of the book. It determines how you would feel throughout the book or at least before the book gets to the clime. If you’re at a bookstore or library and you need to pick out a book, quickly read the first line, just the first line, and if it excites you, then that’s a very good sign.

Read the back

If you’re still not satisfied and would like to spy on what the book has in store, quickly flip to the back of the book and read the summary. The back of the book has the summed up version of the concept of the whole book as well as the tone the story uses. If you aren’t feeling the concept or the voice used, then maybe the book is not for you.

What have you heard?

Still not sure? Most times, the works of an author might influence how you feel about a book. So, if you’ve read other good stuff from the author or have heard great things from a trusted second party, then maybe the author knows what he/she is doing. Might be a good sign to grab that book. In addition, if the book has been nominated for/won prestigious prizes that you’re familiar with, maybe… just maybe… it packs some punch.

Quickly check reviews

play Judging a book by its cover (Room decor)


You seem like you might need a little more convincing, whew!. If you are a person that likes to read reviews, you would have done this already before this point. Reviews are a good way of learning reactions and affections towards the book. Goodreads is one of the most popular platform for all things books, so you could quickly look that book up there. However, if you want a more personal feel, try one of your favourite book blogger websites.

Pro-tip: Scan through a random page

Some people like to open a random page, most times in the middle, and peer through and weigh how that page made them feel.

Take the leap

Since you already picked it up, there might be a reason. Why not just take it home, read the book and then judge it later?




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