Are book covers important, or is it only the story that matters?

This is a question that I have been thinking about lately. Not long ago I would have said with absolute certainty that the cover of a book is not at all important and it is only the words inside that matter. But then I created my profile on Instagram and things started to change. I discovered many profiles where people had multiple editions of the same book because of the asthetics of the cover. I found countless photos of books propped up against cups of coffee or outdoor furniture etc and found myself thinking how beautiful they looked. As I began to follow more and more of these book accounts I found myself liking photos of a book based on what the cover looked like, and I found myself wishing that edition was the one that I owned rather than the one that was currently on my bookshelf.

Related post – Reading rituals


As I said at the beginning of this post, I was never somebody to concern myself with what a book looked like, far from it actually. I would be that person that would be on the hunt for the cheapest copy of whatever the book was. I couldn’t understand why somebody would pay an extortinate amount of money based on a cover, the words inside make the story and they are all the same irrelevant of the outside of the book.

Related post – Does a personal message in a book increase the sentimental value and should we all be writing them?

So, when did it change? I can’t completely blame Instagram, although daily doses of beautiful books doesn’t help! I think that writing this blog has increased my love of books and reading. I see all the time the opinion that writing and reading go hand in hand and it’s true, I really think that they do. For me personally, I think more about books and reading now because I have my blog or social media in mind. Will I review this one? Will I want to use it in a photo for a post? Querying this when I purchase a book leads me to think more about what the book looks like than the price of it. Also, creating this blog has resulted in me reading many blogs on this platform and when I read book reviews and I see a different edition of a book that I own, it does leave me craving that particular one because ‘it would look so good next to such and such on my shelf’.

Related post – Real books versus e-books

Aside from this, I was always that person that thought one copy of a book was enough but now, when I think of my favourite books I think how lovely it would be to have a collection of different covers complementing each other. There is still a bit of me that wonders if this is a waste of money though. I also think why have multiple copies of the same text, why not use the money to buy more books that I haven’t read? But, that leads me to think about how many books I already own that I haven’t yet read and I think I definitely have enough for now!

Maybe it’s just me changing as a reader as I get older. I don’t know. It’s certainly interesting to think about though.

Related post – ‘Classic’ literature: must you read it to discuss it?


One thing I am certain of is that a book is meant to be read and therefore I would never buy a book that I didn’t want to read just because I liked the look of it. I enjoy using my books as decorations but that is only their secondary purpose in my house. I also wouldn’t choose to not buy a book if the cover wasn’t to my liking, unless of course it was offensive in some way. Now, if the book cover wasn’t offensive but it also wasn’t to my taste would I wait and search for another edition? Yes, possibly, but I can’t confidently say I would. If I want a book enough then I still think I would just buy it there and then.

What would you do?

Are book covers important to you? If so, why? If not, then why not? Have you ever picked up a book based on what it looks like, or not picked up a book for the same reason? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Related post – Book related Q and A


I hope that you have enjoyed reading this!

If you would like to see more of my content then please follow this blog and check out my Instagram and Pinterest pages.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next time…Jess x

10 thoughts on “Are book covers important, or is it only the story that matters?

  1. Interesting post 🙂
    Instagram is all about how things look (stating the obvious there!) – with people seemingly spending more time taking perfect pictures of lovely covers than of actually reading the books!
    I only have 1 extra edition of a book – a ‘House’ edition of the 1st Harry Potter book. Otherwise, I don’t feel the need to buy nice new editions unless to replace a worn out book. If I had more space to store and display books, who knows that might change!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting to read your comment because I too wonder if too much time is spent photographing books rather than reading them. Do you focus on what the book looks like when you are replacing it, or is that not important to you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I’m not immune to a nice book cover… if I have different options when replacing a book, I will get the best looking one within reasonable price.
        If I don’t like a cover at all, it can put me off the book.
        I do read every book that I buy, which I think for some people, collectors really, is not the case!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a great approach to take when buying books! I admit I’m guilty of having many books that I am yet to read but I think that’s okay because I plan on getting to them someday…hopefully.

        Liked by 1 person

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