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Is it Cover or the Content that Sells the Book?


New Member
I see lot of emphases on covers. That reminds me the old saying: "Don't judge book by the cover."

I don't mean to undermine the importance of cover. But I still believe in old saying that content is more important.

What does the other writers and readers think?
For me, I'd say that it's the content that determines whether I like/love a book or not, but as I'm a very visually oriented person it's often the cover that determines whether I pick it up in the first place (assuming I'm browsing the shelves of a book shop).

This is of course not always the case. There is a broad spectrum of authors that I will have a look at regardless of cover, but a well-designed cover will certainly catch my eye and where my eye goes my hand often follows.
Content is of course the most important. However I have found I have difficulty reading a version of a book that has [to me] disconcerting cover art. I know it doesn't make much sense, but there it is.
The vibe is just wrong.
I believe the cover plays an insignificant role.

Major roles include: the summary on the back of the cover - big seller. And i also find the type of font used is a major selling point as well.

Therefore it is all content. Rarely does a reader go into a book store to browse by covers.
Obviously the content is most important. However, the cover art is significant. It should give us a glimpse into the story. It is the way readers notice a book in the first instance, then anything else, like the blurb on the back becomes significant, but the cover is what makes the reader pick the book.
When browsing I only notice the cover and the author. If I have never heard of you, then you'd better have a damn good cover to entice me to pick up your book and read the blurb on the back. A real blurb, not some edited review with lots of ellipses.
I typically go by the page 99 rule, however, the cover is the first thing to attract my attention so I probably wouldn't glance through the book if the cover and/or its title is horrendous.
I think the cover is important in book stores for that initial attraction. If I'm not familiar with the author, it's an intriguing title and cover that makes me pick up a book. However, it's the synopsis and blurbs on the back, and the first couple of paragraphs of the book that determine whether I buy it or not.

In digital marketplaces, it's harder to say. A strong book cover is still likely useful for attracting the eye, but again, it's the summary of content that will be the thing that sells it.