Bookshopping: The Cover Conundrum

We’ve all been there. We’re shopping in Waterstones and our eyes get drawn like magpies to that one book cover. There is something about it that is so visually appealing and before we know it it’s already on our shelves. 

On the flip side, that book that had the really ugly cover. Yeah, that one didn’t make it home. 

Photo by Marina Zasorina on

For an act that is almost entirely about introspection, there is something incredibly superficial about the way that we consume books. As someone who will often walk into a book shop with no clue what to buy, naturally I am going to be more attracted to the covers that catch my attention. 

At the moment I am personally a big fan of the minimalist covers that are now littering book displays and my bookshelves. But is this really the most ethical book buying practice? Am I really giving books a fair shot?

That sage saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is kind of lost in our 21st century capitalist market place. Books need to be beautiful to be bought to a certain extent. Especially with a culture surrounding book hauls and posts of books, no one wants to celebrate or promote a book with an ugly cover. 

But this began to change in me this year. 

As a uni student, I have a vast library at my disposal where I can take out books as I please. What I can’t do is choose what edition of the book I’m getting. This stretched me as a reader; I was now coming home and reading books with covers I hated but with content I loved. It was going against nearly everything booktube had subconsciously ingrained in me for years about the value of a book. 

Photo by Element5 Digital on

I still love beautiful covers and will probably always be swayed by them. When it comes to the books that we own, they almost become art in our rooms. 

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