First Impressions & My Habits

When I made my Top Ten Words/Phrases That Make Me Pick Up A Book I started thinking a bit about how the outside packaging of books affect me and I decided to share my habits! I’d love to hear yours!



I’ve never been the type of reader who has ever really paid attention to author blurbs on books. I know I’m probably in the minorityย  on this one because I’ve always seen readers saying different things about being excited for a book because of X author blurbing it. For whatever reason, that’s never been a big pull for me to pick up a book. I think, prior to blogging (you can learn my other pre-blogging habits here), it was because I didn’t really KNOW a ton of authors so most of the time the author’s name meant nothing to me. I don’t really know WHY now they still don’t persuade me.

This year I proved myself wrong. I put a book on my TBR list instantly because of a Gayle Forman blurb. That book was Wild Awake and, while after I read the description I was even more intrigued, I knew I first was adding it because one of my all time favorite authors blurbed it. I almost didn’t recognize myself as a reader because that had never really happened before. I don’t know why it did but I think anything blurbed by Gayle Forman will do me in. I’m now reading a manuscript that is blurbed by Stephan Chbosky and I’m prettyy sure I would have picked it up SOLELY on that.


I will say…I’ve always been a sucker for the “for fans of x and x” comparisons. Lately I’ve been pretty wary of them for getting BURNED too often but prior it always proved to suck me in when you compare a book to one of my other favorite books, authors, movies or tv shows. Even though lately I’ve been ignoring them more because they mostly disappoint me I’ll tell you comparisons that, despite KNOWING better, always make me weak in the knees and add the book solely for that reason: any comparison to Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Perks of Being A Wallflower, John Green, or some of my favorite movies.

This form of marketing can be SO SO helpful when done right but it pisses me off when it is dead wrong and I have to wonder if the person writing it actually read the book or they are trying to capitalize on a popular trend and don’t care if they are off base. Worst Case: The paperback I had purchased of IF I STAY said “for fans of Twilight”…..what even???? People looking for sparkly vamps were going to be disappointed to not find it (though it was such a good book they probs loved it anyways) BUT honestly I had looked at that book for SO long and that blurb actually repelled me.


Ok, so weirdly I go into a lot of books blind — meaning I don’t often read the summaries. Obviously I do look at the summaries of books when I’m browsing but I mostly SKIM. However, when I’m hearing a lot about a book from trusted friends…I don’t read the summaries at all. I’ve found that this is sometimes so freaking awesome because I get surprised by things that were in the summary but I didn’t pay attention to or didn’t look at it at all.

As an aside, anyone else feel like some summaries kind of spoil the book with the info they give?? Sometimes I’m like MAN if you would have just left this part out it would be a better experience to have this revealed while I’m reading!

Obviously a beautiful or interesting cover will grab me and make me interested in it and then maybe I’ll read what it’s about if I’ve never heard of it. A good design is nice but I’ll say it won’t be the only factor to pick up/not pick up a book. But it’s so hard not to notice a pretty or interesting cover! It also, I think, is the FIRST thing that catches my eye — before I’ll ever be able to see the blurbs, comparisons or the summary so IT IS IMPORTANT. Just like when I was eye was first caught by their looks as shallow as that might sound.


I’m curious about you guys…what are your habits? Do author blurbs get you? What about comparisons? Do you read summaries most of the time? Is a bad cover a deal breaker?


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I’m ALWAYS a big fan of comparisons! I didn’t realize it until I started blogging and instinctively included “for fans of ____ and _____” in my reviews. That was my entire reasoning for reading Reconstructing Amelia this year. Entertainment Weekly reviewed it as “Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl” SOLD!

    I love this post! I certainly am guilty of judging a book by its cover!

  2. I usually judge a book by its cover. The cover needs to be appealing for me to read the book, if I don’t like it I pass… (I almost don’t read Anna and the french kiss because of its awful covr art). I never read summaries either. Most of the time I pick a book either because someone said it’s similar to other I liked or because of the author.

  3. I agree with a lot of these, but I would add in that seeing the book online or in a bookshop makes a lot of difference. If I’m in a bookshop then the cover normally pulls me in, but online I read the summaries a lot more closely.

    I DEFINITELY agree about summaries giving away too much information – fortunately I have a pretty terrible memory so I forget what they say almost as soon as I’ve read them!

  4. I always check the summaries, but only because if I can’t finish reading the summary, I know that I’m never going to be able to read the book. It’s my litmus test. I do hate it when the summary reveals a major plot point though. Ruins the effect.

  5. Covers suck me in…and I mostly buy ebooks. I don’t really pay alot of attention to blurbs, but sometimes I will notice an author I love, and feel curious to check it out. I tend to listen to fellow bloggers recommendations. I also go into a lot of book blind if I’ve heard other bloggers raving about it.

    I agree with book comparisons being completely wrong, and disappointing. I also think it isn’t fair for a new author to be compared to a hugely successful book. I think each book should speak on it’s own and have the chance to do so.

  6. I have bought a book because of the cover before. But author blurbs don’t really affect me much either. I may get excited when an author I know read it but that doesn’t make me buy the book.

    Summaries are a hit or miss with me. If I know a book is supposed to be good (enough hype on the interweb), then odds are I might just skip the summary altogether. If it’s mixed opinions, I read it. If it’s a book I’ve never seen before, never heard of before, or one I’m wary about for whatever reason, I read it. But I don’t particularly like reading them. And I’ve never understood comparisons. I have yet to find one that’s actually accurate so I always ignore them.

  7. I HATE that twilight comparison on If I Stay. It didn’t keep me from reading the book but afterwards it made me so mad because t was obviously just there to hook people and gave no indication about how awesome the book truly is or what it was about. But more on topic, I don’t usually pay attention to blurbs or comparisons. I’m more likely to try author comparisons because I feel those are more often right than book comparisons. I don’t usually want a book that’s just like another book, I want something with a similar feel and it seems easier to get that between authors than between specific books. But still, sometimes I just can’t help myself when they mention something I love! And I stopped reading summaries. They give too much away and make me mad so I just don’t read them anymore. I pick up books based more on recommendations and reviews from people I trust than anything else.
    Great post!

  8. weirdly the only thing out of the above that I actually pay a little attention to is blurbs, but only when it’s blurbed by one of my all time favourite authors. I think blurbs can be misleading because reading is so subjective that just because my favourite author liked the book enough to put their name on it, doesn’t particularly mean I’m going to enjoy it. I mean, I might like their writing but that doesn’t account for their reading taste y’know? TITLES. I love a good title, i’m more likely to pick up a book based on it’s title than what its cover looks like.

    I am more of a dedication/acknowledgement hound – if i’m in the store and I’m thinking of buying a book, I will automatically read the acknowledgements and dedication, then possibly a few pages of the actual book. Dedications and acknowledgements are my selling point though, because they tell you so so much about the author. I love them. I feel so cheated when books don’t have them.

    my book buying habits aren’t all that organic though – I generally buy books because of reviews I’ve read or recommendations from friends, so the cover and summaries etc. don’t really factor into my decisions. I hate reading summaries – I like the surprise of going into a book blind and I’ve been burned by too many summaries being spoilery ๐Ÿ™

  9. SO. Author blurbs I always [like you!] thought I didn’t care. BUT when Veronica Roth blurbed Shadow & Bone, that was what did me in. And there’s been a few more that I of course can not think of right now, but a FEW have at least made me pick up a book I normally would not have!

    I am the BIGGEST cover snob there is. Beautiful covers do it for me, and I don’t even read the back half the time! Awful, but its worked out pretty well so far!

    Synopsis. I LOVE TO GO IN BLIND! Its so much more fun sometimes! And I agree with you that sometimes the synopsis seriously gives too much info!

    Loved this post Jam!

    Sometimes I also go over to the new fiction [adult] section and have a FIELD DAY in B&N and take like 8 back to a table with me and read the synopsis and then check GR for ratings and decide if I will pick those up! [Recently I did this and now I have SO MANY adult fiction books I want!!]

  10. I admit to being shallow and loving a pretty cover LOL

  11. YES. EXACTLY what you said about going in blind. Too many times I’ve read a book summary and even if it’s a twist that happens 15% of the way in…. they just gave away a twist. I get that the summary has to be about SOMETHING and draw people in, but too many times I feel like I’ve read just the tiniest of spoilers and that moment lost all the magic in the book. If it’s a book one of my close friends has recommended, I won’t even read the summary. I’ll just get a general idea of what the book is about. If it’s my own choice, I’ll SKIM the summary. I just LOVE being surprised!

  12. YES on the comparisons. Done properly, I <3 them, but I've literally seen books like Graceling compared to The Hunger Games (AND Twilight) and… just WHAT. Not every ass-kicking female MC is Katniss. Not every romance means Edward and Bella. Those comparisons turn me off, but comparisons done PROPERLY intrigue me.

  13. I don’t read summaries often, unless I’m just not Quite sure what the book is about… but like you I don’t read them cause I like the surprise. Keeps me open. I was hoping you would mention the If I Stay and twilight blurb! SO WEIRD!

  14. Author blurbs are a HUGE incentive for me to pick up a book. If I see that someone like Libba Bray loved a book, I have to pick it up. Comparisons have lost some of their draw for me. While some, like the 13 Reasons Why/Looking for Alaska comparison for The Tragedy Paper, are spot on, others just fall flat and leave me disappointed.

  15. Comparisons kills me. I don’t WANT to read The Next Hunger Games, or The Next Anna and the French Kiss, or The Next….anything. I already READ those books. I want to read something new and different, yo! In fact, I may write a discussion post on this topic because comparisons really tick me off, ESPECIALLY when they’re totally misguided (fans of Twilight for IIS? That irked me when I read it, because IIS is so much better and just totally different.)

    Great post, girl!

  16. I am a summaries person, meaning I almost always read them and use them to decide whether or not I want to read it. I never pay attention to author blurbs either, but if an author I like recommends a book (on Twitter or something), I will probably pick it up.

  17. I’m really bad with covers. I find myself saying I want to read it if its pretty or I don’t want to read it if the covers not that great. I’m also really bad on comparison. I love when books say things like “Harry Potter fans will love this!” and actually live up to it, but if they don’t, I feel like I was lied to lol

  18. I actually haven’t paid much attention to the Author Blurbs, but I do normally pay attention to the Synopsis and the Cover, but like you, if it’s something that is highly recommended by people who’s taste in books is similar to mine I tend to not even look at the synopsis. I will start paying attention to the Comparisons, only from Bloggers though, because I don’t think that marketers tend to do a good job in that department, like as per your example.

    I really enjoyed this post Jaime ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. I really don’t like admitting it, but I’m a total cover girl. I see a pretty cover, I want the book. Lately, it’s gotten a tiny bit better. Now, at least, if the synopsis and thousands of reviews suggest I wouldn’t like the book, I sometimes cross it off my Wishlist. Doesn’t happen too often, though ๐Ÿ™‚ As for blurbs, I can relate. Most of the time I don’t even read them. It’s different when an author talks about a good book he or she read on her blog, but one-liners usually don’t really catch my eye.
    By the way, I really like this post idea ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Cover! Cover is important. I’m always drawn to books with pretty covers, although other factors like my mood, reviews from fellow friends & summary of the book get in a lot too. And I know lots of people mostly picks books on the shelf because they were drawn to the cover, so I often get disappointed if a local publisher publish a book with their own remake cover (which usually turned out to be ugly)

    I never pay attention to author blurbs or comparison, mainly because I think even my fave author’s fave books may not be my fave books and vice versa… And they’re often wrong (for example, the If I Stay case above!)

  21. I never read the back of the book.. I love to go into the book blind. It is kind of exciting to me. Like someone who is having a baby and doesn’t want to know the sex. A really pretty artsy cover can suck me into a book. It makes me very curious as to what in the world the book could be about! I love it!


  22. The cover is the FIRST thing I look at, and I will rarely even pick one up that doesn’t catch my eye. Then I usually read the summary. I don’t even look at blurbs ever or at all – that means nothing to me. Even my favorite authors… I don’t think I’d put too much stock in that. It’s often the case that after I’ve bought the book I look closer on the cover and see a blurb and think, “Oh. How about that?” I just don’t pay attention to it. And I HATE the comparisons x_x too many dystopias claiming to be like THG. Ugh. To be honest, when they use such a comparison, I’m already rolling my eyes. And that’s not a good thing.

  23. Yeah, I have to say, I don’t put a lot of thought into what makes me buy a book. I know cover and early Buzz plays a part. But also just how I feel at that moment as well. What am I in the mood for? I never pay attention to book blurbs though.

  24. Covers aren’t a deal breaker for me but it IS what catches my eye first! I LOVE gorgeous covers and sometimes I’ll pick something up just because I was thinking, wow this is so pretty, what is it about? And sometimes I’ll glance over something if I think the cover wasn’t that great. I know, it’s bad. =( Also the “fans of..” things totally annoy me. I’ve seen way too many ones that I’ve just been like, “wait, what?? fans of twilight? this makes no sense”. So I usually don’t like it and don’t pay attention to those very much.

  25. Ha! I don’t read book summaries all that much either, except for the first time I’m checking out a book. I like going into books blind or with the vaguest of ideas because that way I always end up surprised by its contents. It’s a pretty cool way to read and it works for me!

  26. Hi all, wow, as an author the comments are fascinating to read! I wish more people would buy something blind or because of a carefully designed cover. But — I’ve definitely seen covers “lift” sort of mediocre books, haven’t you?
    I am not going to ruin anyone’s day by talking about how all those author blurbs get written and why — ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for this great post.

  27. If I’m buying books the cover is really the most important because I don’t really buy books with covers that don’t look good unless I’ve already read the book and know I love it. It sounds shallow, but if I really want to read a book and it has a not nice cover I get it from the library or buy it as an Ebook. If I’m at the library the titles are really the most important. If a title sounds interesting I’ll probably read the book’s summary.


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