Originally, book covers served one purpose: to protect the pages inside.
Nowadays, when browsing in a book shop or scrolling through the web, the book covers speak to you. Some covers whisper quietly, some covers hypnotise, and some covers scream for your attention.
But is it OK to judge Christian books by their covers?
The Power of an Image
You may have noticed the power of the image on a book's cover. What do you do first, read the title and the opening sentence, or look at the eye-catching image? It’s all down to human nature. You’ve probably heard this statistic before: when you meet someone for the first time, you make a snap judgement based on these three areas:
Whether it's people or books, our snap judgement is mainly based on the way they look. These days, it seems, a book's cover is worth a thousand words.
When you Give Someone a Book ...
... how important is the cover?
Are your first thoughts about the words inside?
- Will he enjoy the topics?
- Will she like the author's writing style?
- Will the words connect with their situation?
Or are your first thoughts about the book's cover?
- Will the picture put him off?
- Will she think it’s too religious?
- Will they smile politely and say “Thanks, but no, thanks”?
Let’s face it, if you’re giving someone a book it’s because you want them to read what’s inside, not look at the pretty cover. It’s all down to relationship. We listen to our closest friends, we go to them for advice, and we respect their opinions. So if they recommend you a book they think you’ll enjoy, chances are you’ll give it a go.
Certainly, be aware of the balance between appearance and content, but even that is relatively unimportant. First and foremost, trust in the strength of your friendship. Love people first, then you can start sharing your book collection.
What Makes a Book Look Like a Christian Book?
Christian books blend into the secular book market. Publishers know what sells, and an overtly Christian cover will certainly not have the broadest appeal. ‘Keep the image vague yet eye-catching while giving the book a curious title’ seems to be the modern formula. Take the best selling, Christian book The Purpose Driven Life as an example. And it certainly works for John Ortberg’s new book Who Is This Man?
There’s no escaping human nature. So the question we should ask instead is - should we buy Christian books because of their covers?
Christian book covers are becoming pieces of art. But you’re not going to get the book framed and hang it in your hallway! You’re going to read it. So the next time you’re searching for a spiritual growth book, a Bible study, or a good fiction always remember these three things:
- Never judge a book solely by its cover!
- Always read the product description and any reviews
- If you can, open the book and read a paragraph or two
Julian Barnes, author of Sense of an Ending, gave an unexpected, yet much desired compliment to the cover designer of his novel when receiving the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011.
"Those of you who have seen my book, whatever you may think of its contents, will probably agree that it is a beautiful object ... So my final expression of gratitude is to the best book designer in town, Suzanne Dean."- Julian Barnes.
I agree with Julian; books are beautiful. But not just for the way they look, for the words you find inside as well. - James Warwood
October 11th, 2012 - Posted & Written by James Warwood