Everyone Loves a Good Cover, but What About a Title?

So I was chatting with Ariel over at In Italics a few days ago on her post about fonts used for book titles, and she brought up an interesting point that I just had to talk about too much with too many gifs explore a bit more. Basically, I determined that I appreciate Serif fonts the most, because it’s simplistic and I can see the title clearly. A cover will pull me in, but it’s the title in the end that packs a punch.

So with some help from Jack Sparrow, I’m going to illustrate my feelings on the subject of titles and how they influence my buying habits.

It’s been talked about time after time: how much does a cover influence buying a book? But I’ve never seen too many people talk about what the title will do to a buyer. And I’ll be the first to admit it: pretty covers get my goat. Case in point: I’ve put off adding Daughter of Smoke and Bone to my TBR list for weeks because of the cover. It looks like a masquerade vampire book gone horribly wrong. But the title really interests me! CONFLICT.

Now let’s look at another book: Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

Nothing wrong with the cover here. I’d pick it up – it actually reminds me of A Really Awesome Mess‘s cover, and I actually want to read that book! But here’s the thing: I hate zombies (brains just screams zombies) and it sounds like a spoof of Eat, Pray, Love. I don’t do spoofs. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I haven’t even read the synopsis, just because the title puts me off that much.


Now here’s another example, with a book I ended up purchasing and really enjoying: The Warrior Heir and The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. Technically, it was the Wizard Heir that I picked up first, then went to get Warrior Heir since it’s the first in the series.

I had never heard of Chima before, but the glowing green pulled me over to the display. When I saw the title, I was hooked. I love wizards (and warriors), and Heir gives me the hint that there’s going to be a lot of history and world building going on. And, lo and behold, that’s exactly what I got! (And, hey, it’s a Serif font – what a coincidence!)

Okay, one last book, just to really drive my point home: Angelfall by Susan Ee.

You all know how much I fangirl for this book. It is seriously the best book I’ve read in 2013 so far. Anyway – beautiful cover, right? It got me to click on the little icon while I was surfing Amazon in the bargain book section. BUT the title!!! Angel: I’m hooked. Fall: fallen angels or apocalypse? I had Supernatural’s season finale on my brain, what can I say… And what a concept – I actually got a book about a fallen angel in the middle of the apocalypse!

I’m not discounting the importance of covers. Some day I’ll even write an accompanying post to this one all about covers. But while a cover might grab your attention, it’s the title that really holds a lot of the clout in a possible buying situation. Titles give you an idea of what you’ll find in the book. Even if you don’t get a full picture of the concept of the book, you’ll at least get a clue to the genre!

So what do you think? Do you pick books based on their titles or are you more of a cover snob (like I totally am most of the time). Sound off in the comments below and give some examples of your own!

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20 thoughts on “Everyone Loves a Good Cover, but What About a Title?

  1. woo woo! You did such a great job on this post! I am so glad that I helped spark this idea!

    I completely think that titles can influence my book buying decision. If a title just sounds incredibly cheesy, I will probably stay away from it. Ultimately, the cover art is the object that attracts my attention, but the cover drives the whole message home. The title treatment, the phrasing – those all make a book a complete package in my eyes.

    Sometimes my favorite titles are the wordy ones – though I don’t like having to type it over and over when I am reviewing. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke is a good example. The title already conveys the conflict and the setting. Plus, that cover is gorgeous! It has really strong typography that I think appeals to many readers.

    LOVED this discussion! Will probably be back if I think of anything else I want to add.

    • The only reason I’ve stayed away from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is because I don’t deal well with terror. If it was a different genre, I’d have snapped it up in a heartbeat!

      I agree about long titles: sometimes a short one is really catchy, but it’s the behemoths that stand out on a shelf. One I’ve been looking at lately is 45 Pounds (More or Less). I really want to read that one, and the cover is perfect for the story!

      And besides, that’s why they made acronyms 😉

      • I really loved BtDatDBS, but it definitely has some horror elements… so probably not something you would like. 🙂

        I haven’t seen 45 Pounds (More or Less) out anywhere. It isn’t necessarily a book I would normally pick up (I’m not usually drawn to contemporaries), but I might have to give it a try. I think the cover is cute though!

        Exactly! 😀

  2. I don’t usually pay too much attention to the title, I am a total cover snob instead. If the cover doesn’t catch my eye then I’m not going to pick it up.
    Great post, love the use of Jack Sparrow 🙂

  3. Eat, Brain, Love’s cover gross me out 😛

    While I do pay attention to titles and am more attracted to a book if it has a good title, but I’m more of a cover-lover. A book could have the worst title every, but if it had a great cover, I wouldn’t mind. Wouldn’t mind at all…. Okay, maybe a little 😉

    Great post!

  4. Yay, love this post-and the gifs 😀 The first book also really reminded me of A Really Awesome Mess, but I agree that the title maybe could be a bit better-it does seem a little like a parody almost.

  5. I had a post on titles a few months back looking at long titles. I find longer titles attractive. I like that they’re cleverly worded. They kind of present what the story is about more and yet there’s more of a mystery to them. Example: A Certain Slant of Light, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Knife of Letting Go… I know a lot of people find the cover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone really pretty; I don’t. It just look like bad photoshop…but the title really attracted me to it too. So I guess both title and cover makes me notice a book. A bad looking cover, however, turns me away more.

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  7. I’m not really influenced by the title… or by the cover, at this point (I’ve been burned too many times). I mean, a pretty cover might make me take a closer look, but if the synopsis doesn’t appeal and the reviews are not great, I’m not going to bother.

    Oh, and you should definitely read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It has nothing to do with vampires.

    • That is SO good to know. I want so badly to listen to everyone that I trust with their opinions, but this one I have a serious block for!

      And see, you’re a smart book buyer 😉 Always go to the synopsis first! I usually go last, and thus I’ve been burned like you said.

  8. I think it’s the title helps me pick when I’m searching for future releases.like one or2 yrs in advance. But the cover really depends for me to make me want to read the synopsis

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