How to readers choose a book? Book reviewers and editors might argue that many books are chosen after reading reviews in the paper. Publishers might argue that it’s a combination of the cover design (Chip Kidd is often lauded as a wunderkind in this area) and the cover copy, browsed online or in a book store. Charlie Brooker humorously comments in the Guardian that sometimes, you really can and should judge a book just by its cover. Here’s a taste, which made me laugh while I’ve been down with a bout of food poisoning:

“Modern life is hectic. So hectic you don’t have time to think, and instead have to rely on snap judgments to do your thinking for you. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book about this in 2005. It was called Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, and became a bestseller when thousands bought it without thinking. I was one of them.

“It began as an entertaining treatise on why you should always trust your gut instincts. Mine told me this incredible book would change my life, so I read on. In the event, my gut was wrong. It was bullshit. The second half of the book argued that, hey, actually, you shouldn’t always trust your gut instincts. By the end I’d learned precisely nothing about “thinking without thinking” except that in future I’d avoid making any impulse book-buying decisions. Particularly ones that benefit Malcolm Gladwell. Proof, if any were needed, that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

“It’s easier said than done. Book covers – like TV programme titles, magazine covers and newspaper headlines – are increasingly designed to draw in passersby via any means necessary. Subtlety doesn’t get a look-in. Nor does common sense. … “

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