Saturday, September 29, 2007

Do you ever judge a book by its...

title?

When you are in a bookshop looking for a book to buy, what makes you pick up a book and read the blurb on the back? Is it the cover? Is it the title? Does it matter what the title is? Are you ever repulsed by a title? Do some titles have an immediate attraction?

If the book cover were the same for each of the following, which title woud be the most appealing?

1/ Zuzu's Petals

2/ The distance between us

3/ His hat still hangs in the porch

I know that people who read my blog are extremely reticent, but I would love to hear your views on book titles - including the three above.

10 comments:

Sue Hepworth said...

What does a writer have to do to elicit comments from blog readers who come and read and lurk in the shadows and are two shy to post a comment/answer a simple question? AArghh!

Isaac said...

Absolutely I judge a book by its cover. If the cover design doesn't appeal to me, but did to the author, then I somewhat assume that the same will be true of the content. Not that every book I buy has a cover I could mount and hang on my wall but if the style is repellent or non-existent then the book will have to fight hard for interest from my wallet.

Titles matter too, and I liked "The distance between us" most and "His hat still hangs in the porch" the least. It had never occurred to me before but statements of fact just don't work well as book titles. Can you find a counterexample to my hypothesis?

I very rarely judge books on Amazon by their covers, though.

Wendy said...

I have to agree with Isaac about titles being important. But being a girl, the cover art always does more for me than the title (shallow, I know).

I like Zuzu's petals best and The Distance Between Us as a close second.

You know this book better than we do though, what do you like the best?

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks for your comments! Very interesting. I just checked up The Distance between Us on Amazon to see if anyone else had used it and found that Maggie O Farrell has done - only 2 years ago. Now...did I think it up all by myself and this is a coincidence? Or have I seen her book on a shelf and stored the title unconsciously?
I'm researching the point about factual titles...

Anonymous said...

Cover first, information on the back cover second, title third.

If the book is positioned to see the cover, it catches your eye, then you check to see what the book is about and last, think about the title. If the books are stocked binding out, sometimes author, sometimes title.

Mind you, I don't always buy the book just because the cover caught my eye and I've probably passed up books I would have enjoyed if I'd noticed the cover.

And, alas, not everybody is going to like the same cover!

Like Zuzu's Petals best.

DIANE SHIPLEY said...

Ooh, I haven't answered your email, have I? Sorry!

I like the second one, I tihnk you're right about personal pronouns and it sounds intriguing - I'd assume it's literal and metaphorical...

DIANE SHIPLEY said...

oops, just read about Maggie Farrell - hmmm... Titles are tricky, aren't they?! x

Auntly H said...

I like 1 and 3. 3 might be too long, but I think I like it best anyway.

(I just popped over from Snowbooks.)

Sue Hepworth said...

That's my current favourite, too, Auntly H.
In answer to Isaac - here's a couple of titles with statements - Emgland Made Me (Graham Greene) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Sue Hepworth said...

and another - Oranges are not the only fruit.