To a certain extent.
The cover doesn’t matter if I’m already familiar with the author’s work or even the author’s name (even though it makes me happier if the covers are beautiful – it’s the small things that count!). Or if I’m buying from online bookstores, where the cover doesn’t actually play a part – recommendations, reviews and excerpts are the deciding factors.
But if I’m just browsing at the bookstore, a book faced-out with a striking cover is definitely going to catch my eye. It makes me pick it up, read the back cover blurb, the first couple of pages, and a couple of random pages in the middle. So yes, covers influence my buying decision. (And if not faced out, an intriguing title and beautiful spine art also works).
So anyway, a revised “Kushiel’s Justice” cover is up at Thrifty Reader – and I’ve to say it’s a definite improvement. Here are the two covers for comparison – the smaller one on the left was the original draft, while the one on the right is the latest on Amazon.
Let’s face it, in the original, the woman looks as though she’s struggling to stay awake, even though she’s been stuffed into a too-tight corset. In the second version, she looks as though she’s pondering something fascinating (or if she’s just about to do something – I can’t quite decide).
I like how in both versions, we don’t quite get to see her face – I prefer it when it’s left to me to picture the main characters (whoever she is, because according to Jacqueline Carey, it’s not Phedre). I’m not too sure about the lower-right corner of the newer version, because it’s a bit blank – maybe they’re going to place a cover quote there?
(In case you’re interested, “Kushiel’s Justice” is the fifth book in Ms Carey’s “Kushiel’s Legacy” series, coming out in June 2007. There’s an excerpt of the fourth book “Kushiel’s Scion” here, which is also the start of the second trilogy, i.e. three-book arcs.)
Finally, if you haven’t seen it before, Christina Dodd’s three-armed heroine cover is always worth a look!