I am on the record, multiple times, telling you all that you can judge books by their covers, at least when it comes to judging the appeal of a book. You can click here to see the many times I have written about covers and using them as a RA Tool.
My most read "covers" posts are here and here. That second one, refers to Lynne Hansen, the top Horror cover artists out there. After writing that post in 2020, I had the idea to do something more in depth about Horror cover artists. Flash forward 3 years to last week when my third (of four) columns for The Lineup this year posted and is all about Horror illustrators.
Please note, while this is specifically about Horror (with perfect timing for your Halloween displays), you can still use it as a guide for any genre. Just physically telling readers that you judge books by their covers is a great conversation starter. It seems illicit and will break the ice as you drive to have conversations about what they want to read and why. Trust me, I do it all the time. It works. Asking a patron what their favorite book cover is, rather than favorite book, gets their attention immediately. It is unexpected and will signal that you actually want to talk about reading experiences.
And a "Judge a Book By It's Cover" display is an awesome idea, just make sure you are double checking that the books you choose for their good cover are also a great read for a wide audience. The whole, "judging a book by its cover" is not as much of a free for all as it sounds. It is a great entry point, but you still need to do the work and make sure the books should be on display for your patrons. \
Here is the article. I chose independent press titles because a lot of the major presses use in house designers. And true to the paragraph above this one, all of the books are a great read for a general audience. I trust the publishers and the content of these books to be added to your collections.