The Crusie Theory of Cover Design: A Lecture

Authors are cover-crazed because we know the dirty little secret of publishing: The reason most people pick up a book and buy it is the cover. After awhile, you may build enough of a name that people will pick up your book no matter what, but even then, a bad cover may make readers think twice. So why do so many books have bad covers?

Lots of reasons, none of them deliberate. Most, I think, are because of a disconnect between the art department which is looking for something that’s visually appealing, the marketing department which is looking for something that sells the book in the short term, and the author who is looking for something that represents her book and will sell her entire body of work in the long run. If they all work together and listen to each other, the chances of a good cover are vastly improved. But most of the time, an author sees the cover when it’s done. And sometimes authors don’t see the covers until the books are in stores. Of course, there’s a reason art departments often do not talk to authors: we’re preoccupied with the book itself and don’t know anything about what sells, so a lot of the times our suggestions are disastrous.

Its with that in mind that I sat down to figure out what made a good cover. (Well, that and I had to do a presentation on it in Reno.) Which is how I arrived at the Crusie Theory of Cover Design which states that a good cover has to do three things:

It must catch the eye across a bookstore.
It must be pick-up-able when the reader gets close.
It must capture the mood and the content of the story.


Have you been into a bookstore recently? Lotta books in there. If you’re shelved spine out, go somewhere and weep quietly because you’re done. But if your book is on the shelf faced out, the cover showing, is it doing its job of drawing the customer’s eye to the point where she’ll go over and look at it? Publishers know all about this, hence the flagrant use of foil and bold colors, particularly on paperbacks which really have to fight to get a look. But it’s true on hardcovers and trade paperbacks, too. So how do they do it beyond the foil? They use a strong color, hoping that no other art director has picked the same strong color. They go for strong value contrasts, dark on light or light on dark. They use a startling image or a clear distinctive type face. Anything that will catch the reader’s eye so that she subconsciously thinks, “Ooooh, look at that” and crosses the store to see it better.


Then once the reader crosses to see the book, there must be something on the cover that makes her want to pick it up, something beautiful, fun, startling, quirky, SOMETHING. Designers can do that two ways. One is touchability, something about the book that makes them want to touch it, a textured or matte surface, raised lettering, smooth foil, anything that draws fingers to the book. The other is detail, something that makes them want to look closer. If the first requirement of the graphic is that it hook the reader, the second is that it tells a detailed enough story that the reader needs to physically look closer and PICK IT UP.


Once she’s picked it up, she’s likely to read the jacket copy, look inside, etc. and more likely to buy, which is why marketing stops here. She bought the book, didn’t she? What else matters? Reader satisfaction. While marketing wants to sell THIS book, I want to sell the next book, too, I want my reader to like this book so much she can’t wait for my next one. But if marketing has suckered her into buying a book she doesn’t like, I’m going to get bad buzz because she’s going to complain about that. So for an author, it really is important that the cover captures the story, sets the mood, fits the author’s voice, and hints at the story content. The cover should look like the story in the book.

Romance novels get particularly bad covers because of the disconnect between marketing (sell the book) and the author (get the right reader to this book). For awhile there, publishers were slapping busty heroines and hunky heroes on the cover of every historical romance out there, the infamous nursing mother covers, even if the romances weren’t erotic. It’s gotten a little better, although the tendency now is to slap a cartoon cover on every contemporary romance which is equally bad—I don’t do wacky cartoon cover chick lit, but I had one publisher that slapped them on my reissues anyway, putting a hot blonde in a tight red dress kicking over a wine glass on a story about a shy physics teacher whose hair turned green. You want stories about hot twenty-somethings in the city, don’t read Jenny Crusie, but the cover said, “Get your red-hot chick-lit right here.” Argh. Covers like this are so common in publishing they’ve even led to a folk song for authors, The Bad Cover Song, sung to the tune of “They’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain When They Come”:

There’s a bimbo on the cover of my book,
There’s a bimbo on the cover of my book,
She is busty, blonde, and sexy,
She is nowhere in the text, she is
The bimbo on the cover of my book,

More recently, one of my reissues got a beautiful, beautiful cover in pale green with a charm bracelet and a puppy on it. The green was a clear mint color so the design drew people across the store; the cover was matte and extremely touchable and the details were beautiful so I’m sure people picked up the book. So what’s the problem? It looks like a Young Adult or sweet romance and it’s the story of a bitter forty-year-old divorcee and the explicit erotic affair she has with a younger man. Great cover, but not for that book. I have nightmares of kids or conservatives picking it up and being appalled and telling everybody how horrible it was; meanwhile people who like explicit, erotic books are going to sail right on past it because it looks so sweet.

But in defense of this publisher and this design, they’re using the same concept for another of my re-issues and this time they nailed it. Hot pink cover with a giant fishhook and boxer shorts; that’ll get ’em across the store. Then the fish hook is beautifully rendered, great detail, and the boxers have red hearts on them,and I’m assuming I get that gorgeous matte finish again. Plus a lot of the book takes place in a rowboat with hero and heroine fishing, so the metaphor on the cover is exactly right, great quirky/funny mood, fits my voice, and nails (hooks?) the story. I love it.

And then there are the foreign covers. One of my favorites was the French cover for Welcome to Temptation. It was gorgeous, a black and white photo on a red cover with great orange lettering, and the killer touch, the dress on the woman in the black and white photo was colored in red. Just a gorgeous, gorgeous cover.
Except the woman on the cover was wearing a prom dress and climbing out of a dumpster, and Welcome to Temptation takes place in a small town in Ohio, and the heroine wears khaki shorts for most of it. The French cover was dramatic and noir and sophisticated; the book is snarky and bright and definitely down home. Another great cover on the wrong book.

But when it works right, it’s magic. Anne Twomey at St. Martin’s Press put the perfect cover on Bet Me: bright blue sky with bouncy clouds and glass slippers floating down with cherries. Once people went closer to see it, the cover was matte but the slippers and cherries were glossy, you had to pick it up to feel the textures and see the details. And the story? A modern Cinderella story that was cheerful and light. It was a perfect cover in every way. And then Anne interpreted the paperback the same way, jazzing it up a little with pink foil (paperbacks have to pop harder because the field is so much greater) and it was just as good as the hardcover.

Another great cover is on Barbara Samuel’s latest,Madame Mirabou’s School of Love (in stores March 28).
The colors are warm and inviting, and there’s a naked woman on it; people will cross the store to see it. Then I’m betting this is another lush matte cover, but even if it isn’t, people will still pick it up to see the details of that bathroom, the tile, the woman in the tub. The picture is a story in itself the way the Bet Me cover is a story, it makes you want to open the book to find out more. And I haven’t read the book, but I know Barbara’s work, and it’s warm and earthy and lush and always about strong, sexual women. This cover nails all of that. I get chills when I look at this cover, it is just that good.

And then sometimes a cover you’re not thrilled with turns out to be genius after all. We went through at least a dozen different designs for Don’t Look Down and ended up with a really attractive cover that screamed chick lit to me, and Don’t Look Down is not chick lit.
But it was beautiful and the everybody else liked it so we went with it. Then later I was talking to Bob about it, worried that it didn’t really represent his side of the book, and he said, “Well, we could make the cover of the book itself camoflauge. The way Wilder is undercover in the book.” So we asked our goddess of an editor, and she got it done and now a cover I was afraid didn’t represent the book actually had gotten us to a design that represents it better than a single cover that nailed it would have. Not to mention it’s a marketing hook. We’re VERY happy and St. Martin’s comes through like a champ again.

So if you’re an author, what can you do about it? Start by keeping all three of the rules in mind. It’s not as important to exactly illustrate your book as it is to get people across the store to pick it up, so be prepared to give in on some details. You’re going for the feeling of the book, not an illustration of it. Tell your editor your thoughts on the cover, send pictures that seem to evoke the same feelings, give the art department important symbols or images from the book, like the shoes in Bet Me. Try to steer the process in the direction you want it to go before the design starts. Then if they show you the cover as part of the design process (i.e. before it’s finished), have concrete reasons why you want the changes you do, and give alternate suggestions. Don’t say, “I think a dark green cover is wrong,” say, “I think the dark green is too intense for this book. A light green or a light blue might fit the happy-go-lucky style of the story better.” If you can’t explain why something isn’t right and give suggestions on how to fix it, you’re just going to be annoying.

However, most authors are never going to get any input into their covers at all, which is why if you’re a reader, you shouldn’t blame the author for a cover gone bad. Best defense against the cover gremlins if you’re a reader? Open the book and read the first page and then something from the middle at random. You really can’t judge a book by its cover. I can’t believe I ended this with a cliche but hey, like most cliches, it’s true. And still readers buy books by their covers.

And that’s Crusie’s Theory of Cover Design. Lecture over. Until next time.

50 thoughts on “The Crusie Theory of Cover Design: A Lecture

  1. There are a million things I’m worried about awaiting my book’s release next March. But cover is one thing I’ve thought about from the time the book was finished.

    I don’t want a cover with real models used – I’d much rather my reader imagine what my characters look like then think these models are representative of what’s in my head.

    I’ve been told over and over I’ll have little to no say.

    But I plan on keeping your three tips in mind…maybe I’ll get lucky and get some input.

    1. Jenny: Sorry to be responding so late, but I’d like to comment on your cover comments:
      Because I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, I illustrated the cover myself. (I’m an art school grad). My mystery, A NOSE FOR HANKY PANKY, is just coming out (Sept. 7) from Mainly Murder Press, publishers who specialize in New England mysteries. The editor told me to make suggestions to the designer as to what I wanted on the cover. I decided to “show, not tell” and drew all the thing I wanted: an upscale office at night, a woman’s legs (shapley) lying under the desk, a window looking out on a moonlit beach and a large pink pig looking in the window. After drawing this scene, I liked it so much I got out my paints. Soon it was accepted. If you would like to see the cover, I can send it in jpeg–or you can look it up at or All best, Sharon Love Cook

  2. nice lecture, jenny!

    covers are important… especially to me, since i mostly buy my books with attractive covers. i know its superficial, but when it comes to your books, i dont care about the covers.

    i especially love the cover of “Faking It”. its the first Crusie book i bought and i loved it.

    till the next lecture! 😀

  3. Romance authors have it bad, but sf/f is a rough market too. I mean, we’ve mostly gotten past slapping half-naked barbarian women on the cover of all fantasy (the infamous “two band-aids and a cork” school of female armor design) and scary cone-breasted women on all the sf covers. We’re in the twenty-first century now. Right. We’re enlightened now. Right. And sexy gun-toting dominatrixes sell SO MUCH BETTER. Rig… *sigh*

    Between that and the ever popular Tentacle Monster covers, it’s a wonder anyone reads sf at all. And no wonder most people avoid it. If I thought the future was nothing but tentacles and whips I’d avoid it too.

    This was a great article that made me laugh and made me think. As always. 😉 Thank you.

  4. Just to let you know, Jenny, that I bought a copy of “Anyone but You” with that very cover because it was yours, and wasn’t at all disappointed.

  5. I bought a copy of “Anyone But You” because it was one I have been wanting to read and couldnt’t find. I liked the cover, but I can see Jenny’s point about it attracting the wrong reader. Maybe instead of the charm bracelet it should have had the infamous push-up bra. 🙂

  6. I’ve always picked out books based on covers. When I told my boss this, she thought it was an odd way to pick a book but decided to try it the next time she was out. She found a couple of favorite new authors that way, but what I found intriguing was that the covers that grabbed her attention were ones that I’d have passed right over. I can see why cover design is so hard.

  7. My husband has a similar theory on Wine label design. It’s all geared for the female consumer! I have since grown leary of chosing a wine with a “too pretty” label. It’s usually a sure sign of an inferior wine trying to pretend its something it’s not!

    That being said, I discovered your books on a (gasp) discount rack at a large discount retailer that should remain nameless. (Think Goodnight John Boy) I snatched up as many as I could find, because I could tell at first glance that we were kindred spirits. (Well, 3 is my lucky number and a good begining right?)

    Should I solemnly swear to pay full price hardcover from here on? I am hoping to at least find you at your upcoming book tour in the Boston area.

  8. Fascinating – and Kat nailed it on the head why I don’t buy science fiction and fantasy – until yesterday, when I saw the cover to Mercedes Lackey’s the Good Knight. I haven’t read it yet, but I had to pick it up, then I had to open it, then I had to smell it (I don’t know – they put that “new book smell” in there really well). Then I had to buy it.

    My first Jenny book was the reissue of Manhunting that I found in the library. Then I was hooked and had to find every single other book. The cover of Bet Me totally drew me in. I still love to feel the texture.

    I hate the cartoon chick-lit covers – they all look the same now! I especially hate it when they use it for the ones that are more drama-heavy than comedy. Blech.

  9. I agree with everything you wrote. Case in point: I thought one of the covers of your paperback Crazy For You did not do it justice. It was a picture of a white truck with the dog nearby and a man and woman underneath the truck. I did not like it at all. I don’t think I would have picked it up had I not already been reading your other books and been hooked by Bet Me.

  10. I think the cover design of “Bet Me” (both hardcover and PB versions) is one of the best cover designs I’ve ever seen. It is genius!

  11. I *drooled* over that new cover of Barbara Samuel’s the first time I saw it. I knew right then, that I was going to love the book, even before I read synopsis which wetted my appetite even more.

  12. The ugliest cover I’ve ever seen is on one of my all time favorite romances. Suzanne Brockmann really got the raw end of the deal with her original “Get Lucky” cover, which if I’d ever seen it in the store would have sent me rolling on the floor in hysterics it was so awful. But the story inside was absolutely amazing. And now that she’s going into re-issue, I’m sure she’ll have the chance to get the cover the book really deserves.

  13. I did everything you recommend here when they were designing the cover to my first book. I pased along ideas, important images, feelings i wanted to get across, etc. etc. When they showed me the cover sketch, I was highly skeptical. BUt then, when I saw the final version, I feel madly and passionately in love. I htink they nailed it. NOt too light, not too dark, not too cutesy, with a definite air of mystery and a chic retro feel… I think I’m one of the lucky ones.

  14. Great article! My first book has been blessed with a controversial cover–people either think it’s campy and hilarious, or…not.

    It’s definitely worth pointing out to people how little control authors usually have over cover art. I might personally think my cover is fun, but I can’t help wish it were something more people felt comfortable reading on the bus.

  15. If the art department blesses you with a great cover, there is no need to go off and cry if it’s not shelved properly. I work at a local bookstore and there are no “rules” about which titles get shelved face out. It’s all a matter of space– how many titles will fit on one shelf? Empty spaces are frowned upon and turning titles face out takes up space. If there are dozens of titles to fit on one shelf, everything gets turned spine out to conserve space. If there’s lots of extra room, turn as many titles face out as possible. A title with 7 copies all turned face out together in a pile (space used= width of one copy of title) takes up less space on the shelf than five copies all turned spine out (space used= combined thickness of 5 copies of title).

    If your book is not turned face out, do some quiet rearranging to make sure the entire shelf looks better.

  16. The Anyone But You cover grabbed me from across the store, I bought it, read it, loved it and it was exactly what I expected. So, go figure?

  17. Really interesting article which sent me back to look again at the foreign covers in the trivia section.

    What is it with random women on the beach? How is that relevant or distinctive?

    some marketing departments should be subjected to twelve hours paint drying.

    I’ve just been given Bet Me for my birthday and of all the covers in that series (second row of uk editions) I think it suits the book the best. It does have a beautiful matt feel, and its very neat and so so Pink! Its fabulous.

  18. One other little aspect….If I’m not sure about a book, I check the back for a Crusie recommendation.

  19. Ohhh Manhunting is being reissued in hardback? I can’t wait. I buy your books because they are yours. I did pick up my first because of the cover, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I liked the cover of “Anyone But You”, but the push-up bra would have been perfect! Thanks for all of the lessons; they are invaluable 🙂

  20. I picked up my first Crusie book because of the title. Then I read the dedication and knew I had to get it even if the book itself was terrible, which it wasn’t. So I lucked out!
    Since when, of course, I have spread the Word of Jenny to all my friends… 🙂

  21. The British cover of Welcome to Temptation was a winner. A fifties drawing of a girl in tight shorts jumping in the air with American farmland and a watertower in the background. WH Smith (major UK newsagent and bookselling chain) put it at the front of the store, cover out on the shelf, on what felt like the first day of summer so I walked into the store, saw a picture that felt like the day itself and bought it on the basis of the cover and a quick squizz at the back blurb. It got amazing write-ups in the magazines as well but I still feel that the fact the cover was part of why it sold so well. Since then I have sought out Crusie (once I’d noticed how it was spelt) but I have to say that none of the other covers have ever done it for me. I wouldn’t have bought any of the other books on the basis of the covers but then I’m the dream buyer – if I enjoy a book, I’ll buy the remaining ones by that author, sight-unseen, so JC had me anyway. Michael Chabon should be damn pleased that I read his dreadful first novel after one of his later good books otherwise I’d have never picked up anything of his again.

  22. Oh hail mighty queen of literature!

    OK, that’s a little bit over the top, but I wanted to let someone know that the He Wrote/She Wrote blog is acting up. Bob’s missive was cut off mid sentence and now you can’t go back to previous entries. Help, Oh Great One!

    Or at least let your people know. (grin)

  23. That was so interesting!! I just love reading your blog!! Thanks for taking the time to post!

  24. When do you have time to write? I was just reading your OTHER blog with the ladies you are doing the novella with. Between blogs and road trips and e-mails when you do possibly find time to write?

  25. Jenny, where can I find the complete lyrics to “The Bad Cover Song”? Google doesn’t deliver.

    Because I have just written a dozen verses to it….

  26. Thanks for a great post on cover design; I hope many authors read it. I’m an ebook cover artist, and even though ebook covers are reputed to be among the worst, I’ve always tried to create attractive, marketable covers that match the story. The thing is, for every cover I do, I ask the author for the cover concept because I rarely get a chance to read the books myself and figure the authors know their stories and target audience better than I do. That, and there usually isn’t a marketing department in the ebook world. So … if my covers are any good at selling the books, it’s strictly because the author knew what sort of cover would sell her book best and then did a great job communicating that to me. And if the covers tanked, well, okay, so that might be my fault.

    Still, I’m glad you wrote this post, and I hope that many authors read it. It would make my job easier. 🙂

  27. The current UK covers of Crusie novels are acceptable, but there was at least one absolute horror – the cover of Faking It (2002) which was a really, really bad chick-lit / cartoon travesty, badly drawn, and distorting several elements of the plot (e.g. a horrid cartoon dog that did not look in the least like a Dachshund).
    I find it baffling the way publishers seem to assume that authors are the last people to have any idea of what will sell their own books: this applies in non-fiction as well as fiction. Titles and cover treatment that appeal to the author are likely to appeal to readers who like that author’s work, because if one enjoys someone’s writing, it is in part because one has many tastes in common with that writer. And vice versa.

  28. Very nice lecture on the cover…. As a possible future writer, I took many mental notes and I thank you for taking the time to teach us something new. I did pick up one of your books (“Getting Rid of Bradley”, very nice one, by the way) because of the cover. I wanted to know why the blonde was laughing hysterically, but now that I think about it, I’m not sure the cover fit the story itself. With all the drama she goes through in the book, I don’t really see a good reason why she would be laughing and (seemingly) having a good time. But I could be wrong since I first read that book a few years ago (oh, and by the way, I’m 19 now. I guess you can say I was a little young when I read “Getting Rid of Bradley”, but I like your books partially because of the romance factor. My name is Samantha, and I’m a romance fiend :everybody answers “Hi Samantha”: =o]). But anyways, since I read that book, I have been hooked on you, and now I’m determined to buy every book you plan to release, regardless of cover, because you are just that damn good. :o) Have a beautiful day!

  29. I started reading Jenny when I bought Crazy for You. I take it with me on vacation to read if I get homesick!!!!! I re-read books all the time. I have favorite authors and always buy their books regardless of book covers, but an outstanding cover will make me pick up a book by a writer whose work I haven’t read before.

  30. I like the camouflage ‘under-cover’ of Don’t Look Down a lot – especially the alligators.

  31. What about the ‘author quotes’ on book covers? Cathy noted that an ‘outstanding cover will make me pick up a book by a writer whose work I haven’t read before.’ I admit it might make me look at the back, but I am always curious to see the quotes from other authors on the cover.

    For instance, this afternoon I picked up a book by Nancy Martin (I think that was her name) and it had a quote from none other than Jennifer Crusie on the front. I have to admit that often seeing an author favorite talking about a new title may make me pick it up, espeically a favorite.

    Are authors asked to submit quotes? Do you actually read those titles (no disrespect intended) or do publisher require them of you?
    Just curious.

  32. *Great* lecture! You are not only a wonderful writer, but a super teacher!

    You have that art background that lets you say why a book cover works and why it doesn’t; I think a lot of writer types don’t have that visual expertise. Can you recommend some good books to help a word-person develop some right-brain artistic sense?

    Love, love, love it!

  33. German covers are generally awful and loveless!

    As for your books, I like the original cover of Welcome to Temptation best. Just saying.

  34. I think covers are going to cause authors to scratch their heads for a very long while. Possibly forever. They have gotten better, though.

    The one thing about most chick lit looking covers, your cover is most likely going to be individual.

    Original is important~it seems like you see the same dude on the vast majority of romances any more. Dark haired, mysterious, gorgeous… and on every other cover, it seems. I’ve also seen a couple of books lately where the photo of SAME woman is on the cover of totally different books. SAME pose, SAME corset, SAME hair…

  35. You know that little chorus to the side saying, “blog! Talk to us! Blog!”
    Well, this is the Official Recruitment Comment for the next chorus.
    We are now taking auditions!

  36. I also bought the British copy of ‘Welcome to Temptation’ because of the happy, curvy blonde in red on the cover. She looked sexy in a way that all the carefully posed models on covers usually don’t – I think it’s something about the way she seems to be almost flying cheerfully upwards.

    I have the dreadful ‘Getting Rid of Bradley’ cover as well. If I hadn’t already read ‘Temptation’, I’d never have picked it up. And another of your books has a dark pink cover with a huge slab of chocolate. I have read it three times now, and each time I have gone on a chocolate binge part-way through. No more realistic junk food on covers!

  37. Hi Jenny,
    Your were featured, along with Bob, in an interview by Carla M. in March for “Chick Chat,” the newsletter I edit for Chick Lit Writers of the World. (Did you ever get a copy of that issue? I emailed it to Bob Mayer to share with you but never heard back from him.) If you want a copy, just let me know.
    Anyway, your cover theory is so true. I pick my books by titles first, then covers, then blurbs on the back. God help the poor authors with back copy writers. *Tsk, tsk*
    Lauren Baratz-Logsted once mentioned something about the incongruity of covers with the book’s actual story (i.e. some of the fluffier chick lit books get published in hardcover with “insightful” pictures, while the more literary chick lit gets stuck with bubble gum covers.) Go figure.
    Anyway, if you have time, please stop by my blog ( and/or and leave me a shout…or a whisper, whichever you prefer. 🙂

    Warm regards,
    Lauren D.
    Editor, “Chick Chat”

  38. Great post on an often discussed subject among writers.

    Now on to the real reason I’m posting 🙂 — I just sent the message below to your yahoo group on Bet Me being nominated as a Book of the Month on the Reluctant Nude web page. (Apologies but your fan mail is on the fritz?)

    Hello — I just joined to post an announcement that Ms. Crusie’s book, Bet Me, is nominated for May’s Book of the Month at the Reluctant Nude web page of my site. The page is dedicated to celebrating plus-size beauty.

    Generally, I notify authors directly, but it seems that the fan mail option is down on Ms. Crusie’s site and I wanted to give her fans a chance to vote before the May 19th close date.

    You can find information on all of this month’s nominees at the URL below, as well as the vote link for Bet Me. The Reluctant Nude page itself is WORK SAFE, but some of the other nominees may be in the erotic romance category, as is the rest of the web site.

    There is a related prize contest associated with each BOTM contest period, so there’ an extra incentive to taking a few minutes to show one of your favorite authors that you’ve enjoyed her book.


  39. This is one of my pet peeves with romance and chick lit. I’m embarrassed to carry around a great book because the cover screams something that isn’t true or honest. It also turns off guys who might really benefit from and enjoy the lit inside the cover.

    Grr. Arrgh.

    But when it works, it’s a joy. And marketing is just part of the world, right?!

  40. Hi,
    The first Jenny book i ever read was when i was fourteen and as a voracious reader of EVERYTHING i was lookin in the library and saw the cover. It wasnt my usual sort of book but the cover was bright and got my attention then the blurb on the back reeled me in. I read that book six times!! and it is still onew of my favourites ever.

  41. Its a good question….every day i check and every day no jenny 🙁 although im getting fairly addicted to the crusie mayer blog instead. But i want my jenny! Pretty Please??

  42. Yes, a lot of the covers are embarrassing, to say the least. When I bring a book home, the first thing I do is to cover it with beautiful solid color or parchment-looking cardstock. This keeps my reading private from the DH & kids and strangers in parking lots, and keeps my bookshelves from getting that Mardi-Gras aftermath look. Very zen. This goes for all my books, not just the romances.

    However, I’m glad the books have colorful, evocative covers on them when they are in the bookstores.

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