Monday, December 31, 2007

Explicit Book Covers

My friends and fellow bloggers, Kristie and Kate, started an interesting discussion on their blog, Ramblings on Romance, Etc., Etc. regarding book covers, their explicitness, and its effects on the reader's willingness to purchase the book.

One very sexually explicit book cover that I have been seeing around a lot lately is Megan Hart's latest release, Tempted. As explicit as this cover is, I find it extremely beautiful and sensual and not the least be offensive. I admit I might be a bit embarrassed at the register, and would not read it in public or in front of my children without a book cover on it, but the truth is I really love this book cover. It is honest sensuality without being vulgar or offensive.

In all sincerity, I find the cliched romance covers depicting the swooning woman with the dress falling off her shoulders, being held up by shirtless man to be phony and honestly more embarrassing than a genuinely sensual one. Even the cover image of a solitary half or fully naked man can be a bit insulting. Don't get me wrong. I admire a gorgeous man, but the cover offers no message about the book. It's like the publisher is exploiting sexuality to sell the book. I prefer book covers with a couple (or threesome ;) in a natural embrace or kiss. Then the cover message is clear--this is a book about a couple who are meant to be together, and the publisher is indulging my sexuality, not exploiting it.

What's your take on sexually explicit covers? Does the explicitness of a book cover ever deter you from purchasing it?


  1. I really don't mind buying those naughty covers because there are finally more naked men on them. *G*
    I also saw the cover for Tempted and thought it was nice. Quite a chnage from the cover of Dirty with the bathroom stall.

  2. This is interesting. I don't know that I've ever been deterred from buying a book because of it's cover, but I do get annoyed, particularly in the historical genre with the scene you describe above. With today's artwork and graphics, there are so many beautiful covers out there that can be used. I love Lisa Kleypas' wallflower series' covers and wish more publishers would use something similar.

    One VERY HOT cover is Elizabeth Amber's "Nicholas." S'all I'm sayin'.

  3. Hi ladies, I am going to add my 2 cents worth on the book cover issue.

    I think a majority of the book covers in romance do a diservice to the author and the content of the book. I think this is a big reason why, the lack of respect in the industry.

    I have never judged a book by its cover (thank goodness) because some of them are too ridiculous for words!

    Megan Harts cover for Tempted for me is simply TMI....;) I am one of those people that think less is more. Great Book Title and informative blurb is all this chick needs! besides the cover usually never resembles the H/h that I picture in my head.

  4. I've had a few I couldnt read around my children, lol. Now if it was down right raunchy, then I may not buy it.
    Ellora's Cave of course has some pretty racy covers. But then i'm buying them cause there racy, lol!
    I honestly like the simple covers better. Like Jacki's covers or Lara Adrians. Those are beautiful without being disgusting.
    So I guess if i'm buying an erotica I may expect it, but a regular romance book, not so much.

  5. I have seen this topic around here and there and I see absolutely nothing wrong with ANY cover. I bought one last month in borders just because the cover was extremely sexual. I think they are great!
    The first time I bought an EC book in Border's, I wasn't embarrassed but I was curious if the lady knew what the content was inside the book. It was an anthology so it just had a man on it. Nothing sexual. But, I would have to say, by the way she said have a nice day, she knew exactly what was inside. ;)

  6. It's interesting that you say this about the pictures on the covers. (I was just thinking the same thing about book titles). I have no problems with the pictures on book covers most of the time I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the pictures. I used to be shy taking them to the counter to pay, but no longer - I'm too old for that! lol
    Now book titles...sometimes I'm just amazed at. Helen Kay Dimon's Your Mouth Drives Me Crazy - total play on words since he just wants the heroine to be quiet most of the time! lol. Or the Playing Easy to Get anthology (these are two that easily come to mind). My hubby just looks at me and shakes his head! :)

  7. Some book covers and titles make me pink when I take them up to the counter or one of my brothers pick up whatever I'm reading at the time...but I find that I'm getting over it! lol

    My family doesn't get most my reading choices. My reading is quite varied and tends to confuse them as I do not stick to one genre. It covers from Walt Whitman, John Bunyan, Corrie Ten Boom, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Khaled Hosseini, to Nora Roberts, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Danielle Steele, Lisa Kleypas, Karen Moning, J.R. Ward, Feehan, etc.

    Although my auntie and mom do read some romance they tend not to say much. Unless I make a reading suggestion, then they're like..."Is it one of YOUR books?" In which case, they're referring to my paranormals (romance or otherwise)...lmao

  8. I don't know if I've ever been "deterred" from buying a book,especially if it's from an author that I generally enjoy. But some of the covers out there can get really cheesey...the swooning heroine scene is so overdone. Simpler covers for me tend to have a bigger impact.

    I did however blush pretty badly buying Lover Unbound(JR Ward) from my local bookstore. They ordered a copy for me, and when I went to pick it up, the gentleman behind the counter had to have been 70 years old, and just hearing the words "Lover Unbound" coming outta his mouth was just wrong on sooo many levels. *grin*

  9. "Even the cover image of a solitary half or fully naked man can be a bit insulting. Don't get me wrong. I admire a gorgeous man, but the cover offers no message about the book. It's like the publisher is exploiting sexuality to sell the book."

    This is why I prefer a clinch to the solitary male (although I do make an exception for my latest cover, lol! He's just too pretty.) It's like someone's saying: YOU CAN'T RESIST THE HOT MALE INSIDE YOU HORNY WOMAN!

    But with a clinch (and I don't mean the awesomely bad, flowing hair clinches of yesteryear) or a couple on the cover, even if it's sexed up, it says: this is the about the relationship between two (or more) people.

  10. Meljean ---> Well said!

    I just picked up a few books at Borders and can I say two covers are so stunningly beautiful I can't stop staring at them! Kudos to Berkley for awesome covers.

    Lucinda, Darkly by Sunny and Bond of Fire by Diane Whiteside

    Really great covers! and OMG not a half/full naked person in sight ;)

  11. The only ones that make me wince as i purchase are the kinky ones. So in light of that, en flagrante delicto is g rated in my view.


Leave a comment! I love to hear what YOU think.
[I apologize, but I've had to disallow anonymous users to comment on my blog due to an influx of spam. I'll change it back as soon as I can. Thanks for understanding.]