People usually respond in one of two ways to the phenomenon of judging a book by its cover; they mourn man’s shallowness, or they consider a book’s marketing potential. But how much does the look of a book matter? How do people feel about book covers? And how do those feelings relate to the scores that books receive on review sites like Goodreads? Several digital technology people went on a mission to find out.
A year and a half ago Dean Casalena and Nate Gagnon launched Judgey, an online game that let people rank book covers. The covers used were all modern editions of books, and all (or nearly all) of them were released by a major publishing house. The covers chosen did not belong to a single genre. Books by Ernest Hemingway and Harper Lee appeared alongside Twilight and The Hunger Games. Ultimately players of Judgey evaluated over 3 million…
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