(Actually I have a bad habit of looking at the cover and reading the blurb only. I need to remember to read the first page or so to see if the writing intrigues as well. Surprised me when someone first told me they did that. I just never had!) But publishers hire designers to create covers that capture a reader’s attention and entice them to part with their hard earned cash. But it must also accurately capture the mood/genre/tone of the story.
In fact, if the cover doesn’t reflect the contents of the story, I feel ripped off. I mean, I’m expecting a certain sort of story if I pick up a story with this kind of cover:
If I picked up a book with this cover though, I’d be looking for an entirely different kind of tale.
Yeah, I think I'd be aggravated if I picked up a book looking for a take promised by the first novel, and found words fitting the second, and vice versa. There would be lines of disgruntled customers out the bookstore door if we couldn't judge a book by its cover. The promise of a novel begins with a glance at the cover, a quick survey of the back cover copy, through the first line, first chapter and all the way to the end. If the reader is let down at any point it can spell disaster for an author's career, and a publisher's bottom line.
What makes you pick up a book? What make you buy it? How do you feel when the story's promise isn't delivered?