The world assumes that you can't judge a book by its cover, but unless you plan on standing in a bookshop and reading the first chapter right there, there is little else that can tempt you to buy the book. Covers matter and that's all there is to it.
I was browsing in Borders yesterday, trying not to get too tempted, because it's abundantly clear with my overloaded bookcases that I DON'T need any more books, when I came across this book:
Only, it wasn't this cover that caused me to stop and almost swear out loud. It was this one:
What on earth? Who thinks it's a good idea to have a picture of Kiera Knightly on the front cover of a biography? I was less than happy when they decided to plaster her all over copies of Pride and Prejudice, but that was because I thought the film was so dreadful, and also because somehow publishers were thinking it was the only way to get certain people to buy the book. My annoyance then was personal.
This, by contrast, annoys my underlying biographer's nature. This book is about an actual, physical woman, and what right have publishers got to put Kiera Knightly on the cover, thereby confusing people and demeaning the Duchess herself? Could they have not just put 'Now a Major Film' on the original book? And what on earth is that Dianaesque 'There were three people in her marriage' strapline? Is that the best film producers could come up with?
I think I need a lie down.