Many of us are guilty of being bias towards a particular genre, theme or storyline and base our decision to read a book solely on its cover. But what if you couldn’t see a book’s cover and had to decide whether or not to read it from a few descriptive words? A number of bookstores in New York City and even abroad in Australia have implemented this new “Blind Date” system which matches up an unsuspecting reader with a new book that indeed takes them out of their comfort zone.
According to an article written by Kristy Raffensberger entitled “Do You Judge a Book by Its Cover?” the New York Public Library’s Webster branch experimented with these “Blind Date” books and it was met with great success. The staff themselves picked out a number of books in which they wrapped in brown paper, wrote a list of words or a short description which they placed on its cover, then put them on display.
If a customer was interested in purchasing one of these books, they would read the written description, make their decision, and it’s theirs. Raffensberger also mentions one book that was wrapped with the description “ 3,856 stories. One book.” which was unwrapped by a girl and turned out to be a graphic novel. While this book isn’t one that the girl would normally read, Raffensberger explained that it is indeed a great book and should be given a chance.
Elizabeth’s Bookshop in Newtown, Australia is another destination for “Blind Date” books. According to Matt Pearson, a few carefully chosen words on a blank canvas should be enough to pick out a book to give to a certain special someone as a Valentine’s Day gift or for any occasion. Elizabeth’s Bookshop has been selling these books for almost two years now and they’ve been a huge hit with customers. Melanie Prosser, the store manager states “People have such a hard time choosing what to read and you do tend to judge a book on what you see, so this takes all the choice out of it”. It is almost natural for a reader to gravitate to genres or storylines that they know they will enjoy and are comfortable with. On the other hand, stepping outside of your comfort zone is a great way to deepen your literary range. Prosser also states that these books are great as gifts because they eliminate the stress of picking the perfect gift while reducing the blame if the recipient doesn’t like it.
Many people look at books as a way to escape or to delve into the reality of someone else whether through fiction or non-fiction. While a person may be perfectly comfortable reading one type of book and enjoying one type of storyline, “Blind Date” books give readers the opportunity to let the books choose them and not the other way around. Instead of choosing to read a book with our eyes, we are now forced to use our instinct.
Do You Judge a Book by Its Cover?
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