Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover, Judge It By Its First Page 

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover, Judge It By Its First Page 
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Photo by Thomas Leuthard shows you the first page of a random popular book, stripped of identifying info. If you like it, reveal the cover; if you don’t, click “next book”.

For example, how does this strike you?

My morning swim doesn’t usually involve corpses. If it did, I’d give up swimming for something less stressful, like coaxing cobras out of baskets or my mother out of bed before ten.

Or this?

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

Or this?

Robin’s hand closed tight around the bottle of pills when she saw him standing there, a big black thumbprint smudge on the fresh-cut field of green.

You’ll find these easily enough on the site, which currently has a limited selection of titles. Or flip the script and browse all the book covers, clicking through for the first page.

If you don’t need your first pages anonymised, try the subreddit /r/firstpage, which collects the beginnings of books such as Beloved, True Grit and Paddle Your Own Canoe.


  • Of the three examples, I’d probably only pick up the first based on the lines provided.

    I’d much rather the back cover, especially if it’s one with a decent synopsis. And to be honest, if they cover artwork is relevant I’d be inclined to go with that as the first decision point, then decide whether I wanted to check the back cover. I don’t need to read any of the book to know I wouldn’t like a Mills & Boon style thing so the cover is plenty.

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