Which One Won? When different genders prefer different covers

Have you ever run a poll on PickFu and received razor-close results? Even without a clear “winner,” it’s likely that once you take a closer look into the answers, you’ll find intriguing trends — just like one author recently did.

In this PickFu poll, author Michael Sean Comerford asked a general audience of 50 people, “Which book would you buy?”

The two options are conceptually different.

Option A features a pastel color scheme. The font is more old-timey, and on the back cover, the author includes photos of his travels. There’s a subtle reference to the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz, but it’s not obvious.

In Option B, the Oz-ness is obvious. The colors are bright and saturated, with no photos on the back.

Can you guess which one won?

And the winner is…Option A, but only by a score difference of four points. Interestingly enough, non-binary and male respondents decisively preferred Option A, while females heavily preferred Option B.

Let’s see why.

It’s all about the color

Most of the comments concentrated on the color of the covers.

Males and the non-binary respondent preferred the muted colors in Option A. “I prefer the more subtle colors – they are much more realistic,” wrote one male.

The sole non-binary respondent wrote, “I just think that the design of book A is a lot more appealing than the design of book B. Book A’s colors are muted and relaxing, Book B has ugly garish and bright colors in my opinion.”

Another male said, “The other book cover [in Option B] looks too cartoonish.”

On the other hand, females had this to say about Option B, their majority favorite choice:

  • “The cover photo is more colorful, exciting, and inviting.”
  • “The bold happy colors from Choice B attract your eye immediately and give you a sense of warmth and a need to know more about the book itself. Choice A is nice but it would just blend in with everything else that’s available on a bookshelf.”

If the author intends for the book to appeal to an audience of males, females, and non-binary people alike, he might need to adjust the covers to meet somewhere in the middle and re-test them on PickFu. Or, the author could add more respondents to this existing poll to see whether the results stay close.

The golden road

Some females loved the bright yellow road in Option B.

“The cover with the golden path is inviting to the consumer,” wrote one respondent. “I felt like I was being invited to come read the book and acquire knowledge about the subject matter, which is carnivals,” she said.

The Wizard of Oz connection confused other respondents.

“This book has nothing to do with the actual Wizard of Oz book so I chose [Option] A because there will be no confusion with the movie. [Option] B looks too much like the concept of the movie and I think people would get confused that it has no link to the movie.”

This is something for the author to keep in mind: is the book Wizard of Oz-themed in some way, or not? Is the cover misleading, or not?

Key takeaways

If the author wants to sell the book to a primarily male audience, he can stick with Option A. But for a female audience, he’ll need to go with Option B. To appeal to everyone, he’ll have to find a balance between the two or add more respondents to the poll to see whether the results hold.

This author should consider whether the allusion to Oz is serving or disserving his book’s audience. If he wishes to keep it, he should ensure that the stories inside deliver on the promise of Oz.

Do you have book covers ready to put to the test? Create a poll on PickFu today to find the perfect one.


Learn More:Authors improve their book marketing efforts by using PickFu to test book titles and covers with potential readers targeted by literary preferencenumber of books read per month, and more.

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