Do you read flyleaves in books?

Why or why not?

I often do. I choose books at the library by reading the shelves. When I see a title/author/spine that appeals to me, I pull the book and glance at the flyleaf to see if it looks like something I want to check out.

But it really pisses me off when they put too much info on the flyleaf. Last book I read was Blackwood by Michael Harris Smith. On the flyleaf, they mentioned a BUNCH of developments that did not happen until 176 and 226 pages into a 289 page book! In my opinion, that just gives away a little too much too late in the book.

First, thanks for teaching me a new word. Have never heard of “flyleaf”.

Second, yes I do. That is often how I pick the book if I’m browsing and don’t know the author or anything about the book.

Rarely, at the library I usually read the first few pages instead.

Sorry, but a flyleaf is a blank page at the beginning or end, put there because a full signature of text pages wasn’t possible. You literally cannot read a flyleaf.

I assume you’re talking about the back cover or back panel. Or maybe the flaps, the turned inside half pages of the dust jacket.

Sure, I read those all the time. But since publishers do such a terrible job of actually describing the book on the promo material, I flip through some pages to see how the text is pitched. If I can’t find anything that captures my attention I don’t want to read a whole book.

The pages that Dinsdale is talking about are called accolades. They are part of the front matter of a book. If they are there (and they mostly aren’t there), they come before the title page. They are similar to the back cover and the flaps, but there are inside the book, not on the dust jacket or on the covers of the book:

Thanks for the education. The dust jacket flap is what I was trying to refer to.

I’ll let Dinsdale answer what parts he actually means. It would help to know whether he’s talking about the hardback or the trade paperback because only the latter would have accolades.

I will say that I’d think it would be weird to have accolades give away plot points in a novel. Back covers, though, are too often full of spoilers that drive writers crazy. But anything is possible.

I avoid even reading the back cover, specifically to avoid spoilers. I literally judge a book by its front cover picture. This usually works for me pretty well.

When I wrote my own books, I had the darndest time coming up with verbiage for the back cover. (Since I’ve only sold paperbacks I haven’t have to worry about the flap.) What I eventually came up with was vague to to the point of being deliberately deceptive. The sequel went somewhat better, since I could fill it up somewhat with information someone would know from the first book, but even then I tried to couch the plot of the book itself in phrases vague enough to be arguably painful. (And no, I don’t imagine the vagueness has hurt sales, because I haven’t really had sales to hurt. Meh, they’re not my day job anyway.)

Is this unclear? I got the term from your post:

Sorry. Your post wasn’t there when I started writing mine and I just didn’t see it when I clicked reply.

No worries. Looks like they may have been simulposts.

Only reason I read the “accolades” on the outside back cover panel is to see if an author I like recommends it.

I read the inside cover when I’m looking around in the library. If I go to a bookshop it’s with some idea of what kind of book or even a specific book I’m going to purchase. At the library I like to have a look around and see what catches my eye. The inside cover and blurb helps with that.

It’s not clear to me if the terms “blurbs” and “accolades” mean the same thing. They both refer to something in the whole book (including dust jacket) with praises for the book. There are such things on the front and back inside and outside covers and the various parts of the dust jacket and the first few pages of the book. I don’t know if there are separate names for all these things.

If the author is known to me, I just skip to the story. If I am browsing, I read the synopsis/blurb to see if the story will appeal, then I read a page or two or several to get an idea of the writing style.

I have been reading a lot of Kindle books and the ability to browse those first few pages has introduced me to several authors that I may never have come across in my local Waterstones.