How important is the "outside" of a book? Do you pick up a new book based strictly on the looks of the cover? Is it the color or the photo that catches your eye first?
That's a hard one for me to answer. When I'm standing in front of a rack of romance novels, scanning the covers, most of the time its the color that catches my eye first. Any cover that is predominately purple screams at me "check me out!!"
The next thing that catches my eye are some spectacular abs... the more room they take up on the cover the better. If there happens to be a kilt below those abs, that cover gets bonus points. Of course, not too many modern men wear kilts.... unless you happen to live in Scotland or Ireland...
Once I have picked up a book, the back cover has got to have some intriguing info about the story, or the book goes immediately back on the shelf. If the back cover gets me interested, the next thing I do is check out page 90-100 inside the book. If that looks interesting, the book goes in my shopping cart. If not, back on the shelf.
What are the criteria that you use when judging a book by it's cover??