Personally, I judge books by their covers all the time. I'll be picking up Liz Wiliams' The Demon and the City, which I have absolutely no time to read anytime soon (not that I wouldn't love to) specifically for the extraordinary Jon Foster artwork. Whereas there is a collection out from a golden age writer that I've always wanted to read that I simply will not buy because I cannot get passed the God-awful packaging. I know, I know. But I just can't do it.
I'd like to see more reviews take the art into question. Or else, I'd like to see more reviews of art, some thoughtful discussion of what works and what doesn't. Maybe a monthly column that discusses the merits of new works (and trends) as they emerge. There is a move, for instance, away from illustration towards design afoot in publishing right now, though I tend to side with the thoughts expressed in John Scalzi's post which praised John Picacio for producing cover illustrations which don't "hide the science fiction or fantasy elements of the work, but they do present them in a way that includes (and entices) non-readers of SF/F rather than excludes them." This is what we've tried for with most of our Pyr covers, and which I think works beautifully with a cover like River of Gods (by the brilliant Stephan Martiniere, currently a Hugo nominee).
So I am thrilled to see two new voices join the bloggosphere. One is artist John Picacio, whose blog On the Front, debuted last week. The other is Tor art director Irene Gallo. Not only does it feature a profusion of pretty pictures, but The Art Department contains some sound advice that every beginning illustrator should follow. Only a few days old and already I'm hooked.