There is an important distinction between seeing something and paying attention to it, and this can influence memory. The current study examined incidental memory for the covers and authors of textbooks used in undergraduate psychology courses. Students in several courses were asked to recall the textbook cover design (Studies 1 and 2) and the name of the author of their textbook (Study 2). When the cover design was explicitly connected to a course concept, memory accuracy was positively related to performance in the course. While people may judge a book by its cover, remembering that cover may depend on how well it reflects a key concept of the book. The findings provide novel insight regarding how students attend to book covers and author information and when and why some students remember information that is not anticipated to appear on real-world course assessments. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.