Reader Friday: Your Book Buying Decisions

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You’re wandering through a bookstore on a random Saturday morning in late summer, looking for something promising to read. What makes you pull a book off the shelf? What convinces you to purchase it?

1. Title

2. Cover Art

3. Author’s Name

4. Review Blurbs

5. Scanning first page

6. Review or recommendation

7. Combination of previous factors, or something else.

Please give us more information in the Comments. Thanks!

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10 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Your Book Buying Decisions

  1. Pull it off the shelf? Author and/or recommendations from people I know/trust.
    Buy it? Back cover copy/blurb (NOT author recommendations, reviews; they only get included if they’re good, so who knows how many not-good ones there were.) Skimming a few pages.

  2. I rarely go to a chain bookstore these days. The library is where I go to look for new authors or to check out a book recommended by a friend or reviewer. Usually I’ll look at the blurb, read the first couple of pages and decide whether to give it a try. If I find a new writer to collect, I’ll usually buy online. BUT I visit our local independent bookstore occasionally. It offers a mix of old and new books and a place for local authors to place their work. The owners don’t mind if I make a cup of tea and sit down to read a chapter before deciding whether to buy.

  3. More and more I buy only from friends’ recommendations. Have found some great gems this way, stuff I would never pick up on my own. Also *might* pick up a book if it won an award (ie Edgar winner Before The Fall, which I loved, but have stumbled on some dogs this way). But I don’t trust author blurbs or back copy. I almost always read the first page or two, and have often put a book back on the shelf because of this. I’ll forgive an ugly cover if I know the book has been recommended by someone I trust because authors don’t have much control over this. And if I love a book, I will almost always go seek out more by the author.

  4. A combination. The cover needs to look like this is a serious mystery/thriller/suspense story. But it is the first page that makes or breaks my decision. If it makes me want to read it I buy it. Maybe I’ve read too many First Page Critiques on The Kill Zone.

  5. If I’m browsing in a book store, sadly rare these days, cover and title catch the eye first. Then if the author is unknown to me, I’ll read a page or so to see if it looks like it has potential.

    Mostly I buy books online now. My book buying online is different. I don’t really browse anymore so cover/title are less important. More often than not, I’ll have heard good things about the book via one of the blogs or author site I frequent and will pop over to take a look.

    With reading time limited, I do tend to take fewer risks these days. If I like an author, I will glom onto everything they’ve written. : )

  6. I read nonfiction almost exclusively. I take a topic I’m interested in, and then I look up any books that have won major awards on that subject. (Last topics researched that resulted in a book purchase: Tambora volcano, JFK history, and Lord Melbourne (because a biography of Melbourne was one of JFK’s favorite books). 😉

  7. The cover draws me in first, then the title, then the description. If I’ve read the author, great. If not, I’ll give them a try. Blurbs do very little to impress me since so many of the Big 5 have authors blurb books they’ve never read. I do rely on word-of-mouth, though. And I’m fiercely loyal. If I love an author’s work, I’ll buy everything they write. *cough, cough* Brooks and Dane

  8. Unlike the majority it seems, the cover is really not important to me. The title may intrigue me enough to pull it off the shelf if in a bookstore, or browsing online. I almost exclusively buy online or borrow online from the library. The print books are too small for my terrible eyesight and I need the adjustable font from my Kindle. The most important buying factor is the description and the preview of the first page or two. I no longer have the time or patience to “read it until it gets good.” If I am not intrigued by the first few pages I will reshelve it.

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