Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Five Book Buying Secrets Revealed

What makes you pick up a book? Out of all the spines lining a shelf, what draws you to one over another?

Tell me you never do this: browsing through towers of books, whether in a bookstore or a library, a cover catches your eye. It's intriguing. Captivating. Maybe even inspirational. You know it houses a rollicking adventure with a kick-butt heroine. You can feel it. Your palms itch. You judge the book by its cover, glance around surreptitiously, then slip it into your stack of planned purchases. You buy it.

Actually, I'm kinda hoping you do buy books that way. Then I'd feel comforted in the knowledge that I keep dang fine company. Because, honestly, judging a book by its cover is one of the main ways I buy books.

Buying Books: People buy books for many reasons. I'm aware of that. But book lovers, people like you and me, who can't get enough of the written word, who breathe deep in the dank mustiness of used book stores, who caress the frayed edges of an old hardcover book, we buy books for different reasons. For sensual reasons. For possessive reasons. For lustful reasons.

I buy books...

1. because of the cover art: you can't judge a book by its cover, but you can sure be enticed by it. This is so unfortunate for authors, because they often have little say over the cover art.

2. because of the title: if the title is a catchy one, I'll pick up the book and read the back. Titles may not convince me to purchase a book, but they help me choose the ones to peruse more closely.

3. because the author is compared to one I already know and love: ever see those nifty little lists librarians put together? If you like XYZ, you'll love 123. I don't always trust these lists, but I definitely give them a glance over.

4. because of a friend's recommendation: For example, D. M. McReynolds just suggested that I pick up Dragon in Chains by Daniel Fox. That book totally went to the top of my radar because of his recommendation, and I'll be hunting it down soon via library or Amazon.

5. because of the buzz: I'm not even really sure why I typed this last one. I suppose it's because I'll occasionally look at a best-seller list or listen in on what's hot or glance at a publicity poster or read a book review. But not all that often, really. To be frank, I'm not that interested in what others have to say about a particular book. And if a book takes the world by storm, I usually don't read it. So, I haven't read The Da Vinci Code or any of the Harry Potter books or The Notebook. (Eeek -- I know, sacrilege!)

How about you? Why do you buy books? And what makes you initially pick up a book? follow through and purchase it?


Anonymous said...

Oh, I totally buy books for their covers. More, though, I'm looking for a specific book that was recommended to me. That's how I get 95% of my books.

Anthony said...

Word of Mouth
Summary Blurb and First page
Amazon/BookThing Recommendations

In that order!

Dogtrax said...

When I am on the hunt with no ideas for what I am looking for, I admit: the cover. Which really worries me because then it just the marketing department that is getting me and not the writer. But I suppose we are very visual people.
I rely more on other people and reviewers I trust for possible books, though. And authors that I already like.

stu said...

Because I've read everthing else in the series and no longer care if the thing is good, bad or indifferent, quite often.

Ello said...

I seriously buy books that I know nothing about based on cover and title and then blurb. Ain't that terrible?

I also buy books via recommendations and sometimes buzz if it is intriguing enough.

Amber Lynn Argyle said...

I go to my favorite second and pick up books that look favorable. Then I flip them open and start reading. If I can't put it down, I buy it.

Alex Moore said...

i guess i left out the most obvious: i buy books of authors i already know & love. after that i'm looking at the covers :)

good to hear from you all tho... sounds like i might not be the only one!!

Anonymous said...

The cover and the title attract my attention. Then I read the blurb. If I'm still interested, I open the book and read a page or two from the middle, because if I don't like the way somebody writes, the best plot in the world is wasted. If the writing is brilliant, I'll read nearly anything.

inlandempiregirl said...

I do the author thing too... if I like an author I am loyal until they disappoint me, but I even return again because every author can have "a miss". I also look on places like amazon for " if you liked this book...read this". I have found lots of new titles that way. I also search book club lists online. I figure if it makes a book group, it is probably worth a read. I also ask people that like that same type of books as me what they would recoommend.

Peter said...

I confess.. I start with the cover.. I don't always buy from the cover.. but it makes me pick it up. Although I bought one by the cover.. and it was THE worst book I've ever read.. so.. it's a crap shoot.. :)