It’s a rather simple “looking” question but it’s also very complex and confusing.
To me, books are an investment. They’re part of my entertainment and escape to different worlds, characters, and situations.
Sometimes, I’ll wander through the book store and nothing appeals to me. I make excuses at every turn. It’s too big, it looks heavy, the print is too small, blah blah blah….
Other days I have to stop myself from buying everything in site. Dangerous.
So, what makes YOU buy a book?
Do you simply buy the authors you know?
Is it the color of the book jacket? The picture? The font?
Word of mouth?
What? What makes you slap down the money and actually make that book purchase?
I have a tendency to buy authors I either know or who’ve been recommended by others. If you have a recommendation, leave it in the comments–but I still want to know why you’d recommend them.
Please leave an answer below because this could help not only me but many writers too.
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25 thoughts on “Your Help Is Hereby Requested–Just One Simple Question. Can you Help? What Makes You Buy a Book?”
The books I buy are either from authors I know, either personally or on-line, or by word of mouth.
Thanks Sally. I like to support the authors I know as well.
Word of mouth, liked the author before, or if in a bookshop the cover or spine or personal endorsement from someone in the shop
Interesting. I do the same. Especially with authors I’ve read before. thanks Beth.
If it’s non-fiction that I think I’m going to refer to over and over again, I’ll buy it. If possible, I check it out of the library first to make sure it’s what I need, but that’s usually not possible and I have to judge by online reviews, samples etc.
These days, I rarely buy fiction — although I read a lot of it! I can’t justify it if it’s something I might not like, or that I’ll read only once. So, I use the library a LOT.
The last few novels I’ve bought are (mostly, but not entirely, self-published) books I’ve bought to support the authors. Either because I know them, or because I think it’s important to support them (e.g. the author is a person of colour).
I also have some really long novels that I’ve bought recently that I probably wouldn’t be able to finish in time if I borrowed them (e.g. Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth). And I also occasionally buy an e-book that the publisher has put on sale for $1.99 or something.
That’s probably more information that you wanted. But you did ask. 😂
lol…That’s awesome Zena! Wow… I’ll admit that I’m lazy about going to the library. I know I can do it online to order etc but dang I can’t keep track of time and get them back in time. I think I need to revisit that.
I like that you mentioned reviews. This is so important for the author but so overlooked by the reader and yet the reader too depends on them. If I’m scanning online audio or text I’ll always read the reviews. Can’t help it.
I will admit though being sucked in by a great cover though.
Oh, for sure, covers I see on Instagram have persuaded me to read books! Most recently, I read The Lost Apothecary because I kept seeing that beautiful cover online. But I borrowed it from the library, I didn’t buy it. (I was probably about five millionth in line, but that’s ok. I usually don’t mind waiting.)
And, yes, online access to the library is crucial for me. During COVID, the library hasn’t been charging overdue fees, but when I’ve been charged in the past because I haven’t kept track of due dates, I remind myself that it was still cheaper than buying the book — and the money goes to a good cause! 🙂
You are so right about the library. Maybe I need to revisit that.
I love a great cover. I’m drawn to color. I know there’s big science behind that…and the title too…and don’t forget the tag line…I’m a marketer’s target for sure.
Five millionth, eh? lmao….
Similar to Zena’s answer… Most of the books I read are from the library. I’ll also buy books in thrift shops, mostly nonfiction and memoirs I can’t find at the library. I’ll pay full price to buy books to support local authors, especially if I attend a reading or book launch event. Perhaps if I had more disposable cash, I’d consider buying more books, but even then, I probably wouldn’t buy a new book unless I’ve already read it and want my own copy. I spend tons of time on Goodreads, checking out reviews and searching for books I might like.
Oh, yes, I try to buy used books too — usually through Abe Books online.
Goodreads is wonderful and I make use of it a lot too. I should note, though, that negative reviews don’t put me off and I don’t judge by the average number of stars. Sometimes, someone else’s negative review is exactly what makes me want to read a book — they don’t like something that sounds like something I’d like!
RE: Goodreads. At the Word on the Lake Festival, one of the presenters was adamant in one of the panels about Goodreads being a site for READERS–not for AUTHORS.
I found this really interesting as the speaker said authors should not check out their work there because the reviews can be so damaging.
I find that sometimes. But if a review is super negative it makes me ask why and I’m then intrigued by what set the reader off. When it’s craft then the author needs to own it but story outweighs that.
Omg…now i’m rambling.
I too love thrift stores or Penticton’s 2nd hand book store–if you haven’t been you’re missing the largest used book store in Western Canada (I’m pretty sure thats correct but just in case don’t quote me…lol)
Either way, I have no issues with second hand books.
I’m funny though and perhaps a book snob but there’s just something about a new, fresh, unmarked book that seduces me to open my wallet.
I hope the sales of your book are going well. xo
Okay, it may be shallow, first, I look at the cover, the second I do is read the blurb on the back, then I look at the print size I didn’t use to do that, but now I’m old and need the extra font size.
If everything checks out, I bring the book home and put it on my TBR pile. How do I choose one in my TBR pile that’s a harder story? I buy some books that looked good and intellectual when I picked them out now I just can’t get my head into reading the history of whatever. I read mostly what I write modern romantic comedies.
Hey Billie. No, not the least bit shallow.
Color, cover, and blurb are my first go-to’s. I do the same as you….buy and add to my TBR pile. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a brand new pretty book in my room…lol.
I also do a lot of audio books too just because of time and I can listen at night. But my process is the same. I try and read outside my genre but end up pulled to thriller/suspense.
For me it’s all about the words. I randomly open a book at various places and read little bits, to find out if the way the author uses words resonates with me. When looking at books online, I find sites with a ‘Look Inside’ or a ‘Preview’ feature, to get a feel for the writing. It doesn’t matter what the cover looks like, or whether it’s a book in my favourite genre, if I don’t like the writer’s way of writing, I won’t buy the book. I love intimate, friendly writing with words that have been carefully chosen; writing which has been worked on a great deal to get just the right voice. Plot is important, but less important than words that are going to transport me with their beauty.
Hi Brenda. Thanks so much for stopping by. I so agree with you about reading small bits etc. I too love the “look inside”. Like you I look for excellent writing. Books aren’t cheap and they really are an investment. Even with an audiobook, if I listen to the sample and the voice is grating or the words feel contrived, I pass. It’s so arbitrary and yet there’s ‘science’ behind it.
I find it interesting that the cover doesn’t matter. For me that’s the first appeal or draw but I’m with you about the writing.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It really is appreciated.
I used to buy books all the time, when I had a bigger house. But then we had to move, and then subsequently moved each year. Now we’ve been in our current house for 6 yrs, however it’s not big enough to hold all the books I’ve read. Or would like to read. So, I get books from either the library or buy the kindle version if they don’t have what I’m looking for.
That said, jacket or cover art influences whether or not I’ll get a book. And I usually stick with fantasy genres if I’m reading for fun. If not, I choose books on parenting. Also, once I find a book I like, I read all the books in the series or by the author.
Hi KS! This is awesome. I too used to buy more books…hard covers through the ‘book club’ if you can believe it! I so get it about having space. It’s tough. I love that you’re drawn by the book cover.
Some are so gorgeous they’re hard to resist.There must be science behind that I’m sure. I think we’re very similar in finding an author and sticking with it. Why change up a good thing, right? Thanks so much for your input KS! It is so appreciated. xo
Idk what happened 😕. I thought I replied to this.
Anyway, there was a 13 book series started by Robert Jordan that spanned quite a number of years,, but he died during or before book 11 (I think), so the publisher found someone else to finish the series. And miraculously Brandon Sanderson did a really great job. He made you feel like you were reading Robert Jordan. It was pretty cool being able to finish the series, even though the original author passed away.
That is awesome. Thanks for sharing. xo
First I look at the author – is it someone I’ve read and enjoyed? Someone I know or know of?
Next I look at the back cover blurb – does it entice me to want to read the story? Is it a genre I’m familiar with or enjoy? Or, will this book I’m considering teach me something I don’t know.
Third I look at the cover – not as important as the back cover blurb but also a big draw. The cover should tell me something about the story within the covers.
I prefer my books to be in print and will spend money on a good looking book that is full of promise.
Hi Marion! I love it. I’m the same. I too “will spend money on a good looking book that is full of promise.” That is such a great take away, isn’t it? For any author they need to know what readers are looking at and really focus on making them stand out somehow. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. It is greatly appreciated. xo
Hi Faye. What a great question. I’ve had to sit and ponder my answer and am clear now when I say that book covers often catch my attention but it is always, always the description of the book that makes me ‘slap my money down’ and buy it.
lol…I love that you “slap’ your money down…Me Too!! the picture for me is the first….eat with my eyes so to speak and then the back cover and maybe even the first couple of pages…But I like to buy. I like to have them all as my own. lol.