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Friday, March 2, 2012

WHAT MAKES YOU BUY A BOOK? By Kathy Ivan

I'm in the midst of a book buying binge courtesy of a generous gift card my sister gave me, so I'm loading up my Kindle Fire with new books. As I've been browsing various sites, the choices and variety of books is mind-boggling. Which in turn got me thinking—what attracts me to certain books?

1. Cover. A striking cover on a book will definitely get me to take a second look. Whether I'm in a physical brick and mortar store or cruising the internet, an eye-catching cover will make me pause, just to find out what the story is all about.

2. Author name. Of course, we all have our favorites, right? Some are auto-buys. Some have certain series that we read every single book therein. Others are authors recommended by a friend or colleague or somebody that we know, a fellow reader who passes along his/her favorite writers.

3. Back cover. How many times have you picked a book for whatever reason, turned it over and the back cover blurb just riveted your attention from the first word? You immediately turn that book into your basket, knowing you have to have it. Other times you will read the back and right back onto the shelf it goes. A good, well-define and thought-provoking back cover is an important component when choosing a book.

4. Reading the first few pages. Okay, admit it, some of you (me included) will open the book right there in the bookstore and read the first couple of pages to get a feel for whether it is a good fit, something you would read. Does it hold your interest? Is the author's voice one you want to continue reading? On-line sites sometimes offer the first portion of a book as a "sample" which really does help because as a reader, I really like to check out what I'm buying before shelling out my hard-earned dollars on something that I might not finish.

5. Reviews by readers/review sites. While not my highest criteria, I do tend to look at some of the reviews, especially if I'm buying books on-line. Just saying . . .

How do you choose your books? Do you do the same things I've listed above, or do you have another way of findings books—I want to know.

18 comments:

Shelley Munro said...

I mostly choose by blurb, but a pretty cover sometimes seduces me :)

charitygirlblog said...

Author name and also, title. An intriguing title will tickle my fancy. But the first thing I would do is scan the first page. If the writing style doesn't appeal, I won't buy it. That's more important to me than the blurb.

Shirley Wells said...

I have what I call 'Sample Binges' on Amazon. I have dozens of books waiting to be read but, if I don't fancy any of them, I'll go and download a dozen free samples. If they grab me, I go back and hit the Buy button.

What attracts me to the samples, is a) author name, b) blurb, c) cover and title. In that order, I think. :)

Maureen A. Miller said...

I'm a cover and blurb kind of girl. My mother drives me INSANE because she will read the last two pages of the book before she buys it. What is up with that!? :)

Cathy Perkins said...

Since bricks and sticks stores are mostly spine out, the cover is less important there than online. I generally use the cover - and the title - as an indicator of the book's tone.
I have so many friends who are authors. I usually buy their books (with my Nook, at least all the new Carina Press titles aren't building a mountain in the corner of my room!)

Rita said...

While I love beautiful covers, they are not a selection point for me. They can occasionally draw my attention like icing on the cake. Since I buy mostly audio and Kindle books I have other selection criteria. There are some authors I absolutely love but would not listen to their books because I really don't like the narrator. I'd rather listen to the robotic voice on Kindle. The blurb can attract my attention but for the most part I go for the sample reads like Shirley. If it doesn't get me in the first couple of pages forget it. I also am very big on word-of-mouth. Recommendations from those I know who like the same kind of books I do.
Maureen I have a friend who reads the first and the last few pages before buying the book. She says if it doesn't end well she doesn't want to read go to the trouble of reading the middle. HUH???? She's a voracious reader. I guess whatever works.

Anne Marie Becker said...

I think the blurb is the biggest selling point for me. Author name and covers can have an impact, especially if I don't have time to browse, but I always read the blurb to see if it's something I'd enjoy.

Wynter Daniels said...

The first thing that draws me is a great cover. After that I want to check out the back cover blurb. If both are winners, I'm buying.

Vicki Batman, said...

Title, cover, back blurb, sometimes, name recognition. Those are the things that seduce me to the dark side of adding to my already huge TBR pile. LOL

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kathy!

You and I think a lot alike on this!

1. Name recognition for autor buys. If you wrote a book I loved before, chances are you're going to do it again.

2. Cover. A great cover will give me a clue as to what kind of book it is and what to expect from the author.

3. Back cover blurb. This can make me buy or put it back. What drives me crazy is when the blurb gives away too much! Don't think you're teasing me as to the big cliff hanger, because your tease has probably already told me what it is!

Elise Warner said...

I choose by reading a paragraph or two of the first chapter. Favorite authors will always tempt me and reviews that make sense.

Kathy Ivan said...

It looks like a lot of us look at books in a similar way. Back cover is important, and maybe reading the first couple of paragraphs.

Thank goodness for the samples we can get (and excerpts) to tempt us into spending more money. My TBR and TBB stacks just keeping getting higher and higher.

Thanks everybody for dropping by and commenting.

Priya said...

I love the samples too :) The cover probably draws me in though!

Janni Nell said...

If I don't know the author, a good cover and/or title will attract my attention. The next test is the blurb. If that appeals, I'll flick to the first page. Voice is really important to me, but I can usually tell within the first paragraph, sometimes the first sentence, whether I'll enjoy a book.

Taryn Elliott said...

I admit it...I'm a cover Whore. If I love the cover I'll pick up the book and read the blurb. If I'm in the store I'll open it up to a random page and read. If Im on Amazon I'll get a sample. I've been burned by too many books lately to do the auto-buy.
Well, unless it's Nora.
She always gets me. LOL

Toni Anderson said...

I'm a lot more choosey than I used to be. I have autobuy authors, and then glowing reviews of things I think I might like, and blurb, and sometimes the cover can sell me without anything else. :) Fickle little mind :)

J Wachowski said...

Wow. I NEVER go by the cover. Cover art is about the artist (or graphic designer.) Or the back cover blurb. (Usually not even written by the author!) I'll skim a blurb to see what kind of book it is--but my test is the random open.
I let the book fall open and I start reading. Usualy somewhere in the middle. Amazon sample works too but I rarely read the first page first...I toggle in a few pages.
Of course, I don't mind walking in two minutes after the movie's started either. :)

J Wachowski said...

Wow. I NEVER go by the cover. Cover art is about the artist (or graphic designer.) Or the back cover blurb. (Usually not even written by the author!) I'll skim a blurb to see what kind of book it is--but my test is the random open.
I let the book fall open and I start reading. Usualy somewhere in the middle. Amazon sample works too but I rarely read the first page first...I toggle in a few pages.
Of course, I don't mind walking in two minutes after the movie's started either. :)

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