Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What Makes You Buy a Book?

It's no secret that I'm a huge supporter of buying books. I buy too many books myself and encourage others to buy books as well when it's possible for them.

But I was just curious today about what goes into the actual decision of buying books for you. Especially those of you who buy few books new. For our purposes today, this discussion is about NEW books.

I went to Barnes & Noble because I had a coupon, which I recognize is not really a very good reason to go. I ooohed and aaahed over all the pretty books and ended up getting some. (what a shock) I decided to buy books that I discovered while browsing. I tend to buy books in genres I don't often receive for review (which, once I start reviewing them that usually changes) and speculative fiction has been my latest draw. I felt like since I discovered those books in B&N, they deserved the sales. (Yes welcome to my crazy mind) One book I bought because it was by a Japanese author (yes that's pretty much all it took...a horror book by a Japanese author) and one because it looked good and I noted a few blogger blurbs in the covers.

Really, I don't labor over the decision. I don't like to deny myself.

But what about you? Do you like to see a certain number of favorable reviews first? Do you check out an author's blog or read excerpts or see who has endorsed it? Do you only buy books by authors you already love? Or do you buy books you can't find in your library? Or do you just not buy books at all?

This is not endorsed by any marketing company by the way...this is just me being downright nosy!



Amy

38 comments:

Witch Baby said...

Personally - all it takes is for someone to say, Hey let's go grab a coffee! Usually, that means the local Books A Million for a latte from Joe Muggs and then bam! I'm walking out with a bunch of books.

I'm the same way - I work hard from my money & I don't like to deny myself books.

infiniteshelf said...

Since I discovered reading communities last fall, I started paying more attention to reviews. Sometimes I'll read a book no matter what, because I have to see by myself. But there are so many book I want to read that I try to be more careful.

But I have the same strange feeling you have in a bookstore : I tend to buy a book at bookstore if it's where I discovered it! I'm also easily influenced by cool titles + pretty covers. You could sell me a book on penguin politics if the cover was pretty (oooh! penguins!) Let's just say I'm an easy target for book marketing!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Generally, if I find myself in a Borders, I must have a coupon in hand. I first wander to the sale shelf...buy one get one free, everything under $5, those kinds of things. I've found some great books there! But beyond that, I usually have my list in hand. I will rarely buy on impulse, and almost never full price. I also buy books on my Kindle, but that isn't really a browsing experience. I buy from my list here, too. I am too darned structured, aren't I?

Meghan said...

When I actually get a full-time job (crossing my fingers for ASAP after my MA ends this fall) I know I'm going to do the exact same thing you do. Go into a bookstore, browse around, pick a couple of books to take with me. After my involvement in book blogging, I really want to support publishing, authors, brick and mortar stores, etc. more than I do now, but I can't afford it really. I still buy new books, but mostly from Amazon. I actually bought 3 yesterday. Big factors in my decision these days are whether I will get it for review, whether it will show up in my library if it's not there already, and how long I can wait for it to come out in paperback. I always know about the book beforehand, I pretty much never go to a store and impulse buy.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I buy books based on my favorite authors and favorable reviews I read on blogs and on-line websites. When I go to a bookstore, I will look over the shelves for any new authors and reads.

mountainsofbooks said...

I buy books that I've heard other bloggers talk about and intrigued me or books I've been wanting for awhile. Rarely, I'll buy a book from a big name like B&N or Borders, but if I do it's usually a book I can't find elsewhere. I get most of my books from thrift stores and used book stores. I don't get too many new books that way, but I like the classics and every once and a while I find a book that I've never heard of and sounds interesting.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Most of the books I buy are gifts for someone else. (I'm in stores a lot, so eveyone knows to expect books for Christmas!) I usually buy non-fiction as gifts, so subject matter is the most important, plus does the book have photos? For myself, I love beautiful, intricate cover art on a book, so that will draw me in and if the synopsis sounds good, I buy. Oddly enough, I never look for reviews or awards or best seller status, either.

L. Diane Wolfe
www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
www.spunkonastick.net
www.thecircleoffriends.net

Lezlie said...

No reviews required here! Like you, I'm a book buyer. I utilize the library *a lot*, but that doesn't stop me from piling purchased books all over my house. I don't need much of a reason. If the book appeals to me for whatever reason when I'm in a buying mode, it comes home with me.

Lezlie

Jess said...

If it a series that I love, then I will buy the next book. Or if I really want to read something, but it is so popular I won't get it for months from the library. Or when I have a gift card. That's usually when I buy a book. Last week, I bought an ebook from Barnes and Noble, it was a great experience. I don't think I could read books off my computer all the time, but every once in a while would be okay.

Jennsbookshelf said...

Now you know you have to tell me about the Japanese horror book you picked up!

And that's exactly how I decide when to buy a book. When I hear a recommendation from a valued source. I have a huge list of books I want to buy, based on reviews I've seen on blogs. If I have a coupon (I'm really bad about not buying things unless they are on sale or if I have a coupon) I'll treat myself to a book or two. I also tend to buy books by authors whose writing I cherish. Those are usually preordered and arrive on my porch the day they are released :).

kimcassidy said...

I'm like a bird building a nest when I enter a bookstore. I'm excited to begin with to be around so many books, then I flit from here to there with no apparent mode of operation to an observer, but there is to me. I gravitate towards certain genres, but will pause at things that catch my interest visually like a colorful or shiny cover. Certain artwork will get my attention as will titles. Once I lay my hands on a book, I flip it over to read the synopsis and/or the recommendations to see what publishers or authors have to say. I sometimes DON'T read the synopsis because even tiny bits can spoil for me so I skim it looking for the general theme and anything of peculiarity that will make it something new that I just have to know about. If it's still in my hand by this time, it'll generally get carried around with me until I reach my limit which means I can't physically carry any more. At that point I stop and put them all down and do a sort of elimination round until I have a comfortable amount to carry and then I check out. Some other factors that figure in are definitely blogs or reviews I've read previously, authors I love, series I'm reading, recommendations. Those things are often what brings me to the book store to begin with, the one book I am there to get, but once I'm there it's somewhat impulsive but choosy, if that makes sense. Great question Amy.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

If I'm going to buy a new book or a book not on sale, I usually buy one that I've read good reviews of. But, I tend to buy a lot of my books used or on clearance, and with those I'm more inclined to just pick something up that looks interesting and give it a try.

But like Meghan said above, once I have a full time job and money, I think I'll be more inclined to buy more books new, but for now that's just not really feasible :)

Tracie said...

It completely depends...I usually buy books from my favorite authors or I buy books that I know I won't be able to find at the libray or I buy a book completely on a whim because the story sounds good or the cover is pretty.

I would buy all of the books that I read, but the morgage dictates that my money be spend else where, so I try to be selective on my "buying" purchases.

bermudaonion said...

I usually buy books based on positive reviews from sources I trust. The last book I bought was for a gift, though, and I bought it because it was on my son's wish list.

Jeanne said...

I make lists of books when I read reviews, and then look them up at the library. If the library doesn't have them, then I look for them at a bookstore, usually buy one or two, and put some of them on my wishlist.

Often when I go to the bookstore I am in search of a particular book that I am intent on buying. I'll be looking for Atwood's The Year of the Flood this September, for example.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

A coupon from B&N will totally get me over there, which tends to have only one ending, which is buying at least one book! What I buy pretty much depends on my mood that day, but I am generally unwilling to buy a hardback because it's so much.

claire said...

I buy a book, new, when I'm absolutely SURE I'll love it and want to keep it. That means, for me, only classics, prize-winners, literary fiction. I do read other genre like YA and fantasy, but rarely will I buy them (except Tolkien) brand new. I think a lot about my choices because as we all do, there are a gazillion books I want to buy but usually only have enough cash for one or two at a time. So I spend way too much time browsing and trying to come up with a decision, lol. I'm also drawn to lovely covers so if a book I want has a terrible cover I won't buy it until I find a better one. :)

Renay said...

All my book buying this year is the fault of bloggers, and I'm WEAK. So weak. Thanks a lot guys, I hope you're prepared to buy me some new shelves. >>

Beth F said...

I have absolutely no system. I wander around the bookstore looking at the new books, the old books, what someone else is taking off the shelf... I wander from section to section, I look at the sale tables and the promo tables. Covers call to me and then I'll read the summary. If the summary sounds good, that's all I need. I don't read the quotations on the back.

I also read reviews (blogs, print, online), so when I see a title or author I recognize, I'll definitely be motivated to buy.

I believe in buying books. I buy audio and print and eBooks. I also check books out of the library.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I feel like my answer is: All of the above. :)

The closest big book store to me is an hour away, a Barnes and Noble. I fondly refer to it as my mother ship. Whenever I am in the area I have to (seriously, I mean HAVE TO) stop in. I love the smell, the look, oh.... but that isnt the question here...

I do buy new, although I prefer the garage sale/Library sale find, there is something to be said for a new book. I dont think I have ever just browsed in any book store.... I always leave with something.

The decision is rarely premeditated as to what to buy. I usually browse a bit, and yes, reviews from bloggers do play a part if I see a book that I liked due to a review. Other times it can be a favorite author who has a new book out, or it can be a random treasure I find in the bargain bin.

If my interest in the book came from a book blogger I may have checked out links they had on their page to tell more about the author or the book otherwise I can not think of a time that I really researched a book or author before the purchase.

Nymeth said...

I feel that these days I should be listing what doesn't make me want to buy a book :P But seriously, I have come to really rely on recommendations. I'm much more likely to buy a book if I'm at least vaguely familiar with it, even if I can't quite remember who reviewed it or even if they liked it. For books I haven't heard of before, I'm likely to be swayed by irresistible covers, unique premises, or blurbs by authors I love.

Trish said...

This is actually kind of sick, but I BOUGHT 20 books last week. All but 2 were used, so I didn't spend a lot of money. Most I got in the clearance section of Half Price Books for a dollar and most of them were because I recognized the author's name already--most were titles I didn't recognize, though. Only one author I didn't know before, but the cover was pretty. :) I picked up a few to fulfill challenges and one for our book club meeting next month. Some of these books, like Nefertiti, Drood, Speak, and a Sarah Dressen book were because of blogger reviews (although I've seen so many I can't credit ONE blogger), but the rest just looked good or I like the author.

I usually head to the bookstore with an agenda and list. Except for the clearance section at HPB, I don't browse shop. Ever. Although, if something *really* catches my eye I'll think about getting it. Has to be a pretty darn good cover, though! And I usually don't go to the bookstore unless I have a coupon. Those Borders coupons are evil, I swear. For some reason when that 40% coupon comes via email, I just can't hit that delete button. :)

sarah pekkanen said...

There are so many reasons why I buy a book, but recommendations from bloggers, newspaper reviews, or friends usually count the most. But sometimes I also like just strolling down the aisles, seeing what grabs my attention. Good cover art, a compelling jacket description, placement of the book in a little section next to other books I've loved all come into play.

Priya said...

Most of the time, I walk into a bookstore, get a specific book I want, buy it, and walk right out. But when I'm browsing for something good to buy, I usually look at the summary first, then read a couple pages, then look at blurbs. I usually end up going with fantasy. :)

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

What do you mean, a coupon is not a valid reason for going book shopping?!? I'm always telling my husband how much I SAVED by going shopping. No, I'm not trying to be funny, it's my dawn-onomics plan!

Amy, I buy books for all the reasons that are already listed. I keep a wish list, but I don't stick to it. I especially like taking my kids book shopping, and seeing what attracts their attention on the shelves.

Linda said...

I have a list of known writers that I want to read. So if I have a coupon/certificate, I may buy one of them. I usually read the blog/blurbs/back covers about the book also. That's a must. I do buy a lot of used books, as my budget calls for that. Or highly discounted ones through search engines.

Vera said...

Oh gosh, this is a sore topic since I buy too many books! I almost always buy from Amazon or the bargain section online at BN, since I think regular bookstores are overpriced. Every now and then I'll buy a book or two from a small local bookstore just to support them.

That said, I do read reviews and blog reviews definitely factor into my decisions. Other time, I just got for the pretty cover! :) I have certain genres that I enjoy, and certainly a few authors whose new books I just HAVE to read.

Amee said...

I buy when I think I'll like it. That could be after reading the summary, reading a review, or having a friend recommend it. I don't really need so many reasons before I consider buying a book. Sometimes it might take 3 or 4 reviews or sightings of the book before it finally sinks into my mind as something I might like, but otherwise, I don't worry too much. :)

Dar said...

Ugggh, I'm so bad. I buy just as many, if not more books than I have coming into the house for review. I buy online and I buy instore. At the bookstore I like to browse and often I come home with something I've never heard of. There are several of those kind on my shelves. My favorite authors I will buy their books and even through blogger reviews - if something sounds really good I'll buy a copy. I do believe in supporting authors in terms of sales for their novels.

Veens said...

For me, I buy mostly books I have already heard of. If I have to buy a completely new book out of the blue, the blurb should be really convincing!

And I buy ALL the books I read. Except for some that are gifts and some that i win ")

Lorin said...

I used to buy a lot more but lately I've been trying to save money and only buy the books I really want to own. In some ways, book shopping has gotten almost stressful. I spend so much time wavering on whether a certain book is worth the money and (very, very limited) shelf space. There are just so many books I want, its hard to pick just a few!

Carolina Gal's Literary Cafe said...

I mainly do the same thing that all of you. I have a excuse a coupon at hand and walk out with books I should not have. I say every Tues.(delivery day of new books) to just look . But what happens I walk out with a load. I am studying for a test at BN but what happens I end up at the book stacks instead. I have a excuse to go to Costco to buy hot dogs. Instead where do I head first, to the books. I end up at least taking home at least 4. I buy books for the synopsis of the book jacket. But mainly for the art design on the cover. That is what gets me to buy the books. I am sure book marketing is a big business. We book buyers are such suckers, aren't we.

Debbie's World of Books said...

There are several things that would make me buy a book. First off there are my favorite authors whose books I buy no matter what. Then there are the ones I've seen positive reviews on by several of the bloggers I follow and seem to have similar tastes with. Then I finally have to admit I'm a sucker for a good cover. If I see a really cool cover and like the book blurb I'll buy it if I have a discount coupon.

Kelly said...

I'm the most aimless shopper ever, with the exception that I hit the bargain/remainder tables first. Then I just sort of meander, if a book catches my eye, I read the blurb and then..maybe yep, maybe nope.

Memory said...

Almost all my new book purchases support authors I've already read and enjoyed. If I really enjoyed the first book in a series, I might buy the others new. If I realize that I've only ever purchased used copies of a favourite author's work, I might go out of my way to purchase their latest book in hardcover.

I don't often take a chance on a new-to-me author. Even if I've never read one of their solo novels, I've perhaps read a collaborative effort or some of their short fiction. Books aren't over the moon expensive here in Canada, but they still cost enough that I'm leery of paying new book prices for things I'm not sure about. On top of that, I'm currently trying to reduce my TBR list, and that means that I'm purchasing very few new-to-me authors this year. I do hope to start engaging in a little more risky reading once my TBR has gone down in size.

Serena said...

generally I buy very few new books, simply because we are in a financial pinch.

what makes me buy a book is either book reviews from bloggers in favor of a book I would have probably picked up to read the cover of anyway or a random selection from the poetry section of the bookstore.

I hope that answers your question.

~Mary said...

LOOOVE to buy books. Which can be a problem if I'm not careful. So i try and stay away from the book store unless I've got money to spend. Which can be depressing...so I go to the local library. But most of the time they don't have what I am REALLY wanting to read...but I can usually find something.

I go into the bookstore/library and let the books speak to me...weird I know. But I run my hands over their covers, and let something up out to me...then I pick it up and read the summary...I am most always delighted with my finds! The books find me!

heidenkind said...

These days I only buy books from my favorite authors; otherwise I get them at the library. I would love to just buy and buy and buy books, but I'm unemployed at the moment, so it's not going to happen. :(

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