Why Buy That Book? — 28 Comments

  1. I often by books after I’ve read an author’s blog. Social networking has definitely expanded how I find books to read – and I’m always on the search. I also use recommendation my “internet friends” put up on Facebook and Goodreads.

  2. I like Goodreads. I find their reviews honest and I can ask other readers questions about why they liked a particular book. I also utilize the free samples of books that Amazon offers. Happy reading!

  3. One thing I need to learn is when to give up on reading a book that I’m not enjoying. I usually force myself to read to the end, even if it’s torture.

  4. I don’t depend on any one avenue to help me pick the books I want to read. Sometimes I see a cover I like, or read a blurb that sounds great, and I just buy the book. Sometimes a recommendation from a friend or an online review pushes me to buy. Other times I have to be beaten over the head with it from every direction before I will take a chance. I find that I’m equally happy with my purchase in most cases. Spending money on a book I might not enjoy is part of the experience, and unless it’s a horrible let down, I usually just take it as par for the course.

  5. If I don’t like a book, I stop reading it, however good the book. I gave up on Madame Bovary because it didn’t appeal to me, apart from all those French names! Equally my books have honest blurbs so you now what you are getting! Gordon

  6. Oh yes, Cynthia, I have been there too – a group of us all regretting the month’s book choice! On the other hand, I had the joy once of being told that a reading group in Ireland had read one of my novels and had a great discussion on it, and unanimously gave it a great review. One of them took the trouble to find my email address and write to tell me. You can imagine how I felt.

  7. Good points and thanks for this. I don’t rely totally on Amazon reviews if they seem to ring false; it takes a real discerning eye to tell which are most likely genuine.

  8. I rely on online reviews by friends and bloggers, free ebook descriptions, samples, and reading the flaps and back covers at the library. Most of what I read I’ve found is not worth writing a review of on my own blog. Occasionally I find a gem among the free books I do review on my blog. I sometimes discover a bestseller at the library I wish I had not decided to read or finish.

  9. The places I head to are blogs and Goodreads for book reviews. More honesty there.

    Secondly, before I promote books for my clients, I do make sure there are glowing reviews first either by Verified purchases on Amazon or personal blogs

    I have certainly read my share of books in the past that failed to deliver.
    Happy Reading!

  10. I read a lot of French language books. I have over 800 of them (mostly paperbacks) on my shelf. Even if a book is not all that great, I at least benefit from reading the language. I used to spend hours in the bookstores in the Quartier Latin (Paris) browsing books, and then buying the ones that looked promising. Since the advent of the internet, I’ve ordered a few online. But I still have plenty of unread books in the house, including a few great classics that I’ve saved for my “golden years.” Right now, I’m rereading the first three books in Philip José Farmer’s “Riverworld” series (in French translation). I read those three books back in 1997, but, for reasons I no longer remember, I didn’t read the final two. So now, after rereading the first three books, I’ll make amends and finish the series.

  11. I have a few methods for picking books that I buy –

    1. I have favorite publishers, usually small presses. For example, if Tin House publishes it, I buy it- without reading anything about it. Tin House very rarely publishes a clunker.

    2. Reviews, usually from major publications, but occasionally from blogs or if an author I admire recommends a book. I only have a few friends with similar reading habits, so rarely is it a recommendation from a friend. I’m usually the friend doing the recommending.

    3. In bookstores I do a thing where I will pick books based on their cover. If something visually draws me to a book, I will read the first couple of paragraphs. If the paragraphs hook me, I’ll buy it without reading the back cover. It’s dicey, but this method works about 90% of the time.

    4. NetGalley- I read a lot of ARC and this is all based on a gut feeling regarding the cover and description. I’m familiar with the authors I request about 20% of the time and I end up enjoying about 80-85% of the books.

    I used to feel compelled to finish every book that I start, but now, if it doesn’t grab me within the first quarter or so, I give up. Life is too short!

  12. Saturday, December 20, 2014
    Books, Kids and the New Year
    Other thought:

    I read some distressing numbers the other day. Did you know that the percentage of U.S. adults who are unable to read at an 8th grade level is 50%? The study I was reviewing stated 46% of American adults can’t understand the labels on their medical prescriptions. It also pointed out that 33% of high school graduates will never read a book after high school and it jumps to 43% for college graduates. This one boggles my mind: 80% of U.S. families did not buy a book in the past year.

    Do you remember reading as a child? Is there a book from your early childhood that stands out in your mind that captured your imagination? If you are fortunate, you had the opportunity early in life to enjoy a book that captured you.

    I don’t remember the name of the first book that really hooked me, but it had to do with the adventures of Daniel Boone. I remember conjuring up images based on the world the pages cast into my mind. I recall I had trouble putting the book down because I very much wanted to find out what adventures I was going to be a part of next.

    My wife and I spent many a night reading to our children and we told stories too. You could see our children’s eyes staring into space as they listened to us. I would wonder what kind of images their mind’s eye had developed for them to experience.

    Sadly, so many children are in households that do not find reading books as a very important activity. Heck, as mentioned above, 80% of homes in the U.S. did not even purchase a book. Some of those kids growing up in the ever increasing number of single parent households do not have a parent who can take the time to read or tell stories as they are doing all they can to provide a roof over their heads.

    I was reading Dr. Ben Carson’s book, America the Beautiful – Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great”, and he tells the story of his single mom being concerned about the trouble he and his brother were getting into while she was working two jobs. His mom required her sons read a book weekly and complete a report on the book. The boys did not realize it at the time, but their mother could not read their reports.

    Dr. Carson and his brother were fortunate to have such a wise mother. Their mother understood the value in learning to read and comprehending what was presented.

    I found a quote by American author and poet, Maya Angelou, where she stated “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

    I stopped buying books published on paper several years ago and took the plunge to buy only electronic books I could read on my computer or tablet. It is a very convenient way to obtain books as they appear instantly on your e-reader and can be carried very easily.

    However, I found I missed the feel of a “real” book so I have now been buying the old fashion books again. I missed having the book to hold and even just look at laying there on a table or hanging out on a bookshelf. Maybe after reading a book it becomes a little part of you and that is why I like to see it laying there. There is a good reason to feel that way when you think about it. While reading, those stories, ideas and pictures become part of your mind as you envision all that the author has presented.

    The first page on this blog has a section labeled “recent favorite books” with a list of books I have read. I am not sure why it is there other than to try in a small way to encourage visitors to pick up a book. I believe it is impossible not to learn if you read.

    Back to the kids. Walter Dean Myers, who recently passed away, was an American writer of children’s books. He said, “As a young man, I saw families prosper without reading because there were always sufficient opportunities for willing workers who could follow simple instructions. This is no longer the case. Children who don’t read are, in the main, destined for lesser lives. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to change this.”

    Maybe in this New Year each of us can do a little more to help a kid learn to read and find the joy in discovering the world through books. If you have an old book you want to get rid of, please offer it to someone who can use it.

    Spending time telling stories and reading books to children can only improve our world in 2015.

  13. Thank you very much indeed for this article. I now have a few more ideas on how to get my books noticed. Your comments have been most helpful also.

  14. I go by reviews. I read as many reviews I can. Goodreads is a good place. Reading reviews is made quite easy with a smartphone. I also do a google search of author and read interviews related to book. Then I do ‘book/plot is bad’ search to see what that throws up as well.

  15. I always check the reviews on Amazon and then do the extra step of reading the free sample. With many books, the thing I’m going to dislike about it is already right there, in the first 3-4 pages. I also learned that with Amazon, if you really dislike a book, you can return it for a full refund within the first week or so. If it’s really awful, or has too many sloppy errors, you should feel totally okay with taking that option.

  16. Thanks for posting this. I appreciate your message, but got a sense that you have posted it in many locations so I’m not going to add it to this site. With you all the way on the importance of reading to our kids…actually to anyone who may find another voice comforting. Wishing you a good weekend.

  17. Reading taste is subjective. What one reader loves, another will hate, and others will find tolerable but not outstanding. For this reason, I never go by any review when choosing my reading material. I rely on my own personal tastes. Just because someone else likes or dislikes a book doesn’t mean I will feel the same way. In published reviews, too often the supposed “bad” aspect of a book is just that it didn’t fit the reviewer’s personal preferences in storyline, character, setting, or writing style. Any book by any author will have some fans and some readers who think it’s poorly written. Because definitions of “good” writing and “bad” plots differ depending on who you ask, I have learned to totally ignore online reviews. I’m the only one who knows what I like or don’t like to read.

  18. It’s really very complicated in this full of activity
    life to listen news on Television, therefore I only use world wide web for that reason, and take the latest news.

  19. Enlightening read. As an author, I’m always interested in why people choose the books they do. Discoverability is the challenge for an author, particularly with an Indie-published book. Why would anyone choose my unusual Indie book when they can read a “safe” book published by one of the traditional publishers. And I can’t blame them. Even with all the awards it has won and the amazing reviews its gotten, I have found that most of my sales come from word of mouth. Someone reads it, loves it and either buys a bunch for friends or tells friends about it. And I guess as I reader, I’m the same. I’m as interested in what someone else experienced reading a book as in the story or genre itself.

  20. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging
    on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read through content from
    other authors and use a little something from their web sites.

  21. This applies to fiction by any new author since approximately the year 2000 (because that’s about when Amazon invited everyone to become a new author):

    A. Because there are so many new authors, no one will pay attention to them unless the work has been reviewed by The New York Times and/or other major media.

    B. The New York Times and other major media will not review the work unless it has been accepted by a traditional publisher.

    C. Traditional publishers will not accept the work unless the author has “name recognition” or a reputed literary agent.

    D. Reputed literary agents will not consider the work unless the author has name recognition as a result of self-promotion and marketing on social networks; plus a compelling query letter and website; and agent replies could take many months.

    E. Participants in social networks may be offended if a new author actually promotes his or her work — which network participants smell as “spam” — unless the author has established name recognition. Even then, network managers will use that “spam” precept to nudge authors into paying for advertising space.

    F. While the author spends time and money for managing the advertising, and tracking results, and building prospect lists, and producing website “content,” and essentially doing all the work of advertising-marketing-publicity agencies . . . the author’s writing is stalled. Dead. Those “great Ideas” for future novels are rapidly becoming outdated, while the dream is slowly dying.

    G. All these barriers to author success and reader discovery were cast in stone by five Big Corporations that grabbed hundreds of smaller publishers and built fortunes from those celebrities we all know.

    H. Of course, an author with a great novel can format the text for print and eBooks, hire a cover designer, upload the manuscript and cover to Amazon and other major vendors, and hope someone of position and influence will discover the work and start a stampede. Then, and only then, can new authors achieve their dreams and destinies and fill the book shelves with the kind of books we all want.

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