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Tag Archives: buying books

I am in the last days before turning in Leo’s Story, the book connected to The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, so naturally I’m in panic mode. Forgive a brief blog.

My son’s birthday is today so over the weekend my in-laws came, my son and his girlfriend, her cat and her dog. Needless to say it was a busy but fun-filled weekend for everyone except my cats. One cat immediately terrorized the dog, one didn’t care, and the other two hid the entire time.

My mother-in-law, one of my greatest supporters, had bragged about me writing books to one of her friends in Williamsburg and found me another potential reader. The problem is there is no bookstore in Williamsburg that sells Harlequin Historicals, at least the last time I looked (see Where In Williamsburg Can You Buy Diane’s Book, my 12/31/2007 blog).

This got me to thinking…Where do you buy books these days? There’s been much press about ebook sales rising dramatically and about Borders financial woes. Book selling seems to be in the throes of change.
My book buying habits have changed in recent years, I’ll admit. The fiction I buy is almost always through Amazon for my Kindle. My research books are almost always purchased online. I don’t spend nearly as much time browsing bookstores as I used to.
So a little survey (a la Carolyn, who does this so much better).
Where do you buy books?
1. Online? If so, which vendor?
2. Bookstores? Which one?
3. Other stores, like Walmart, Kmart, Target, etc?
4. What do you purchase more of these days, ebooks or print books?
Commenting will earn you a chance to win a signed copy of The Marriage Bargain, one of my Diane Perkins books or an ebook download of any one of my Gaston books.
How’s that for feeling guilty for not having a proper blog posting???
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A novel requires some measure of structure to hold it together, a plot tends to work nicely for this. To deconstruct a bit, traditionally, a novel is divided into chapters and at one time was even commonly divided into physically separate volumes. Over time, the result of the separate volumes has been the unhappy event of missing volumes. If I had only volumes 1 and 2 of the original Pride and Prejudice I think I would be very sad. (I don’t have any, by the way.) But I do have single volumes of other very old books.

I’ve heard only anecdotally that the reason for separate volumes stemmed from the convenience of being able to pass on volume 1 to the next reader while proceeding with volume 2. I’ve never come across this as any more than speculation. Personally, I suspect the volume decision was a financial one and/or a limitation of the materials at hand, and the fact that the separate volumes could be passed on so that readers didn’t have to wait for someone to finish the entire book was simply fortuitous for the customer. Perhaps in my copious spare time I’ll try to track that down.

The historical practice of physically separate volumes has gone by the wayside, thank goodness, because imagine the horror of your TBR pile if your favorite historical romance (let’s say it’s Scandal by yours truly) came in three volumes and now that you finally have time to read this lovely book, you discover you’re missing volume two. Or the book eating cat (we have one of those) has managed to drag volume three under the bed for a nice snack of the opening chapters. Or that you picked up all three volumes on your way to the airport but only when you’re at 40,000 feet do you discover you have the volume one of some other book.

If books today still came in separate volumes, would each volume have different cover art? This, of course, was not an issue back in the day. You either went cheap and kept your books in their original boards (what would the neighbors think of that?) or you bound them yourself, probably in Morocco leather. And since Carolyn Jewel of 1815 would surely have been Lady Readerham (married to the dashing and wholly reformed rake the earl of Readerham— I assure you, we had quite the tumultuous courtship and that the story about how he got that scar is completely false. There were never any crocodiles in the moat.) At any rate, I would have a nice little coronet to have embossed on the covers of the books in my library.

But that was then. (Would have been then?) What about today? Would bookstores today even allow you to buy single volumes of a multi-volume work? Or would there soon be a healthy after-market source for orphaned volumes? Maybe there’d be special deals, Buy Volumes 1 and 2, get Volume 3 for half off!

What do you think? And if you lived in 1815, who would you be and what would be in your library? Sorry, Lord Readerham is taken.

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First some vaguely related but blatant self-promotion: I’ve just found out that A Most Lamentable Comedy‘s release has been pushed back to July 23 which is great news because I’ll be a beach read and possibly sign at the 2009 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing in Washington, DC, July 15.

I’ve been trying to figure out what makes me buy a book and looking back over my buying/reading habits. The last two books I bought were at Heathrow Airport by two tried and true authors, Kate Atkinson and Nicci French (mystery/suspense writers) and not yet available in paperback here. There was a bookstore promotion of 50% off the second book and I had cash to use up.

So I don’t think that really counts. Besides, the real question is why you would take a chance with squandering your hard-earned cash on a writer or book you don’t really know anything about.

Do you think reviews, official and reader comments on such sites as Goodreads help?

Yet another lack luster Regency romance. I don’t know why I persist in reading these.

Awesomely funny book. Fast read, but so enjoyable.

Uh, probably not. Yes, they are talking about the same book (The Rules of Gentility).

Friends’ recommendations? My major going to bookstore and drinking cups of coffee friend and I have polar opposites in reading tastes– so far we agree only on a few, and even fewer that I have recommended. So far our only 100% agreement is Naomi Novik, my recommendation after she and her husband had read all of Patrick O’Brien’s books.

Back cover blurbs? Maybe…

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.

Yes, I’m cheating. That was a one-sentence summary of The Wizard of Oz, created, with his tongue firmly in cheek, by Rick Polito of the Marin Independent Journal, according to this movie trivia page.

Covers? Oh lord no. Just try doing a google image search on bad romance covers and see what you come up with. (Does the one on the right remind you of an old-fashioned butcher’s shop? I had trouble even defining what part of the male anatomy it was).

I’m somewhat influenced by cover quotes from other writers and also by those helpful signs on Amazon, and in bookstores and libraries of If you liked this… although sometimes I find them wildly off mark.

My suspicion is that we’re manipulated far more by website and distributors than we really like to think. How many times have you wandered into a bookstore thinking you might possibly just buy one book and then find yourself leaving with an armful? Or cranked up your Amazon order to meet the free shipping amount?

What do you think? And share with us the last new author or book you took a chance on, and, if you can, why you did.

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