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.
I rarely do impulse buying (tight budget) so basically I keep a list of books I want and refine it as time goes on.
Books get on that list based on recommendations and/or reviews by people whose tastes I know well enough to extrapolate to my own.
The last book I bought, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, caught my eye because several such mentions.
The vast majority of my bookbuying choices come from past experience with an author, good word of mouth, or generally good reviews. The last book I purchased where the author was a total unknown to me was Alissa Johnson’s “As Luck Would Have It”. I picked it up based on the cover: it was such a refreshing change to see a couple who looked like real people, fully dressed, and with clothing and hair styles appropriate for the period (at least to my untrained eye). Of course, I didn’t buy the book until I’d sat in the store and read the first chapter, but I liked the book and liked its sequel even more — although the second book had the now-cliched woman-with-dress-undone-in-the-back. It’s funny, but if that had been the cover of the first book I’d never have picked it up because there would have been nothing to make it stand out from all the other similar covers.
I keep a list of authors I like and don’t like, ratng them 1, 2, 3, or NO. The 1s I’ll pre-order and read anything they write; my keepers. The 2s I’ll read anything they write, but I’m willing to wait. The 3s resonated with me, but bothered me, too (like the hero, hated the heroine, for example). Those writes can be moved to the No-list at any time. I’m trying to follow FlyLady’s advice and only keep the things I really love.
I’m always looking for new authors to try. Amazon recommended Anne Gracie’s The Perfect Waltz because I had purchased one of Diane’s books. Elizabeth Rolls was also recommended by Amazon. I just ordered Forbidden by Jo Beverly because it was recommended here. Ultimately, I follow… how to explain? I simply get a feeling about a book. I may read the back and then the first few pages to determine if I want to buy it now or put it on a “fill out the order” list. 🙂
I rely heavily on word of mouth for untried authors. I’ve also been influenced by book giveaways. Good and bad. On the good ones I do go out and purchase more books by that author.
In the case of TROG, I stumbled upon your website via a link from somewhere in Romancelandia as Amanda calls it. The excerpt I read was so funny that I eagerly waited for the publishing date.
Long, long ago, when I first started reading romance, I would buy and read anything that caught my eye. Definitely trial and error! Needless to say, I’ve become much more selective since then (not enough time, cash, etc). Like Jane, I rely a lot on word of mouth, and on reviews that sound interesting (not necessarily good, if they’re the “OMG I luved this book” variety–more does the book sound like something that would be my cup of tea). I have certain reader friends whose taste is similar to mine, and I will follow their suggestions, too. Excerpts are helpful.
A great cover will make me pick up a book, but not buy it. It takes a killer first chapter (read while standing against the bookstore shelf) to do that! 🙂
Oh, and congrats on the book date being moved up! I think it will be the perfect summer read. 🙂
I also rarely impulse buy, not least because I rarely go inside a physical bookstore, despite living all of ten minutes from a B&N. If it can be bought online, that’s how I buy it. I even have my groceries delivered by Amazon Fresh now.
I find new-to-me authors through a combination of friends’ recommendations and reviews. I usually test-drive them by getting a book from the library first, though. Most of the time this means placing a purchase suggestion, and since my library system buys my suggested books at least 90% of the time and generally gets at least four copies for the system, I feel like I’m helping the author’s bottom line rather than hurting it.
My latest new author impulse purchase was Alex Beecroft’s FALSE COLORS. I’d already placed a library purchase suggestion based on strong reviews when the AmazonFail kerfuffle happened. From my perspective as someone who sorta-kinda knows databases, I do believe it was an honest mistake and not bigotry, so I’m not boycotting Amazon, but I also decided to show my support for the authors involved by buying a deranked book.
I’m planning to read it next, after I finish the nonfiction I’m currently reading about Washington, Lafayette, and the American and French Revolutions.
I find that Target does a great job with their bookmarked breakout books. I have found several news authors this way and their others works have not disappointed. I found Liza Palmer and Monica McInerney this way and now pass these books and names onto friends.
If I am in a bookstore I normally pick up a book with an interesting title or cover and open it to three random pages and read those pages. If I like them I buy it if not it goes back on the shelf. This process has led me astray only once and that book was The Lily and the Dragon by Davydd Jones. Unless you are looking for a historical fiction books that turns to bestiality with dwarves by page 47 DO NOT read this book. I still have nightmares.
I will read anything Austen related and this has led me astray many times. But I feel it is my duty to see what other people have done to my work and one day I will write a Ph. D. on the topic called “Bastardizing Austen: Or What Happens When Lydia Wickham Pens Pride & Prejudice.” Ha!
It is useless for me to talk about buying fiction. These days I’m buying my friends’ books and not browsing for something else.
But let someone mention a Regency Research book…and I’m already on the internet searching for it.
I must admit, in my browsing days I was attracted by a good cover. And the covers that attracted me were never the ones with a pretty flower on them!
Janet, the reviewer who called the Rules of Gentility a “lackluster Regency Romance” just didn’t “get” it!!
Firstly let me say I loved Rules Of Gentility.
I usually pick up new authors by recomendations from blogs that I go to. I rarely go into a book store I order my books from Rendezvous Romance Bookstore in Melbourne Australia and seeing as I live in Sydney I don’t get to go into the store (I would love to) although I do check out the books in the Big W or Target stores and often find something that takes my fancy by reading the blurb on the back, a cover will make me pick up a book but not always buy it.
I have a lot of books in my TBR pile by new to me authors and am looking forward to reading them.
I am looking forward to your new book Janet
I buy books based on blog-reviewers or auto-buys. I usually get books from the library, though, so I don’t have to take a financial risk. The last book I bought was/were Anne Stuart’s latest, the Diamonds anthology, Elizabeth Hoyt and Lilith Saintcrow. All books by authors on the auto-buy list. One memorable flyer was buying the first J.R. Ward book because Lynn Viehl said how awesome it was (I pre-ordered, even).
I do buy by cover and back cover blurb. Even if it is an author I like, I will read the back cover blurb. A bad blurb will put me off.
I have been known been known to buy based on title alone.
Research has shown that people really do judge a book by its cover.
I am not at all influenced by puffs on the cover. Although if I like a book, I might go and look at the puffing author’s list of books.
And I rarely read reviews. If I take any notice it would be to see the synopsis rather than the person’s opinion.
And I will read excerpts.
Well, I’m another tight budget, so I always have a list and stick to that list, and have plan when I get something, so I definitely don’t always get it when it comes out (even though I know it’s better for authors/publishers to do that). . . but in the end, I have my autobuy authors, and it they aren’t autobuy, I always go on the blurb. If it sounds interesting, I’ll try it. 🙂
Covers, I only go by that if I’m browsing online, happen on an author site, or if I’m in a bookstore, they don’t have what is on my list so I can browse (LOL). . . if you have an historical cover, with an empire gown on a woman or the guy has a cravat, it’ll catch my attention to look at it closer. But that’s about it. 🙂
Reviews, don’t pay attention — except if I’m looking for more information, I’ll look at the reviewers who add more about the book than the blurb. Whether they liked it or not, isn’t as important, but if I’m interested, but I sometimes look for more than just the blurb. 🙂 Info helps. 🙂
i read interviews on blogs and then I often buy the book. I always buy online usually from deepdiscount.com (free shipping on just one book) or Amazon or Bamm. I never browse or buy in a store. THey never have what I;m seeking but I get tons of recs from message boards.
I buy books based on favorite authors, reviews in RT, whether or not its a period of history that I want to read about, recommendations from friends, but mostly the backcover blurb.
YAY! So excited to hear this book will be finally out!
If the author is new to me, I buy a book by back cover blurbs and recommendations by my friends. If the author is someone I’ve enjoyed reading time and again, then I buy because more times than not, I’ll enjoy yet another gem.