Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Discussion: How Do You Choose A Book

A note about these things. I've recently acquired a totally epic Little Sis so Jessica from The Midnight Bookworm will be joining in on the discussion every week with me! Super fun because now we can get into serious discussions! Alright, on to the fun!

This is how I choose books:

I usually have the books I need to buy pre-picked and ready to go by the time I walk through the book store. Being so involved in blogging let's me know when things come out that I need to read and I don't usually stray from that. For funsies, let's talk about what makes me want them if I didn't know about them.

If I'm walking down an aisle browsing, the first thing I look for are (of course) covers. The beautiful ones suck me. I usually go for people on the cover and I tend to like either very dark ones like this:

Or very light ones, like this:

But I'm picky. Even if I like a cover, I will read the inside and that has to hook me as well. Then it will go into a pile (which will have to get weeded through).

I also shop specifically by author. If I'm a fan of your work, I will buy your book. I've already pledged life long allegiance to people like Kimberly Derting, Beth Revis, Libba Bray, Veronica Roth and Maggie Stiefvater (to name a few).

I'll also pick up book based on author blurbs though this is more of a deciding factor than picking them up factor. As I mentioned earlier, I'd grab a bunch and have to decide which to buy. If one of my favorite authors loved the book enough to quote for it then I probably will too.

Like I said, now I know a lot of the books coming out way before they hit shelves. I take a lot of book blogger suggestions. I'll also buy books based on how the author is online. If the author is active on Twitter and really promotes themselves or is super sweet, I'll buy their book to review. I'll just have to.

Now, this is how my little sis picks up books:

So many factors go into how I choose a book.  When I’m looking down the aisles of Barnes & Noble (the only bookstore around my house), I look at the covers that pop out first.  Whether it be because they’re bright and amazing looking, or if they’re plain and un-naturally boring looking.

One of my favorite covers on my shelf: Need by Carrie Jones.  I can’t even tell you if I read this book’s description before I bought it. I saw this cover and absolutely HAD to have it on my shelf.  Then at the Borders closing sale I found Captivate and without reading that description I bought it (it was only like $3 so I had to get it and it’s SO pretty)!
The first book that comes to mind when I think of the plain and un-naturally boring looking ones is Want To Go Private? by Sarah Littman.  When I first saw this book on the shelf I thought it was the back of the book because it’s just lines of words, but the back of the book just has praise for other books by the author.  I read the description and I definitely think it sounds like a great book, I didn’t pick it up (because I was broke when I saw it), but I plan to get it sometime. :)
After the cover sucks me in (or the title, I sometimes scan for titles along the shelves too), I read the back cover (or inside flap) description.

Beyond that, I rely on the blogs I follow for recommendations about books, I look at other people’s ratings (not usually the reviews because I don’t want to be spoiled), and the ones I remember most the next time I go to the store are the ones I pick up and decide there if I like it or not.

If the description of the book and the cover haven’t totally sold me but I’m on the fence I’ll usually open to a random page and start reading, if I’m still flipping through it a few minutes later I tend to buy it.  If I only get through a half a page, I put it back. 

I also have a few authors that anything they publish I will buy right away, without reading the blurb or looking at the cover.

We want to know how you choose your books!


  1. I always choose which books to look at based off of the cover or title. Then I read the summary and any blurbs on the cover. Then I read some pages from the middle of the book to get a sense of the writing style and if I like it or not. If it's an author I know I'm usually more tempted to buy it. I don't always keep track of when books are coming out (unless it's next in a series that I love where I can't wait for the next one) because I love walking into the bookstore and being surprised by the new books so that if I like one, I can buy it and I didn't have to wait for a long time beforehand for it. And then of course there's that huge pile at the end that I have to weed through... I think we all experience that. And now I want to go to the bookstore :)


  2. What an awesome discussion idea! :)

    The way it works for me is a little different. I don't drive, so I don't get to a bookstore all that often. 98% of my shopping is done online. Because of this, I have the whole day to look at books if I want to. And when I decide to do an order from Amazon or Chapters it can take me up to a week to make my selections. Because I'm very, very picky.

    Covers and titles are always a draw, but that's to be expected. Regardless of how you buy books, if you go out saying "I want to buy some books" they are bound to be the source of a book's first impression. But for me they are never the last.

    Once a book has my attention, my next move is to read its summary. What is the author "trying" to tell me about here? Does the premise of the book intrigue me? For the most part, when a book disappoints me the problem is that the execution of the idea presented here either is not what I thought I signed up for, or was not done as well as I felt it could have been. But, moving back to the original topic again...

    I do tend to look at reviews if a book has been out for a while. when I look at reviews it is usually because I am concerned about something specific. The biggest thing I watch out for, personally, are the words "sad ending". I don't read "why" the ending is sad, generally. If this is coming up as a complaint in multiple reviews, I don't need to. I know that I, as a reader, hate sad endings. I would be setting myself up to deliberately give something a negative review if I went into it knowing this.

    For most books, though, my final decision is made by reading a sample, whether I'm in an armchair at Chapters or downloading a sample off Amazon. I can usually tell if a book is going to "flow" properly for me or not. If I feel like I'm six years old and staring at a mountain of oatmeal trying to read chapter one of a book then it's not for me.

    Please note that all of the above applies to a new book by a new to me author. Other things that can draw me to a book are it being part of a series, being a new title by an author I love, being recommended by a friend who mentions something within that s/he knows will interest me, or hearing that it contains a theme, idea or concept that I like.

    Anyway, I hope you find that interesting. Have a great day!

  3. I choose my books by the cover, title and blurb. If it's interesting i look into the style of the writing. If it's an author i love i read the blurb and if it's a series i am following i buy it without hesitation. In my free time i also check out the bookstores if there are any books i am interested and sometimes i try out the boys books just for fun.

  4. You should never judge a book by it's cover, but that is what draws me to a book. If the book cover is really boring, chances are I won't pick it up and see what it's about. So that is what attracts me when browsing at the books store, book covers. Also favorite authors. Chances are if I like a book or book series by an author, I'll probably like more by that author. I also go by recommendations from blogs (such as this one). There have been several books that did not sound good to me when reading what they were about and because of blogs, I read them and hey I liked them! Also recommendations from friends that have similar tastes. I've read some books that I've passed up at the book store that a friend later recommended and I ended up liking.

  5. Hey there, new follower here!

    Interesting to see how you guys chose your books. For me, the deciding factor is if the book blurb surprises me. Does it show me a genre trope and then flip it on its head? Or does it ask rhetorical questions where the answer is obviously Yes. For me, that's a big indicator if the author was able to give me something surprising in the story itself, or if the author didn't really take any chances or push the envelope to give me something new.



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