1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Do you read the blurb on the back of a book when buying?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Steerpike, Aug 5, 2010.

    Another thread got me thinking about this.

    I don't read the blurbs. Haven't for a few years now. The reason is that too many of them were becoming spoilers for the book. I'd read one and say "ok, great, you just told me the first 50 pages of the story."

    So I never read the blurb on the back anymore.

    How about the rest of you?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do lol but have to confess title and front cover sell me the book rather than anything else. I just give the blurb a quick read if I like the look of it.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Yep, that's usually the first place I go, if the cover, title or author sucks me in. I don't find generally that they reveal too much about the book, but it gives me an idea if it's the kind of thing I'd like or not. If a book passes that test, I'll read the first page or two, to see how the writing style measures up.

    If it passes that, it'll soon be bought.
     
  4. Mantha Hendrix
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    Mantha Hendrix Contributing Member

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    Hmm, I can understand where you're coming from. The same thing goes for film trailers as well.

    Generally I do though, only if it's a book I've never heard of, or have little knowledge of.
     
  5. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't usually. Most of the time if I'm buying a new book, it's because someone has recommended it to me, so I just take them at their word that it's good. If Joel asks me what a book is about, though, and it's a particularly complex plot, I use the back of the book as a cop out and just read that to him, rather than try to explain it. ;)
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Yip; it's one of the first things I look at when looking at a book.
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I usually look at the blurb, although it doesn't affect my decision to read or not read the book.
     
  8. PrincessFairytale
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    PrincessFairytale New Member

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    I have this really strange phobia of getting bored of a book and quitting halfway. So I always read the blurb before I start reading.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Usually an authors name or cover will attract my initial attention.

    If there are positive reviews from someone whose work I like or respect, that attracts my attention further.

    I just pick up the book and open it. If there's a prologue, there's a slight possibility I'll just put it right back, but usually I'll go ahead and flip to Chapter 1. I read a few paragraphs and make my decision based on whether or not it hooked me.
     
  10. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    Normally I'll start by reading the title, looking at the front cover and then reading the blurb. If all three interest me then I'll buy the book.
     
  11. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    These days, honestly, no. This is because I now tend to read authors rather than books, by which I mean I have a hitlist of authors that I have been reading for the last couple of years and I just pick up whichever of their books, so the blurb is currently of little interest. Inevitably, however, I will read it at some point to see quite how it matches with what I am reading. Similarly, I will also read the "about the author" section and any notes too, but it may not be up front. Any pro- or epilogue however will get read sequentially.
     
  12. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    I'm one of those people who'll peek at the presents underneath the Christmas tree. When I knew my husband had purchased me an engagement ring but before he'd proposed, I turned the entire house upside down looking for it and then once I found it, I wore it around the house when he wasn't home.

    My point is, not only do I read the back cover, but sometimes, i'll scan the last chapter and then go back and read the novel.
     
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  13. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    Ever since A Clash of Kings more or less revealed the death of a major character, I've completely stopped reading the back of books. Not worth the potential spoilers.
     
  14. ChrisGallagher
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    ChrisGallagher Member

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    Yes, but then I read the very list line, see if it's interesting, then open at a random page in the book, and see if I like the style. That's usually enough to make my decision.
     
  15. RedRaven
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    RedRaven Active Member

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    I sometimes do.. most of the time after I bought the book though. I like knowing little details already. Same with movies.. when I haven't seen a trailer I have a harder time getting into it.
    I like knowing whether it's a mystery, a drama or comedy. And that is something you can find on the back of the book.
    Sometimes too much information is revealed.. like with The Passage.. but that doesn't take away my joy in reading it.
     
  16. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    After a quick scan through the replies to this thread I see, which I knew anyway, a number of people, when choosing a book go for the author, this shows how difficult it must be for new authors to get themselves established. Maybe we as writers should be a bit more open-minded towards the unfamiliar names that pop up on the shelves of our local bookshops, who knows one day that unfamiliar name maybe one of ours.

    But on saying that, I am also guilty of going for books that have been written by authors with a track record.
    When choosing a book I first scan through the spines; picking out titles and authors that attract my attention. Once the book is in my hand I have a quick glances at the back cover. I always read the first page and if that first page does not arouse my interest the book goes back on the shelf.
     
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  17. LevitationNation
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    LevitationNation New Member

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    I don't usually buy books, we have a lot of books in our house so I haven't read them all and I usually just get given them. I always read the blurb. I don't even think I do it to find out what the book is about really, its more to do with it all being complete. If I didn't read it I would have a wee niggling feeling in my head that I didn't read the whole book and that would drive me nuts!
     
  18. k.little90
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    k.little90 Active Member

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    Always. I'm an admitted "Book Browser," meaning that if the back of the book catches my attention, then I read the first page or two just to see if it sucks me in.

    Personally, I think that if the author can't come up with a witty description to put on the back of the book, then they probably woldn't have been able to hold my interest throughout the entire book.
     
  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The author doesn't generally come up with the content on the back of the book. They're written by marketing people and in-house copywriters at the publisher. Unless you are self-publishing (or maybe with a small press). In fact, in many situations I'm aware of, the person writing the blurb on the back hasn't even read the book, much less written it.

    My concern isn't whether the back is engaging or not, it's that more often they seem to have spoilers to the story included in them. So I no longer read them at all.
     
  20. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    I never read anything but the story itself. but I don't choose books on the store, I decide at home, with wikipedia articles about authors, suggestions from other people, etc.

    I stopped deciding on the store because I bought way too many pretty books with bad stories inside. I'm a sucker for bright colors, great covers and those fantastic titles everybody but me, comes up with.
     
  21. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read the blurb to give me an idea of what it's going to be about, but I mostly consider the first page or so when deciding whether to buy/read it.
     
  22. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeup, I read the blurb and the first couple of pages to decide whether it's something I'd enjoy, or atleast whether it's something I could tackle if it isn't my usual cup of tea.

    That's what a blurb is there for.
     
  23. Manofkent
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    Manofkent Member

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    I do. I normally only buy on recomendation without knowing anything about the book. Before I start reading I will read all information everywhere in, on or around the book before I start with the book it's self.
    I cant get past the first page without wondering when it might have been printed or what other books the auther may have published.
     
  24. Squidget
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    Squidget Member

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    yes, but i should not. the author does not even write it and they throw it way out of perspective
     
  25. Moggle
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    Moggle Member

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    How can you not read the blurb? How would you even know what the book is about???
     

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