?

How do you choose the books that you read?

  1. Bookstore browsing - online - cover very important

    6 vote(s)
    24.0%
  2. Bookstore browsing - online - blurb very important

    10 vote(s)
    40.0%
  3. Bookstore browsing - online - reading a sample very important

    7 vote(s)
    28.0%
  4. Bookstore browsing - online - store site reviews very important

    4 vote(s)
    16.0%
  5. Bookstore browsing - bricks and mortar - cover very important

    7 vote(s)
    28.0%
  6. Bookstore browsing - bricks and mortar - blurb very important

    9 vote(s)
    36.0%
  7. Bookstore browsing - bricks and mortar - reading a sample very important

    8 vote(s)
    32.0%
  8. Bookstore browsing - bricks and mortar - staff recommendations very important

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Bookstore browsing - bricks and mortar - prominent display very important

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  10. Paid advertisements caught your attention

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. Word of mouth - personal friend recommended

    16 vote(s)
    64.0%
  12. Word of mouth - internet friend recommended

    14 vote(s)
    56.0%
  13. Review site - read a review on a review blog

    4 vote(s)
    16.0%
  14. Word of mouth - celebrity (including favourite author, including Oprah) recommendation

    2 vote(s)
    8.0%
  15. Review site - read a review on a review blog

    2 vote(s)
    8.0%
  16. Review site - read a review on Goodreads

    3 vote(s)
    12.0%
  17. Buzz - just one of those books everyone's talking about

    5 vote(s)
    20.0%
  18. Price - found book on one of those 'Daily Deal' type sites

    4 vote(s)
    16.0%
  19. Amazon recommendation ("customers who bought this item")

    6 vote(s)
    24.0%
  20. Other (details in comments)

    4 vote(s)
    16.0%
  21. How could I forget the Writing Forums bookstore?!?

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  22. Other mass media (interviews with author, etc.)

    3 vote(s)
    12.0%
  23. Message board participation (eg. that Bayview is excellent, I should read her novels!)

    3 vote(s)
    12.0%
  24. Favourite author, auto-buy

    10 vote(s)
    40.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    My First Poll! (Very Exciting) - how do you choose books?

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by BayView, Apr 9, 2015.

    Well, I guess I can't change the thread title? But this should be for fiction/narrative books only. I think the buying process is quite different for traditional non-fiction.

    That said:

    We all have great books, and they'd all be best-sellers if people would just give them a try. Right?

    So, this poll is a sort of round-about way of looking at how to make that happen.

    We're writers, but hopefully we're readers, too. So as a reader, how do you choose the books that you read?

    Apologies if I've missed options in the poll - please add them in comments if needed.

    ETA: I also apparently can't change the items in the poll, once they're posted. So... yes, I know, Review sites are on there twice. I guess review sites are the gift that keeps on giving.

    I did say this was my first poll, right? I'm still learning!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You didn't have my main choice. I browse the library online catalogue by genre, only look for books that are in the library at the time and I read the blurbs then go find the book if it looks interesting and take a closer look.

    I read a lot of books recommended by friends, and I read non-fiction books if I hear the author on CSPAN Book TV and get interested in the book. Same with authors I hear locally, usually something science oriented I hear about and attend.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My "other"--Because I've read the author before. If I like an author, I tend to read every last thing they've written, and only when I've run out of material by authors I already like do I look for new authors.

    For fiction, my usual process when looking for a new author is:

    - First paragraph test. If the first paragraph of the book isn't engaging, odds are that there's no saving the book for me, no matter how much others may like it.
    - Blurb. This is mostly to give me the book's context, characters and setting, rather than details of the plot.

    At a used bookstore, a good first paragraph test is enough. If I'm buying new... actually, you know, it's very rare for me to pay full "new" price for a book by a new author. I usually find my new authors in a used bookstore, and then buy their latest stuff new.

    For nonfiction, it's sort of reversed. I usually need to be interested in the topic, and then I check the first few pages for writing quality.

    But for really well-written nonfiction, I don't necessarily need to start out interested in the topic. I was reading Henry Mitchell before I was really interested in gardening, for example, and I continue to read Herman Herst even though I haven't collected stamps since I was a teenager. Paco Underhill's Why We Buy was fascinating even though I didn't care the least little bit, before I read it, about retail buying habits.

    For nonfiction it's not all that unusual for me to hear a mention of a book on NPR or in the New York Times book review section and end up buying it. That never, ever works for fiction.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That too. ^
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're right, non-fiction is different than fiction. I often buy non-fiction based on interviews or media mentions, but rarely buy fiction that way.

    Okay, we're still in early days - I'm going to clarify the poll and make it fiction only! Otherwise it'll get confusing.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's already confusing. When I added 'other' I wasn't sure if it erased my other votes.

    I think if you edit the poll and don't let people change their votes it might fix that problem.


    For fiction, I browse the library by genre and the blurbs are important. I read more from the same author if I like a book. And I read what is recommended to me by people. And finally, I do read other people's books from the forum if I like the Kindle preview.
     
  7. Lance Schukies
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    Lance Schukies Active Member

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    where the I am a internet zombie who buys everything that the people I follow on social networks tell me to buy, oh wait you have the Oprah option.
     
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  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't read blurbs, so they're a non-issue. Covers catch my eye online. In stores I don't care as much about them. I always read a page or so, and yes there are auto-buys from favorite authors.
     
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  9. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I usually go to my favourite book store and take a look around to see what I can find. Most of the time I read the blurbs but also take a look at the first couple of paragraphs. A few other sources are books from authors I know are good and suggestions from friends. I also ticked the "WritingForums' bookstore" and "Message Board Participation" options as I have several books in my To Read-list that I've found through WF. :)

    (@BayView, if you want the title changed (or the poll), send me a PM and I'll fix it for you.)
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I usually go to used bookstores or Chapters or a place called the Book Depot which features books that are a few years old - overstock from the publishers.
    When I'm in the bookstore I'm drawn usually by cover or title. Whatever looks or sounds interesting or features an author I've heard something about I'll pick up. Then I'll skim the blurb, if it sounds interesting I open the book and flip to a scene usually near the middle of the book - always a description. I don't usually read beginnings. For me the true test of a book is a middle scene. If after all that it's something I might like I purchase it.

    Online I like to look at the Goodreads lists usually from googling things like prose rich fiction or experimental fiction or prairie romances. I'm not influenced by low scores or bad reviews. If it sounds good I'll get the book and make up my own mind.

    I also keep an eye on my newspaper which features a book section. And in the past when I was reading Entertainment weekly I found some books I liked mentioned in articles.
     
  11. ladybird
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    ladybird Contributing Member

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    Interesting questions, BayView. I'm actually quite surprised by the results so far! I never read so say 'independent' reviews since I discovered they are not always genuine. Have you found the results helpful?
     
  12. croak3r
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    croak3r Member

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    I'm surprised at how many people choose a book based on it's cover. A lot of authors seem to have very little influence on the cover of the book. If i'm ever buying a book from a shop (which i rarely do since i have a kindle) i read a few paragraphs somewhere thats not the beginning since the writing tends to be worse there so that i can get a sense of how good the author is.
    I usually just go off what my brother recommends though since he likes the same genre's as i do. I dont trust what other people say since a lot of people seem to have no idea what makes a good book in my experience and just follow whatever is popular at the time. GoT is a good example of that i think.
     
  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, the sample size is still really small, but it's interesting that so far nobody has said they buy books based on paid advertising, which is pretty much what I expected. It's frustrating, of course, b/c paid advertising would be the easiest thing for authors to arrange!
     
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  14. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    I try to read things in an order, but it's almost random, so bear with me...I like to read most everything, so i attempt to alternate between something I consider trash (Stephen King, Terry Brooks, whatever-let's call it modern commercial fiction) and something i consider treasure (Nabokov, Twain, Poe, Lovecraft). Sometimes, though, I have to read things because my daughter or my wife wants me to read it (George R R Martin, Jane Austin) even though I don't like it, so I read it in the treasure category, as surrounding it with trash makes it more palatable. But then, see, there are memoirs and historical books, which i then try to shoehorn...

    To heck with it, I can't explain.
     
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    There are two important factors that help me to choose books which didn't get a direct mention in this poll.

    1) Book festivals ...I've learned about and acquired many 'favourite' authors simply from hearing them read and listening to their talks at these events. Many of these are authors whom I would not otherwise have heard of or been attracted to. (Wayne Johnston, Margaret Elphinstone, Janice Galloway, James Robertson, Alistair MacLeod, Bernard McLaverty ...to name a few.)

    2) Reviews in reputable newspapers and magazines. These are the most reliable reviews, in that the reviewers are 'known' and regularly review books in great detail. I very often buy books based on these well-presented and respectful reviews. Or, if I don't actually buy them, I at least have a look at them online or in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore to see if they are written in the kind of style I would enjoy reading. These are reviewers who are unconnected to the author and consequently are honest in their opinion of the books. They usually don't 'rate' the book either. You actually have to read the review and make up your own mind whether it's something you'd like to try.


    I am often attracted to book covers, especially if they project the idea that the story is historical. I love reading historical novels (not Romances!) and can be immediately hooked by a good, sensible cover. However, I never buy a book based entirely on the cover. I always want to be able to read a bit of it first. Ultimately, it's the author's style that makes me choose or reject a book. I dislike gimmicky writing, and want a good storyteller.

    I often don't even bother reading the 'blurb,' because I know it's not always a good guide to what's inside. The blurb can be very misleading and gimmick-ridden. Again, nothing convinces me like reading a page or two ...and not necessarily the beginning either.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
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  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I used to read reviews, but stopped reading them for the same reason I stopped reading blurbs - spoilers :)
     
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  17. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I know they say to never, "judge a book by it's cover," but I can't seem to help myself. When I'm browsing my local bookstore for something to read, I rarely look at a book where the cover doesn't grab my attention. I know I'm missing out on some fabulous books, but with so many options in front of me I only look at one's with nice covers.
     
  18. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    I learned this on my first read-through of A Song of Ice and Fire. I had all five book and decided to read the blurb just out of curiosity. Horrible decision on my part.
     
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