Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What makes you buy a book?

I’m interested in knowing what makes you buy a book. Is it the cover? Is it by an author you’ve read before and you like their work? Did a review catch your attention? Is it the back blurb? Recommended by a friend? Adverts? Samples? Price? While browsing in a shop or on the internet? Or is there something else that makes you purchase the tome?

And once you’ve read the book, regardless of whether you enjoyed it or not, do you review it or recommend it to friends? Or do you only review the books you enjoyed?

Like many authors, I find it hard to get people to buy my books, and it’s a fine line between spamming and promoting (some people might say it’s all spam). Now I class myself as a bottom feeder searching for scraps while the sharks circle around taking the prize cuts, which is why every review and recommendation helps, so it would be really cool if you enjoyed a book, you spent a couple of minutes writing a review or just making a quick post to let people know (any book, any author).

And not being one to miss an opportunity, it’s my birthday tomorrow, and any help spreading word about my own book(s) would be a fantastic gift that costs nothing, but means so much :)


Peter Mark May said...

1. Authors I know
2. Cool covers
3. Cool blurbs
4. Free books are nice
5. Sex scenes lol

Shaun said...

Sex scenes. I knew I was missing something ;)

Variance Publishing said...

Great post, Shaun. I too am interested in what people look for in a book to purchase. It's tough because there are so many great books out there that deserve the view but people don't want to take the plunge in the market we are in for a 'maybe'. I think though, that the sampling via Smashwords (typically getting 50% of the book to read before you have to buy) is a great way to hook those who are looking for something new without taking a complete blind leap of faith.

I think the old adage of judging a book by it's cover comes first for me. If it doesn't have an interesting cover, I probably won't pick it up. If it is an author I know, I may pick it up knowing their brand and writing. I think blurbs are icing, especially if they compare it to something I'm interested in. But if the book is in the typical genre I like to read (creatures for example), I'm probably going to give it a test run at the store.

The other few things that I think are important are first lines - do they catch me enough to read the entire first chapter? And pricing, unfortunately money is driving the overall market right now and if I'm going to buy a book, I'm going to find the best bang for my buck, especially when I buy a kids book and something for the wife too if so inclined. There is enough to read out there to wait until it comes out in mass market - and if it doesn't and I want it, I'll by the trade, but probably not right away.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Reviews and Author Blurbs do nothing for me. Author name means little as I've liked books and hated books by the same author.

The topic has to appeal to me. PERIOD. When I'm in the book store or online via sampling, I'll read several pages to decide if it's worth the investement. My spending money has declined and I am forced to be more selective. When I purchase a dud, it pains me more these days then it would have a year or two ago.

Keith Gouveia

Stephen Theaker said...

I used to buy books because I wanted to read them someday. Once I got a Sony Reader I started to only buy books that I wanted to read *that* day. Now I've got a Kindle I only buy books once I've read the preview.

So I don't buy anywhere near as many books as I used to, but I do read every single one of them.