Friday, October 19, 2007

So Many Books...How to Choose?

I've mentioned this before, but I put a lot of stock in a book's cover--a LOT. And not so much the excerpt. It used to be that I'd have to read the excerpt before I could buy the book. Now I hardly ever read it. I think mostly because I'm used to shopping with my kids. I didn't have a lot of time to stand silently staring at a book, so I made snap decisions.

The cover has to perfect though. Intriguing and appealing to the eye and to the touch. This is a big deal. Color can make all the difference. Fonts can play in. But reviews count big time--BIG time.

I'm definitely interested in reviews by author's I've read and admire, but there aren't too, too many of my favorites that actually blurb. At least on the books that I'm perusing. The trade publications have a big impact on my decision making process--Booklist, School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus. Newspapers less, and magazines even less.

Sometimes I get the book just because I'm curious about it, as a result of the quote. If the review heralds the book as something I want my book to be, it piques my interest, and I want to read and see if I agree. For example, if a book gets a starred review and is described as 'winningly clever' or 'laugh-out-loud funny' by one publication or another, I'm curious to see if I concur. In reality I'm researching, assessing the criteria for such heady review terms.

It's odd that this method is working so well for me. Just lucky I guess, or else I know what I like.

And now, back to Book 7.


Lucy said...

It's always interesting to me to hear how others select the books they read. For me, a cover definitely catches my attention but it's not necessarily a given that I will want to buy a book based on the cover - no matter how much I like the cover. I'm a blurb kind of girl. The blurb has to interest me or it's a no go. A title can also catch my attention. And I've never given credit to a quote or review. I recently noticed that one big name author had the exact same quote on several of another big name author's books and I had to wonder if the first big name author had ever read any of the second big name authored books (that made sense, right?). Then recently I read an author's take on the subject ( so it gives the quote even less credibility for me.

So, cover or title first but for me, the money is in the blurb. :)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I admit my reliance on author quotes can be dicey, but it seems to be working for me. There aren't too many authors I trust. ;)

And sometimes I think they slap a particularly impressive author quote on every book if it's generic enough to warrant it: "So and so will leave you breathless."

I've read Jenny Crusie's take on blurbs, but not this one--thanks!

~Virginia~ said...

I like reading debut novels. If I like the debut novel, I usually read most of their other works...unless it's someone like John Grisham who's written a bajillion books and they're all pretty much the same. Good, but the same.

Covers draw me in, once I've picked it off the shelf, but at 1st glance it's the title since all I can see is the spine. I'm a totally random book selector! :)

Sara Hantz said...

A cover will make me pick up a book to look at it, as will an author quote, if it's one of my must-buy authors. I don't go so much on book reviews. Before I buy a book I will read the opening and then dip into a couple of places to see if I like the style of writing!

Stacy said...

Book covers are huge. They don't determine whether or not I buy a book, but they determine whether or not I pick it up.

Stacy's book selection process:
1. A pretty cover catches her eye
2. Reads back cover
3. If interested, takes book to bookstore coffee shop to read the first few pages.
4. If still interested, buys books.

The only exception is if the book is by someone I know online. Then I'll buy it regardless of what the cover may look like.

Barrie said...

For me, it's blurbs. And I'll often read the first page. Actually, I used to think covers weren't that important to me....until I got my own. And then I was relieved to find I was really happy with it. So, now it's: blurb, first page, cover, reviews. :)