How do you choose which books to buy?
Specifically, how do you choose which romances?
Everyone is different so I assume there'll be a variety of views.
I'd love to think lots of readers went shopping looking specifically for Annie West stories (or stories by another particular author they love). But favourite shopping only accounts for part of our buying. I for one often find myself tempted by a new-to-me-author.
Could it be the cover, I wonder? I'm sure this one of Sarah Mayberry's caught the eye of a lot of people. Would you buy based on a cover? Or would the cover attract you to take a closer look?
If not the cover, would you buy based on the back cover blurb? Are you a sucker for the boy next door romance or a marriage of convenience or beauty and the beast, or some other romance theme? Do you scour the books on sale to find a back cover blurb to suit your mood?
Are you influenced by reviews? I'm particularly intrigued by this as I hear so many different things? I've had readers mention they picked up their first book by me because of a review. On the other hand I've heard from people who seem to ignore them. But I've also had people refuse to read a book because of a review (which made me grit my teeth as the review was misleading, but that's another story).
Do you buy based on title? I'm particularly wondering about this as I've noticed sales of my current book, 'The Sinner's Marriage Redemption' don't seem to be doing as well as my other recent titles. I don't think it's the cover (see below). Personally I think this is a corker of a cover, with just the right intensity. Maybe it's the theme or the writing or the title. Who knows? There are so many variables it's just about impossible to pin down to a single factor. Here's the US cover in a gratuitous attempt to give it a plug!
Maybe you buy based on friend's recommendations. I do. Not always, but people who know my reading tastes have been a terrific source of suggestions for new books.
Or maybe it's just an ad that catches your eye. Seeing a book at just the right time, or perhaps at a reduced price can be serendipitous.
Finally, I know there are readers out there who won't buy without reading the first page - or the last! I've seen them browsing in stores then putting books back before making their final choices.
Where do you stand? Are you and impulse cover/title buyer? A dip into the text browser? Or maybe you'd like to comment on things that make you decide NOT to buy. I'd love to hear.
I am spending less money on books these days, so I am more author driven, I will buy books from my favorite authors or books part of a series I am reading. Every now and then I will buy a book from a new author.ReplyDelete
Tammy, I'm a little the same. There are authors whose books I know I just have to buy. It's how to choose those new ones - often by word of mouth but not always. Thanks for sharing.Delete
For decades I simply bought based on the line of book first (i.e., Presents, Blaze, etc.) and then went by the blurb on the back cover.ReplyDelete
I started blogging in 2009 and that changed my tune. I now keep a list in my purse at all times of books I've read by my favourite authors (yourself included, as you know), as I'm always trying to find back issues of their books (and obviously scoop up their new books shortly after they are published). For all the other books, though, I watch the blogs, looking for a style of writing that appeals to me, and then I try to find those books, whether it be in a store or online. So today I go by author first and foremost, and blogs plus back covers (when I'm in the stores) next. I have meticulous records now of the books I've read and those I'd like to read, and my TBR pile is humungous, both in printed and online books. Hard to believe when I've read over 250 books every year since 1973....
Wow, Laney, thanks so much for this detailed response! It's so fascinating. You're much better organised than me. I find myself wondering sometimes over titles by my fave author. I did create a list of Georgette Heyer ones I'd read before going to a big book sale but that's as far as it went. I often have to check titles before I buy in case I've already read them. Thrilled to think you have a list of my books in your purse!Delete
There are lots of reasons why I buy books including Authors recommendations reviews blogs reading blurbs books that are part of a series that I am reading gee I buy them for lots of reasons these days I buy e books (but love paper books for my book shelves :) ) and a lot of the books I buy are impulse buys these days. Oh and I loved your latest book what a great story :)
Hi Helen. Thanks for the feedback on Sinner! How lovely to hear that.Delete
Of course, books in a series - that's a big hook to buy, isn't it? I know you have an amazing collection of books. I'm imagining you spending hours reading up on what's new and deciding what to buy.
Hi Annie, this is a great topic! I used to buy on author alone and still have a few auto-buys (Jodi Picoult, for example), but now I'm a little more open to trying new things. I do buy on cover: rather, if I'm in a store and a book cover jumps out at me I'll pick it up and dip into it- so the cover attracts my attention first. I also buy on recommendation- not from the 'people who bought this also bought' in stores like Amazon, but from blogs and personal recs. I may buy because I'm intrigued by the subject, or heard/read a review or have met the author at a conference etc. Once I'm hooked, though, I do tend to go to backlist and read more from an author. (Mind you, I do find things get a little 'samey' so I hop around a little from one author to another)ReplyDelete
Hi Louisa, it's fascinating to read the mix of things that influence you to buy. Like you, I don't go to the 'people who bought this also bought'. Recommendations only work for me when I know the person likes what I like.Delete
Interesting about reading backlist. I've just done that - reading four books in a row from an author in a mini binge. I have to read something different now.
Interesting topic, Annie! I'm a little all over the place with my buying - sometimes it's because of a review but I tend to get a lot of recommendations from other romance writers and readers, so I go with those. I do buy a lot of books because of the line or series that I like (ala the Entangled Brazens, Harlequin Blazes and Presents etc.) and then sometimes it's because I like an author on their social media sites and want to see if their lovely personalities come across in their books - I've found many books to read through twitter and Facebook! Then there's a times I walk through a book store and pluck a random book off the shelf - I read a lot of 'new to me' authors.ReplyDelete
Stefanie, I still like to follow the category lines too. If I know I want that hit of intensity I grab a presents. If I want family and home I'd try a sweeter line.Delete
What an interesting point about authors on social media and how that influences buying. I know it's probably quite obvious but really I hadn't thought bout their personality coming through in quite that way. Off to mull that one over some more - thank you!
Hi Annie, well no secret I'm a huge fan of yours lol.ReplyDelete
I have top 5 list of authors- which has now been pushed out to 7 because I refuse to move my top 5 out lol. So if the budget allows they're all auto buy...
I'm also a particular lines fave, mainly used to always be the Sexy line / Presents, because those story lines are so far removed from my day to day grind that it's a brilliant escapism. fortunately I've been blessed with reading lines I traditionally didn't read like Medical or the more light hearted but sweet romances which are actually really refreshing and therefore I have been introduced to amazing authors I'd never normally know about or try (our amazing NZ and Australian writers are so so so full of talent).
I dont really base my buys on reviews but I do have a couple of favorite reviewers on my list who I think seem to think along the same lines as me so if they love a particular book then I usually put it on my to read list (which is so bloody long). The reviewers that clearly do not like this genre and still leave a 1 star review infuriate me - it's like WHY???
I'm not sure about the sales question... my first thought was that perhaps it's because we've been blessed as readers to have more than one new release by our favorite authors over the last couple of years so maybe readers don't rush out and purchase as quick as they normally do when an author only releases once every one or two years. Does that make sense?
What a ramble, sorry, not sure if any of that was useful :D
Tash, that's not a ramble! That's discussing the topic. Thanks so much. There are so many great points here. Isn't it terrific the way our friends widen our awareness of other authors, even when we have our favourites? Funny but I do tend to enjoy Aus and NZ writers' voices too. Not quite sure why but I can definitely relate to them.Delete
Yes, I wonder about those low starred reviews by people who say they don't like that style of romance or romance at all! Why read it then? Who knows?
Hm, that's interesting about so many releases. It sure feels like there are more new books out there - making me feel so very far behind with my reading. Nice to know I'm not the only one! I suppose with ebooks too, there's less urgency to snaffle a book as soon as it appears as you know you can go back and grab it.
Oh, Annie, I've bought books for every reason you've listed. Most common, though, would be based on author. Book blurbs also matter to me, though -- if something catches my fancy I'll grab it. And word of mouth is a definite factor. I've noticed, though, that I'm impulse buying more digital books from new-to-me authors than ever before (I'm blaming hormones...once upon it was chocolate, now it's ebooks). :-) I figure there are worst things to spend my money on.ReplyDelete
Michelle, yes, I've learned the danger of the impulse buy too. It's just too easy! I think I may have to limit my book buying soon - at least until I read a few on my tbr pile.Delete
Like you go for the author and the blurb. Even if the blurb isn't good, if the theme grabs me I'll give it a go.
Annie, what an interesting post! It made me think. I definitely think my buying habits have changed radically since I bought my Kindle late last year. I'm definitely buying a lot more free and cheap books and if I don't like them, well, that's 99 cents I'm willing to sacrifice. It's a bit more like going to a library than when I bought print books that could be up to $25. At $25, I need to be pretty sure I'll like it! I have auto-buy authors, like most avid readers, I'm sure. And a review from someone I know shares my taste will make me pick up a book by a new author. There's tropes that I love - marriage of convenience and enemies into lovers and beauty and the beast generally have me at hello. Hmm, interesting. Thanks for the thoughtful post!ReplyDelete
Oh, and I LOVED The Sinner's Marriage Redemption. It's so romantic and the stakes are so high and when the hero has to grovel to get his happy ending, yum, yum, yum. Hmm, perhaps to that list of favourite tropes, I should add alpha heroes brought to their knees by love - and obviously then raised up again better for the experience!
Anna, I'm so with you on marriage of convenience stories, and Beauty and the Beast and a few others. I love reading a blurb that ticks lots of 'must read' boxes for me. It's so hard to resist buying then.Delete
Pricing definitely affects me too, unless it's an author I know and absolutely must have. Complicated isn't it?
So glad you loved my Sinner! Yes, alpha heroes who realise their mistakes and have to put them right (including with appropriate grovelling) are some of my absolute faves!
I must admit to reading first pages. If I am hooked good. If not, moving along.ReplyDelete
Ah, I've seen your colleagues in store, Mary! :) It's fun to watch and discover what makes the grade.Delete
Hello Annie. I books choose them in the first place according to the author. If it is to a writer I love the purchase with your eyes closed, for the other books I look at the cover, but mostly I read the plot of the book. I read the reviews, but I do not let myself be influenced that much, because each one has their own taste in novels, I prefer to follow the story or read excerpts that are published by the same writers. One last thing ..... once bought the book i'm going to read the last few pages, or the last chapter before you begin to read it from beginning.ReplyDelete
Hi Franca. Lovely to see you here. I know what you mean about eyes-closed favourites! How fascinating about reading the ending first. I've never considered doing that!Delete
I'm such an impulse buyer. Of course, I always buy my favorite authors but other than that, covers really suck me in, as do particular themes I'm fond of (I always check out anything that says "boss" or "dragon" in the title, and back cover blurbs, and any story featuring a gargoyle hero is an insta-buy for me. Really, I'm just a sucker. I did once totally buy a book because the dude on the cover was HOT and later found out the cover photo was taken by none other that the infamous Michael Stokes. If you have seen any of his photography, you know he's a phenomenal photographer! Too bad the book didn't deliver what the cover promised. It was a DNF for me and that made me sad.ReplyDelete
Deanna, sorry to hear you were misled by a cover. Some of them don't quite fit the story, do they?Delete
Wow, I've never read a book with a gargoyle, though I've read some dragons (not many). Bosses, yes - quite a few. I love it when the boss is a little different - not quite what we expect.
Great topic, Annie. So interesting to read about other people's buying habits. I have auto buy authors but a do love a recommendation.ReplyDelete
Jen, I like it when Rachel Bailey does her list of recently read good books. I always find something new.Delete
If it's an author that I like, it could have the worst cover/title and I would still buy the book. I think the cover is more important when trying to attract new readers. If I'm browsing a shelf and see a striking cover, I'll pick it up & read the back blurb. If I like it, I'm also more likely to get a library copy with a new author. I don't mind spending money on authors I've read and liked, but I prefer to read an unknown work through my library before investing in an actual purchase. It's hard to judge a book based on the back blurb & reading a few pages in a bookstore.ReplyDelete
I think ereaders have made covers & titles less important. I'm not sure you click on a book based on the cover the same way as if you see it in person. I think reviews are probably more important with ebooks. Also, algorithms contribute more to what book shows up in your Amazon search.
I have The Sinner's Marriage Redemption in my TBR pile & hope to get to it soon.
That's so interesting about trying new authors via the library first. It makes such sense but I'd never thought of it. The trouble is I'm not quite that organised. It's disappointing though, when you decide to take the chance and then find out it's not quite what you were hoping for.
Yes, everyone says reviews make a difference to ebook sales. Not something writers have input to though.
Hey, I'm chuffed to hear you have my Sinner on your TBR pile! I do hope you have fun with it.
I do buy by author, and the title and blurb on the back will probably get my attention more than the cover. I don't find posted reviews that helpful, but I find a lot of new books and authors and review for authors I already follow on blogs - one thing leads to another and another.ReplyDelete
Hi Grandma Cootie! I think word of mouth, whether in person or via favourite blogs is a good source too. Interesting that you don't rely on reviews. I find a title can hook my interest but I've also learned that they'd not always a great indicator.Delete
What everybody said... But my first stop is often the author. The clincher is reading the first few pages via the Look Inside feature on Amazon or standing there in a bookstore. Even if the book is free, if the first few pages aren't all that good, it's a no...ReplyDelete
Malvina, you make me want to go back to all my books and turn the openings into something brilliant! Something to strive for in the future! :)Delete