How do you choose books?

27/05/2015 Discussions, Reading 20

How do you choose books?Until recently, I’ve never thought too much about how I choose my next read – it just seems like such a natural process. By this point in my reading life, I’ve a pretty good idea of what sort of thing I’ll like and usually go off instinct (not that this is foolproof!), although I’ve noticed there are a few things that tend to guide my decision:

  • The cover

I know they say never judge a book by a cover, but the truth is that I’m unlikely to pick up a book and read the blurb, and therefore consider it, if the cover doesn’t catch my eye first.

  • The genre

Like most other readers I have my favourite genres, and these preferences certainly influence my book choices. Anything in the fantasy/science fiction/historical fiction genres are automatically on my reading radar (because that’s a thing!), and are more likely to end up on my to-read list.

  • The blurb

The blurb is obviously massively important when deciding whether or not to read a book, as it gives you a flavour of the book, and basically tells you what it’s all about. I’m not going to enjoy every book in my preferred genres, so picking the ones with the most promising plots is a pretty good way to ensure your reading ones you’ll like (yet again – not foolproof. I’ve read some stinkers!).

  • Recommendations

As I don’t have that many reader friends, this wasn’t a great source of book choices until I started blogging…now however I find loads of books through recommendations. I read a lot of other blogs and will often see books being reviewed which I would never have heard of otherwise, but are right up my street. This is yet another reason to love book blogging!

So how about you? How do you choose books?

20 Responses to “How do you choose books?”

  1. nordie

    Are there any authors that you pick up to read, with the cover and the genre not even considered? I used to pick up Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books (though not all his kids books). I used to pick up Patricia Cornwell books, but no more as I no longer like her writing style.

    I have some many books on my shelves at the moment, most of which have been procured via my book group, so I have already read the blurb and checked out the cover before deciding to bring it into the house. Now I go on what mood I’m in (genre, writing style, length, font size, weight!) as to which book I’ll read next

    • Laura

      There are a few authors whose work I would still read even if it had a bad cover, but most of my favourite authors are in my favourite genres anyway, so i do tend to stick with the genre thing.
      I do tend to go off mood quite a lot as well. Even though I love fantasy, I don’t always feel like reading it, so it does just depend on my mood.

  2. Maraia

    I’m definitely affected by covers. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying. :p

    Since I can’t often buy books, my reading selection is entirely dependent on what I can get from the library. I’m pretty obsessive about checking my library and e-library for upcoming releases, because I try to be as close to the top of the hold list as possible. I request a lot of books for purchase (with mixed results), and I also have good luck using inter-library loan, although I have to wait a lot longer for new books. I usually put tons of books on hold at once and then read then as they come in or by due date when all the books inevitably come in on the same day, haha.

    Great discussion!

    • Laura

      I really need to start using the library more myself, as my book collection is starting to spill over from my book case again. I tend to buy a lot of my books second hand off ebay or amazon, but because they are so cheap I usually end up buying loads! Thanks for commenting.

    • Elizabeth

      I do the same thing, Maraia! I have a great library for inter-library loans and e-books. They also seem to love me so they don’t charge me late fees if I forget a book in my car or something, and if I don’t get there to pick up my books within 2 days they still hold them. They know I’ll be in as soon as I finish the pile I’ve already got.
      I haven’t bought a book since September, and that was a $3.00 ebook I couldn’t get anywhere else. I used a gift card, too.

  3. Ardelia

    This was interesting. I enjoyed it. I don’t do well with deciding which book to read next, which is why I do so well with book series. I don’t have have to worry about which book to read next – it’s already picked. 🙂

    I’m having a little trouble deciding on which book to read next right now. (Part of the problem is I don’t have a lot of time, so I don’t really want to start a book and then finish it three months from now.) I think I may look at Goodreads and see what I marked as want to read. I know I’ve stored a lot of book bloggers’ recommendations there. 🙂

    • Laura

      Even though I have a kind of criteria for choosing my next book, it can still be a tough choice! Series are definitely great for that, as you can just move on to the next book, although I find that these days i don’t often read the next book straight after the other. I don’t know why though! 🙂 I hope you find a good book to read next.

  4. Cayt

    I think the blurb and the cover are both up there at the top for me. I love a beautiful cover and I pick a lot of books based on that. Of course, I won’t read a pretty book if I don’t like the blurb. Other than covers, I will read the blurb and, if it strikes my fancy, I’ll read it. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of recommendations from the blogs I read. It’s great to see other people’s opinions, especially when you know they love reading. I don’t have that many readers in my real life to recommend books to me, so I rely on blogs and Goodreads.

    • Laura

      There are so many books I probably wouldn’t have read without seeing them recommended on other blogs – the Throne of Glass series for a start, which is one of my favourites series at the moment. I really need to start using Goodreads more though for recommendations.

  5. Elizabeth

    I have my go-to authors whose next books I am always waiting for, and I get most of my recommendations from bloggers or goodreads. My TBR on GR right now is 970! I have a variety of paper and e-books at home so no matter my mood I’ve got something. I’m kind of like an alcoholic needing to know that my next 3 or 4 books are all set to go!

    • Laura

      I tend to buy books in threes or fours, so I tend to have a few in line to go too, which is great. I hate getting near the end of a book and having nothing in mind to read next!

  6. Eduardo Suastegui

    I’d have to say that for me it primarily comes down to a recommendation (or word of mouth) and, lately, the relationship I have with the author. Book covers really don’t help me much: in my preferred genre (thrillers), they all tend to look the same. I don’t want to over-generalize, but I’d say that’s true of most genres. Once people latch onto certain patterns, covers (and a lot of other book elements) tend to start looking the same. As for the blurb, it gives me a rough idea, as does the front-end sample that most eBooks offer, so without the WOM or personal relationship, that’s how I choose.

    Back to that personal relationship with authors, though, recently I’ve had a great time connecting with other indie authors, and since I is one myself, well, why not support them? It’s been hit and miss, but I’d say no more so than with “established” big-fiver authors and their stories. As you should see from the Reviews page on my site, I’ve found quite a few good reads, and that jazzes me up!

    • Laura

      I definitely agree that a lot of covers in the same genres do look the same. I think that’s how my eye is drawn though, because I recognise the genre, and know that it will probably be something I’ll like (not that that’s an excuse for so many unimaginative covers!).
      And it’s great that personal relationships with authors has become such a great source of new reads for you!

    • Laura

      A lot of people try to deny that they judge books on the cover, but I think most people do. It’s the first thing you see, so it really can’t be helped! 🙂

  7. CLP

    The cover is definitely a selling aspect for many readers, myself included. I’m also big on recommendations and receive daily alerts from sites like BookBub. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up to get one free download of a new book each month. I’ve discovered some GREATS this way! 🙂

    • Laura

      I have been thinking of trying out Amazon Prime for a while, so I might just give it a go now! 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  8. Beanf

    I totally agree about the cover, I’m always looking for the one that jumps off the shelf and catches my eye. The latest one to do that was The Dragonfly Guardian by Angela Antaloczy, has a cool cover and more importantly was a great read! I highly recommend it!

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