Book Buying Addicts Anonymous discussion

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How Do You Select Your Books?

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message 1: by Jessica (thebluestocking) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new)

Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) I guess I have various methods for selecting books to read and/or purchase. I always take reviews from people I know pretty seriously. I haven't really gotten into the habit of reading professional reviews, but I think I will. My book club is a good resource. Then, there is the phenomenon of being in a bookstore and having a book call out to you for you to take it home. That happens rather frequently. As of now, I don't really have a source for which nonfiction books to read.

How does everyone else select books?


message 2: by Margaret (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new)

Margaret | 9 comments I select them by title a catch title will get me every time, I also read reviews but I will go out on a limb and read a book with a bad review if the title gets my attention.


message 3: by Seth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new)

Seth | 9 comments Great subject!

For me, it's author first. I tend to follow authors I generally like, or at least types/series of books of their I enjoy.

Friends' recommendations are pretty reliable, although some friends I have to take with a grain of salt :-). For series or especially good authors they usually loan me one and then borrow the rest from me when I buy them, but I do the same with them and DVDs :-)

I do follow some published reviews (Locus, for example), although mentions in blogs get more weight (positive or negative, depending on the blogger and the subject of the book). I'm especially likely to buy books after reading an interesting author interview. That's how I started reading Jacqueline Carey--her Locus interview was great.

Bookstore recommendations: Borderlands, my local SF/F/H bookstore has a great monthly email newsletter. It's led me to many great books, authors, and DVDs. I've had limited luck with Amazon recs (Elantris was a good hit), but bookstore owners in the SF/F community tend to be really chatty and helpful. I know the workers' and owner's tastes at Borderlands and get a lot of recommendations that way. Some of my local generalist independent bookstores have excellent employee rec cards on the shelves.

I also get a lot of books at cons, where the huckster will make recommendations and where I'll meet authors who recommend both their and others' books. Panels at cons are great for this.

Titles do catch my notice, as does really great cover art. If I like the store I'll note what gets a face-out and what gets endcapped. (And if I like the book I'll give it a covert face-out sometimes.)

I try to ignore cover quotes since I know what a scam that is, but it still gets my interest sometimes. Oddly, if a writer is especially well-known for giving bad cover quotes I get more information from a quote from her (or him, but the three who jumped to mind were well-known women), since it means a new writer in that "circle." I have been let down by this approach, but at least I got to write some scathing warning emails to my friends :-)

And finally, publisher/imprint. Certain imprints that are very reliable for their kind of book and in a pinch I can rely on that. For example, books from Subterranean are always going to interest me, Luna (Harlequin's fantasy imprint) has been excellent for one type of fiction, and O'Reilley Press is the Nolo of tech pubs. Baen is especially reliable, but not always to my taste.


message 4: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) The cover is what usually gets me...for example, the cover of Suite Francois got my attention as soon as I first saw it - my book club has selected for our November read (Yay). If I like the cover, I immediately pick it up, read the back, inside flap...maybe the first page..


message 5: by Stephanie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

Stephanie | 11 comments I'm with you, Diane. Covers get me every time I walk into a bookstore. It's funny because I'll pick up something with a catchy cover and then, after reading the inside flap or the back cover, I hate to be disappointed if the book doesn't sound so good.


message 6: by secondwomn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

secondwomn (dragonbird) | 7 comments i tend to buy books in certain categories: travel, memoir, biography, poetry, fiction, anthologies, history, mythology & folklore. sometimes i get recommendations from folks at my local independent bookstores or from friends who i know have similar reading tastes. i also like book lists, so if i know a book is on one (or several), i'm more inclined to pick it up. now that i'm working at two literary magazines, i'm getting loads of author recommendations via coworkers, submissions, and back issues.

i get the vast majority of my books on remainder, so i'm browsing from a smaller selection of books usually. but since they're really cheap, i'm very inclined to take a chance on just about anything. someday, i'll drown in a sea of remainder books...


message 7: by Meredith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

Meredith Watson | 37 comments There are writers I'm loyal to, so of course I always pick those. Then I like to look through new arrivals and bargain racks for books I've heard of but havent read, or like others have mentioned a catchy title or cover art that catches my eye.


message 8: by Shannon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

Shannon Solely by their covers.


message 9: by Christy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

Christy Brannen (murdermostbritish) | 19 comments I have a list of authors and their books that I'm trying to acquire, so I look specifically for those authors. But, to find new authors, I go to www.stopyourekillingme.com and peruse the character and author lists until I find something that looks like my kinda stuff, then I copy and paste the list into a WORD document so I have the list handy when I'm searching for books. I do almost all of my book buying on-line.


message 10: by Rachel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

Rachel first i browse the covers. when i see a cover that catches my eye, i read the back of the book. if that still intrigues me, i'll read a few pages of the first chapter.

then of course there's always authors i love and friend's recommendations.


message 11: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) Usually I select particular books by whats on my To-Read list. Once in awhile I'll just browse the genres that I'm interested in and see if theres a book that I haven't come upon or that is interesting. When I select a book...the cover or title of the book has to catch my eye, the i read the back and see if its a story i want to read.


message 12: by Schnaucl (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Schnaucl | 9 comments I generally know when the next book in a series I'm closely following will be released and I start there.

Then I peruse the new fiction display at Borders. I've found they have the best new book display of my local bookstores. I tend not to buy the hardcovers unless they're part of a series I'm already reading, but sometimes I write down titles to get from the library. I will buy newly released paperbacks, however.

Then it's a trip to the new paperback fantasy/sci-fi table.

Finally it's general browsing in the sci-fi/fantasy section.

If a book has an interesting cover or title I'll read the back and then make a determination. Some days it seems like there are 20 books I'd like to have, other days I can't find a single one.

I try to read the book review section in the Sunday edition of my local paper. That's where I tend to find out about non science-fiction or fantasy books. I tend to pick up those books from the library since they're often in hardcover.

My library also has a good display of relatively new books and whenever I go to pick up holds I nearly always pick up 2-4 books from the front of the library display.

If I like a paperback I borrowed from the library I'll usually buy it and if it's hardback I'll wait for it to be released in paperback.

I've bought a few non-fiction non-craft books, but most of the time I borrow those from the library.

I'll occasionally buy something on a recommendation, but most of the time I just borrow the book in question from the person who recommended it.

I'm trying to read more of the books I already own to free up some room on my books I own and haven't read bookcase but since library books have a due date I tend to read those first and then every time I go back I find more books... I seem to be about half library and half books I already own this year so that's something.


message 13: by Bricoleur (David) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Bricoleur  (David) Soul (bricoleur) | 5 comments When I go to one of my usual haunts I normally go to the new releases section first, then proceed directly to those sections where I have had the most success in finding books I've enjoyed. This of course, unfortunately, can have the effect of reinforcing a self-fulfilling prophecy.

However, when visiting a store I am unfamiliar with as often happens as I travel, I tend to just go wherever my feet are pointing. Some of my best friends have leapt off the shelf into my hands to be read and treasured and then find their way on to a featured place on my library shelves. As a result of this process I have an eclectic collection of books spanning virtually ever major division in the LOC classification scheme.

With fiction my process is quite different. I normally make a bee-line straight to a particular book on the basis of a personal recommendation or increasingly from online reviews by other readers.


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