Books and how I choose them.

Has anyone’s strategy for choosing books changed recently?  Perhaps only those of us crazy book buyers put so much thought into how we select a book.


My first method of selecting a book was standing pathetically in front of the bookshelves at the school library with a sad look on my face.  Eventually, my librarian would save me and hand me something wonderful.  This was actually really effective since that librarian new her sh&t.  This is how I jumped into chapter books with The Cricket in Times Square.



The next librarian that really helped me introduced me to Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.  So, bless her forever. Ah, The Blue Sword love you to this day.




It didn’t take me long, however, before I was on my own.


I absolutely buy books by their cover.  That’s how I found Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone, so clearly this method is infallible.

But, I’ve had to place some deeper thoughts on this whole how to choose books lately.  The fabulous M.K. Hobson has been answering my questions about the whole publishing process, and she pointed out that she only uses methods of promotion that have gotten her to buy books.

I, like her, have never purchased a book because of a link on a blog.  I’ve looked at a few books promoted through Good Reads ads, but never bought one.

So, what do I do?

I’ll buy books on the recommendation of a friend.

I buy the books my nieces and nephews love. This is an always, always for me even though it turns out we don’t have the same taste really.  🙂

But when I find books for myself, I tend to go to Amazon, type in the name of a book I know I like and scroll down to the lists (on the left) that have said book in them.  You know the ones maybe?  The listmania lists put together by other book lovers.  And then I scan those books and see how many other books the list writer likes that I also like.  If we have a good amount of overlap, I’ll check out the books they’ve read that I haven’t.  That’s how I found Kelley Armstrong.  I have found sooooooo many other good books this way.

I have recently started to read blog reviews, Kirkus Reviews (this is new for me), and then download the sample on Kindle.  My gosh, this is the BEST!  I love those Kindle samples to an unholy extent.

I also take the number of stars and reviews a book has received on Amazon pretty darn seriously.  I mean, if a book has been reviewed 128 times and has 3.5 stars, I’m only getting it if I LUV the sample.

What do you do?  As a soon-to-be author, what’s the best way I can reach you with promotion?



5 thoughts on “Books and how I choose them.”

  1. I’m a Goodreads addict…I love looking through the lists “Upcoming in 2013!”, “Best Covers for 2012”, etc. I then start stashing books to my “to read” account and look them up on my library’s website to see if they have any or any on pre-order to put on hold. I also like Goodreads, because I feel more connected to the Author.
    I also love Amazon.com! I have an iPad with the Kindle app and use it religiously! I love digging through books that are free, 99 cents, $1.99, $2.99, etc. Especially if I see it’s “on sale”…makes me feel good about buying it at such a good deal. I also tend to look at the amount of reviews and the average star rating.
    NetGalley is another fav as well as LibraryThing. Authors place their “to be published” books up there (ARCs – Advanced Reader Copies) and bloggers/librarians/reviewers have the opportunity to read and review the books.
    Hope this helps some?? 🙂

  2. I use Amazon to find other books to read too, but I don’t use the lists other members create (well, sometimes I do). I like to go to the page of a book I’ve really enjoyed and then scroll through the “what other people bought.” I’ve found some pretty good books that way. The only other way I find books it through recommendations from friends.

  3. I think you are right on. That is (mostly) exactly how I choose books. I use goodreads religiously to record what I have read, but I have never purchased a book because of ads I have seen on the site. I never considered using the listmania approach or downloading kindle samples that way. But I think it will be a regular habit for me from now on.

  4. I have and will continue to use Goodreads. Especially my friends lists. I have some friends on Goodreads whose opinions I greatly respect and I look over their read-list and their comments and ratings. This is how I found Steven Brust. Read the first book and I was hooked. Devoured everything he has written. I (being the Google snob I am) have an Android tablet and love the android market for both music and books. Too easy to download and read a good book. And when I do I get suggestions (If you like this, then you might also like this….) This is how I devoured the Hunger Games triology. But don’t discount the bookstores and librarians/bookstore clerks suggestions. This is always a great source of new books. For this reason I truly miss Powells City of books. They have good bookstores here in the desert, but Powells stands out as a national treasure. This is how I was introduced to Stroud, Rothfuss and Butcher. All great reads.

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