This is a topic I find interesting, because my purchasing habits seem to be quite random sometimes.
Reason #1 – Pretty Shiny Cover
I love a shiny cover! When there are a hundred books to look at, I base my decision on what to stop and look at based on how much I like the cover. I like certain genres more than others, so covers that cover darker themes or fairy tale themes are going to stop me more than others. I am loathe to buy a book with a cover I don’t like. I have to look at that thing, and I like pretty things, so it has to sound REALLY interesting to overcome a lackluster cover…assuming I click on it in the first place. Recently, the book’s spine has also become important. I have a book with a tacky spine on my shelf that’s hidden behind a bookend right now.
Reason #2 – Word of Mouth
Sometimes blurbs are terrible. Sometime last year I had decided not to read a book on my TBR because it didn’t sound like something I would like at all. It also barely made sense. Literally the next day, I saw a booktuber talking about it. It was an older video and I’m not subscribed to the channel, but there I was. Her description of the book didn’t match my understanding of the blurb at all. So I went to Amazon and used the “Look Inside” feature to skim through the first chapter. I ended up reading that thing for 20 minutes! I bought the book later that night and moved it to the top of my TBR pile. I don’t remember where I first saw it, but I get the vast majority of book recommendations from Amazon. The rest come from blogs, Youtube and other social media, Goodreads, and occasionally, someone I know and an actual bookstore, usually Barnes & Noble, usually browsing. Amazon and Goodreads are usually the ways I find out about new books from authors I like, as well.
Reason #3 – Reviews
Good reviews can make me feel better about a book I already want to buy, but I often purchase books, with a generally decent rating, because of negative reviews that drag the book to hell and back. Sometimes those reviews are hilarious, and oftentimes, everything the reviewer hates about the book are things I think sound interesting. For example, I bought a book called WINTERSPELL – a nutcracker retelling – because a reviewer said the book was too dark. Ha. Sold. I will say, if most of a book’s reviews are bad, like two stars average, I’m probably not buying the book. But anything around three stars or higher, if I want it, I buy it. Sometimes it’s a content issue, like people think it’s inappropriate for the category it’s in – that’s a non-factor.
Another thing: I usually do need to see a book more than once to buy it. But I do sometimes impulse buy. At the same time I bought a book I had seen maybe five times before deciding to buy it, I bought a Snow White retelling. I loved the blurb. I loved the cover. The author turned Snow White into some kind of monster!
Maybe I can’t tell exactly why I pick up a book because it’s a large combination of stuff that can’t be condensed down into a scientific formula. Or maybe it can, and it just works automatically like breathing. Either way, there are few things more exciting to bookish people than getting your hands on a shiny new book. Or a dusty old book. I can’t be the only one who sniffs books. ^_^