Saturday, August 6, 2011

Judging a book

Recently, I've been curious to how a reader judges a book before they buy it. I guess there are several reasons, and I'll use the niffy bulletin feature here.

  • Judging a book by its cover

You can't help but swoon over a gorgeous cover, hope and pray that the book lives up to a cover that makes you want to pet and hug it to death. I've bought books based on the cover alone. I'm sure a lot of people have. But lately, I look for covers that actually have something to do with the book. In the era of "Girl in Dress" on book covers, I will read the book, waiting for the scene where girl in a beautiful ball gown on the cover kicks zombie ass while wearing the dress. I tend to get disgruntled when the girl and the dress never shows up in the book. And seriously, if Milla Jovovich can do it while having perfect hair and makeup, so can the book, darn it.  Some may say, "What in the hell does a glowing flower have to do with Half-Blood?" I got lucky with my cover design. It actually does have something to do with the book. A good cover does catch my eye, but does it determine if I now buy a book? I'm not sure. Maybe a little?

  • An author blurb
Blurb is the word. Do you buy a book because a NY Times bestselling author blurbed said book and said it was the awesomesauce with an extra side of sauce? Before I got a publishing contract, I honestly didn't even look at blurbs. I probably didn't even notice them, because they didn't effect my buy decisions. They still don't now, mainly because reader's taste is so different. Just cause someone liked it or didn't doesn't mean I will or won't.

  • The book jacket synopsis
This is where I think most people do judge a book for buying purposes. It's the book's pitch, the please pick me up and read me quick synopsis of what a book is about. If it's got a hook, then it got me. If it sounds like something I'd read, then I'd buy it. It's probably one of the most important parts of the marketing package.

  • Publisher
Buying a book based on who published the book. I really don't know of anyone who does this. It's not like watching a Disney movie because you know they all have the same formula and you're pretty much know what you're getting. Each publisher has such a variety of books for sale, I can't imagine buying just based on publisher alone.

  • Reviews
I think this is important. I do read reviews before I buy a book, especially if I'm buying that book online. That doesn't mean bad or good reviews sway my decision. I like to have my own opinion, but I read reviews because they actually, truly tell you what the book is about because sometimes back jacket blurbs can be a tad misleading.

  • Trend Comparsions
We all know what this means. "This book is the next TWILIGHT" or "This book is the next HUNGER GAMES." I honestly don't buy based on that, mainly because I don't think any book is the next "whatever" book. Each book stands on its own merits. Not books previously published.

So what do you base your buying decisions on?
  • Book Cover
  • Blurb
  • Synopsis
  • Publisher
  • Reviews
  • Trend Comparisons 
  • Or something else?
    Let me know! It's caring and sharing time.

    Don't forget to check my blog on Sunday for an exclusive excerpt from CURSED and a swag giveaway, kicking off an awesomely cool blog job.

    Also on Tuesday at 6:30pm EST I will be doing a  live Q&A session on BLOGTV and I will have a copy of Half-Blood to giveaway!


    1. Excerpts, too. Usually I find my books by browsing on Goodreads, read a few reviews from people I have trust in their opinion with and then read an excerpt. The cover and title is what gains my attention, but lately--as you said--there have been lots of "girls in dresses" on bookcovers. If a cover is different and unique, I'll probably pick that up over the girl-in-pretty-dress-yet-it-isn't-in-the-novel.

    2. I do suffer from the book cover syndrome, but I usually read up on the reviews of the ones I find rather 'pretty'. They tend to be misleading.
      Definitely reviews, if I can't get my hands on the actual book.
      I've been mislead by a blurb before so I avoid that situation entirely.
      But I will agree and say that excerpts do help if I can find one.
      I've noticed lately while reading reviews, even if there's a negative one, I'll be even more intrigued, just so I can make my own opinion.

    3. Pretty covers attract me every time. But the book jacket is what sells me. I'm not completely superficial. Then again. . .

    4. I always get book recommendations on Fantastic Fiction (UK website) first and then i go on Goodreads to check whether the book has good reviews or not. Fantastic fiction is great for recommendations because all you do is type in the name one book, and then it'll spit out four books that you might be interested in reading based on the first book you typed in. For example, i typed in 'Half-Blood' and it recommended Starcrossed, The Goddess Test, Abandon and Silence. I also use the listopia function on Goodreads to check out the most popular books. Pretty covers is also a big one for me!

    5. I'll admit that I do judge a book by its cover, but it's never the sole deciding factor for me. For the most part, I go by the synopsis. If it sounds like something I'd like, but I'm not sure, then I skim a few spoiler-free reviews or check goodreads and glance at the ratings the book has been getting. I like reading blurbs, but I've never bought a book just because a certain author blurbed it.

      Many of the books that I never considered, I get because of recommendations. I have twitter convos and email back and forth with other bloggers and have gotten some great recs from them. Word of mouth is still probably the best selling point for me, and possibly for everyone. There's nothing like someone you know or someone in person telling you how great a book is. The enthusiasm is there, so it makes me want to get the book.

      I personally don't like the book comparisons at all. Like you, I don't think any book can be considered the next 'whatever,' as you say.

    6. Forgot to mention that reviews is also a big one for me! If a book has less than a 3.80 average rating on Goodreads then i normally don't read it.

    7. I base my buying decisions on a combination of things. A cover might draw me in, but not the reason I'd buy a book. I did that once and it didn't work out, so the more beautiful the cover, the closer I'll look at the story. If I read a synopsis I like, I then look at reviews/rating. I also like to read excerpts, especially if the reviews are contradicting. Even if the reviews aren't good, I would still buy it if I enjoyed the excerpt.

    8. I must admit, that I often do fall victim of book cover lust. But, typically that only gets me to notice the book when I am scrolling through the hundreds of books on the B&B Site or Goodreads. The book jacket synopsis is usually the reason i buy a book or don't. If it sounds good and looks good... it has to be good right? Not exactly, which is why book reviews and blogs are AMAZING. therefore, I would say that my reading preferences is based on a combination of things: book cover, synopsis, and reviews.
      *Side note: any book with a good paranormal love triangle, strong female character, and jaw dropping ending usually has me hooked. I'm not hard to please and fall in love with lots of books because of this simple plot recipe.* :)

    9. The cover is pretty important to me. It's annoying when the book is amazing and the cover is meh. The synopsis also affects my buying decision, it has to intrigue me in some way. Lastly reviews do have quite a big hold on me. I often check goodreads to see them.

      But Half Blood ticks all these boxes so er you're like sorted. :D

      I cannot wait to read the excerpt of cursed. But why do I have to live in England?! I'll be fast asleep during the live chat!! I might just erm go to bed at like 4am. Haha you're awesome btw, it's so weird we're both reading unearthly at the same time:D


    10. I judge books by their covers... frequently. Boring covers get passed by all the time. Every once in a while I'll be in a certain mood to look at all the bland covers in the YA section, but that's rare. Beyond that, I'll look at the synopsis on the back/jacket flap. Usually that'll tell me if I'm going to enjoy the book or not. If I'm still on the edge of whether to buy it or not, I'll flip to a random page and read a page or two, if I hit an interesting part that sounds like the book will be good, I buy it. If those pages happened to be a boring part of the book, well it goes back on the shelf until the next time I'm at the store. I usually end up picking up the same book in the store two or three times before I buy it to really make sure I want it. :) I try to stay away from reviews because no matter how much everyone says "spoiler-free" there's almost always some sort of spoiler in the reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, even if they're little spoilers, and if I end up reviewing the book on my blog or a book seller's site, I don't want others' reviews to come out subconsciously in my review.

      Jess @ The Midnight Bookworm