What is the main thing that helps you decide to buy and read a book?

This is just a short post to try to find the answer to a very mysterious and perplexing question.  Rather than a long post about a subject, I thought it may be a nice change to have a post that will be more interactive.

What is the main thing that helps you decide to buy and read a book?

It seems that there must be a whole range of things that are considered when making this decision.  When I’m making a decision on a whether a book is for me I have to admit the cover and blurb are the main things that tempt me – I see them as a window into the story.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and would be very pleased if you would share your comments below.

12 responses to “What is the main thing that helps you decide to buy and read a book?”

  1. If it is an actual physical book, the first thing I notice is usually the spine, then the cover, then the blurb.

    However I have been fooled too many times by these marketing ploys, so now, I will speed read the first chapter (or 10 pages if it has long chapters) to see if it annoys me.

    The use of long words, just for the sake of it, the use of abstract descriptions (I once read a book which was decribing a plane journey which said somethihng like “The clouds danced like a witches skirt in the wind at a coven”, and considering it was a war book, it just didnt fit)

    Assuming it passes the above tests, I buy it.

    Also if the cover says “If you like XXX, you will love this” as it is ususally a poor mans copy.


    1. Thanks for your comment. I also love a physical book but the convenience of an ereader is also great at times. Reading the first chapter is something I do as well as it let’s you get a feel for the writing style and story.


      1. I blogged on the pro’s of E-Readers a week or so ago. You can read it at http://philipdeane.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/the-kindleonly-for-nerds/


      2. Thanks for the link, it’s an interesting post. I suppose with anything new there are different opinions and experiences on the benefits etc.


  2. First thing I notice is the cover. If it has a striking picture or vivid colours, I will be more attracted to it and more likely to pick it up and read the blurb (which is the second thing I look at). Although I must admit that I am more likely to choose books from authors whose names I recognise or whose previous works I have already read and enjoyed 🙂 Not good for new authors (me included)…Such is life 🙂


    1. A striking picture can do wonders, I agree. I think it’s human nature that we gain an initial interest in something based on the first thing we see. On the author front I agree as well, but they were all starting out at some stage, so they must have somehow overcome that hurdle. 🙂


  3. In my home there are stacks of books. I’ve read them all in whole or in part at one time or another. Over the years my reasons for choosing books has changed. I never owned books until I had kids. Sad but true. I wanted to be sure they had lots of books and so Berenstain Bears books and Little Golden Books became a reward when my son behaved in public. Reading together the fun, silly books by Dr. Seuss grew into the Hardy Boys series and then into more thought provoking story time with Classics by E.B. White and Shel Silverstein. I chose books that had won the Caldecott Award or books from recommended reading lists sent home from school. I even bought a book once which listed the best books for children of all ages.
    These days I save up money I find in the laundry or couch cushions and when I have enough, I take it to the bookstore, place the coins and (freshly laundered) wadded up bills on the counter and ask the cashier, “What kinda book can I get with this?”
    Seriously, I read the table of contents or index because I am usually looking for books with specific information, i.e. how to market a self-published book, how to lose the fifty pounds you put on while writing and trying to market a self-published book, how to re-enter the workforce when you can’t pay college tuition with your book royalties, etc. Okay really seriously this time, of course a cover draws my eye to a book, but it’s rarely the reason I choose to purchase it. It is true that illusive word of mouth makes all the difference. I take recommendations from people whose opinion I trust about books I read for entertainment. We should start a word of mouth society….think about it.


    1. Wow Honie ….. What a great response. You are right, the reasons we buy books do change over the years. And if we went through all of our books we could probably recall when and why we bought it.
      You know I have been searching for Word of Mouth over the past months. I have narrowed the search down – I believe he/she is an expert in disguise. He/she must be one of he things that helps readers make their decisions.


      1. So an agent then? Or a publicist? If you run into this expert in disguise, you might want to verify their identity by asking them to give the WOMS (word of mouth society) code word, just to be sure. I can’t write it here because that would be breaking my word, you know I can’t do that.


  4. The cover definitely makes me look at a book, but not buy it. If the blurb is well-written and looks intriguing, I move on to an inside sample. If it still looks good, I buy. But I think I buy more on recommendation via blog review or personal word of mouth.


    1. I think I can see some common reasons surfacing here.


  5. I try to find a summary of the book first if I do not know anything about the author or the book. But if I have read the author before, I would definitely buy another of his book. And genres I absolutely buy even though I do not know anything about their summaries are gay, speculative, magical realism, non-English, French, etc.


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