September 3, 2011

Guest Post "Book Buying Habits" by Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf

And the first week of the Book Blogger Days is drawing to an end with Martha from Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf reflecting on the single most important topic when it comes to reading. What do we all need before we open a book? Buy it, of course!


What makes you buy a book?
I have recently received a survey asking what influences my book buying. I haven’t answered the survey yet but it seemed like a good question. I don’t purchase many books because I get more than enough review books. However, I do have to select review books and I make occasional purchases of books.

I determined that my reading selection decisions are influenced by the following:

- I may be drawn to a book by a good cover. If the cover doesn’t grab me I might not look further. That may be shallow but it is true. That doesn’t mean I will purchase a book only for its cover because I have to know that the content is something I want to spend time on. For review books we are often presented the title and author without images so that may not even play a part in the selection initially.
- Similar to the first feature, I may be drawn by favorite authors and genres. If I like the author or genre I will look more closely at the offered book.
- After first glance at cover, author and genre, then I read the book description or blurb to see if the content grabs my attention. Certain things might pull me in, like historical details, mystery, humor or fantasy. Other things might turn me off, like erotica and adultery.
- Now - here is another shallow consideration - I check the number of pages. I have to think twice on books that are over 500 pages (even those in the 400 range) because that is almost the equivalent of two mass paperback reads. I find that the historical fiction books tend to run longer and since I like that genre I may take a longer book and take fewer short ones for a given month line up.
- Next I check reviews. I check 5 star ratings and low ratings for comparison but I look for more depth than just a rating. I look for specific comments in the reviews saying what was liked or not. It’s nice if the review explains a little of the story but I am most interested in how the reviewer feels about the characters, the plot, and the writing.
- Finally I will look at price. I often end up purchasing the Kindle version, and less often an Audible version, of my review print books. I have now started to outline the books for the upcoming months and list the Kindle and Audible prices in case I decide to purchase another format to speed up the reading. I am more apt to pick a $5.95 book to purchase than a $9.99 book.
- I also will add books to my wish list based on recommendations from other book reviewers who I feel that I can trust. Maybe someday in the future I will buy the books when I have a break from reviews!

I applied these thoughts to my TBR choices that are NOT review books. I get two Audible selections a month and I have been trying (without success) to read a book from my “won books” boxes per month. The won books I tend to choose a) by author I want to read and b) level of interest in the book. Over the past year my Audible selections have been influenced by blogger recommendations and/or Audible sales. The blogger suggestions have included: The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), The Parasol Protectorate series (Gail Carriger) and the Iron Fey Series (Julie Kagawa). Series started from sales include: The Lost Fleet Series (Jack Campbell), Mercy Thompson (Patricia Briggs) and Kitty Norville Series (Carrie Vaughn).

These are the considerations I thought of. How about you? What compels you to pick a review book or buy a book?

Happy Vacationing to Birgit. Thanks for letting me visit while you are off enjoying your vacation!
Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf


  1. I always buy books by my favorite authors. Then, I read reviews, I don't really care if the books might be liked or not and if there is something that draws me towards it, I put it on my wishlist, and after sometime and depending on the mood, I may buy it. Sometimes I even take risks and go for a book without knowing much about it. What a great feeling that is when I discover an excellent book! :)

  2. 1) recommendations of people who I think I have a similar taste to (usually my friends or teachers/professors I like, but sometimes I check something out because a celebrity whom I like or respect... or bloggers :D)
    2) favourite authors (even if it's the author first book available, as they are comedians, singers, actors etc.)
    3) I used to pay a lot of attention to the covers-nowadays I don't go into a bookshop just to discover new books and look at their covers... but if a book has a really cool creative cover, I'm likely to buy it. But if the cover contains badly done Photoshop, idiotic fonts and stuff, I'm gonna steer clear (they are usually the peculiarities of cheap romance novels and cheap horror-thriller books, which I don't really like)
    4) content summary-if I see something interesting in it, I'm gonna buy it sooner or later
    5) My mood :P

  3. I have to say I don't do recommendations and I don't listen to them. It's something in me that just doesn't like to be told what to read. On the other hand give me some good reviews from bloggers with similar tastes and I'll get the book. I agree with most of the points here - good cover is a must, otherwise I'll buy an ebook. And it has to be an author whom I love already. If it's not I'll try to win the book, look it up in the library, and then find it for a bargain price. Also if I read a book and didn't like it I will swap it or give it away - I like my shelves to reflect how I feel :)))

  4. I'm an impulse book buyer...probably why I have over 400 on my TBR. Sometimes I do buy books just for their cover but I see that as no different to buying a print by an artist/photographer I like...and the book is usually cheaper!

  5. For me, the cover is the first impression. If the cover intrigues me, I will pick it up and read the jacket or back cover blurb. Unless, of course, it is one of my favorite authors. Then I tend to just grab the book. Even then there's an exception- if the last book by that author left me less than satisfied, I think twice about buying the new one.

    aprimeau at onebearcat dot com

  6. The summary. That's the first thing that I look for, and if I fall in love with it, I'll usually buy it. Even if the cover isn't that great. But price influence it too. Then comes how its doing on reviews and the hype.

    - Mary [Anxirium]

  7. When I find a book that interest me, be it because of the cover or because someone mentioned it and made me curious, I always check out reviews. I don't try to concentrate too much on either the positive or negative reviews but try to get a sort of overview. In the end what I'm in the mood for reading will probably determine if I buy a book or not. The same goes for books at the library, I don't like to rely on blurbs alone they can be too misleading, same as covers.