Strike out on your own or follow recommendations?


Have you ever walked into one of those mega bookstores and then felt totally lost? So much to see! So much to read! Where does one start? Do you stroll the aisles and look for covers and titles to jump out at you? Do you walk in with recommendations from others buzzing at the back of your brain? It can short out a book lover’s mind, not to mention empty their wallet.

How do you go about deciding what to read next? Between my Amazon wish list and my Goodreads emails from friends, I have an on going list of things I want to read but, on several occasions, there will be a lull where I may have books on the list, but they haven’t come out yet. That leaves me with the fun chore of finding something else. I say fun because I do think it’s fun to browse and find something the peaks my interest, but it can also be quite a chore with the sheer  volume of things that are out there.  That is why I look to the reviews. If I’m clicking through in Amazon and find a title or cover that catches my eye, I’ll check to see how many stars it has. If it’s got five I will definitely scroll down and read the blurb and scan the reviews to see why people like it. I’ll also look at the other books Amazon suggests to see if there’s something similar that I’ve already read.  If there are three or less stars, there’s a good chance I’m going to move on and click something else…unless I see there are only a few reviewers and it’s one of those 99 cents or $2.99 books. Those things lead me to think it’s a new author or someone who’s just entering the self publishing scene. That always strikes my interest so I’ll read what it’s about and be much more willing to give it a shot, even if the reviews aren’t stellar.

The occasions where I just pick something up without recommendation or without reading a review are rare these days. That’s why I find it’s so important to get word out there of your work. Get ARCs to book bloggers, they can rocket your story to success. Take the time to go on Amazon or Goodreads or where ever and give your own ratings and reviews of things you read. Wouldn’t it be nice to know you helped spread the word of an amazing book? Perhaps karma will shine down and someone will do the same for you when you get your stuff out there.


8 responses »

  1. I usually look for specific a genre I like. The other day I found seven books at the discount shelf for only $15, and yes, I always look for something new. One day that will be my own book.

  2. 7 books for 15 bucks is awesome! I go on genre binges as well, but sometimes I get burnt out and need to look at something new for a while!

  3. I get most of my books at used bookstores… and I like used bookstores to be a mess with no rhyme or reason… just go in… look at a shelf, and see what interests you… usually with fiction, that means an author I've heard of or it's a title a friend recommended. I get a lot of books from the library too, but I generally browse there too.

    But I agree with you about goodreads – great place to submit reviews and meet people.

  4. I'm agreeing with Austin again. I have a list of recommendations and to-reads, but then I find myself in a wonderful used bookstore and anything can happen. I often browse until a title or author jumps out at me, either from a recommendation or from having read or heard about them elsewhere.

    I think for me, used bookstores are part of the fun of reading … i don't know what i'm going to get next and i'm usually pleasantly surprised!

  5. I wish we had a used bookstore or even a mom and pop place around me, sadly there is nothing near by. My other issue at the moment is that my current living situation doesn't allow for me to have a lot of books laying around. No storage space, so it's either the library or e-books for me.

  6. I love witnessing the power of a book blogger and their ability to elevate a good novel in their readers eyes. I have a few that I trust to help me empty my bank balance on the finest literature. My only worry is that the books from independent presses don't get a look in. The larger publishers can afford to promote and put there books at the front of bookstores. I feel as though the same thirty books are circulating online and even though people hate them their hatred keeps the book in our eyeview. So I pick books by reading the book's worse reviews and if they don't have any it worries me. A book doesn't generally appeal to anyone and so if everyone who has ever read it appears to have loved it I assume that the author's friends are responsible for leading the way.
    Amazon and Goodreads are responsible for my book collection as it is now, I just wish that 'popular' always meant 'excellent.' Then it would be easier to pick. (I think you can see just how much of my life goes into picking the perfect book.) I suppose it is because if a book does become part of you (as I believe they do) why not select the best?

  7. I have to agree, popular does not always mean excellent. Case in point, there are many NYT best sellers I hated or couldn't get into.

    I get what you're saying about books not appealing to all and that things should probably have one or two not so great reviews, but I feel like unless people utterly hate something, they don't bother to even do a review. I think people need to feel strongly one way or the other to prompt them to discuss it.

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