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How Do You Buy Books?

The question of what makes a reader pick up a book, shell out $.99 – $30 of their hard earned money for the privilege of reading said book is pretty much the holy grail of what I do for a living (i.e., Author Promotions). The question of how to get an author’s book into the hands of readers has been complicated recently by the rapid change in both publishing and social media!

It used to be that an author’s options for promotion were a website and bookmarks, and the book came out in hardback (for a few bestselling authors) or mass market paperbacks (for everyone else), and if an author’s book wasn’t published by one of the big six, then it was lovingly wrapped in a scarf and shoved under the bed to hang with the dust bunnies. Now we have twitter and facebook and goodreads and ebooks, e-pub first and indie-pub and a million and five bloggers with review sites!

Sadly, there is no magic formula for a good book launch or great sales.Β  It’s a murky combination of having a well-written book, published when the market is favorable, with good marketing and good word-of-mouth, and not just a little bit of luck.

However, in an effort to find out how today’s reader gets their hands on new books, the Rubies would like to host a survey.

“What’s in it for me?” you might be asking. A few things, actually! First, we have fabulous prizes for randomly drawn participants.Β  (see below!) Secondly, the author who sends the most readers our way will get her/his choice of goods/services from Bemis Promotions, including custom-designed print materials (bookmarks, business cards, excerpt booklets, Romance Trading Cards or the like) OR a full site and social media strategy review, or a 20% discount on a Bemis Promotions website. πŸ˜€ Finally, we’ll reveal the results of the survey on Monday the 24th… which means the answer to life, the universe and everything will be yours for the viewing. (OK, we all know THAT answer is 42… but you just may be able to improve your own marketing strategies!)

Here’s a list of giveaways for randomly selected survey participants (be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you!)

  • UNDER FIRE by Rita Henuber (Audio book)
  • HER OWN BEST ENEMY by Cynthia Justlin (ebook)
  • INTRUSION by Cynthia Justlin (ebook)
  • FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones (your choice of format)
  • SECOND GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones (hardback)
  • CODENAME DANCER, Amanda Brice (ebook)
  • COLOR MY HORSE, Bev Petterson (ebook)
  • Liz Talley (Reader’s choice of book and format)
  • BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, by Addison Fox (reader’s choice of format – available Nov 1)
  • Cate Rowan (Reader’s choice of book, ebook format)
  • TASTE ME, by Tamara Hogan, (paperback)
  • THE DANGER OF DESIRE by Elizabeth Essex (paperback)
  • GHOST EXTERMINATOR by Vivi Andrews (reader’s choice of format)
The author with the most survey takers gets a prize! Be sure to help your favorite author!
Include print and ebooks
Include print and ebooks.
For any author, regardless of whether you've read them before.
For any author, regardless of whether you've read them before.
For any author, regardless of whether you've read them before.
For any author, regardless of whether you've read them before.
For any author, regardless of whether you've read them before.
For any author, regardless of whether you've read them before.

125 responses to “How Do You Buy Books?”

  1. Looking forward to seeing the results of the survey, Liz! I actually have most of the Ruby books on offer, so no need to enter me in the draw.

    I’m much more likely to buy a book based on a face-to-face recommendation from a friend whose judgment I trust. Blog/e-bookstore reviews are useful in bringing a book to my attention. That said, good or bad, they have a minimal impact on me because I like to form my own opinion. I guess I’m stubborn that way! Oh, and I love pretty covers and catchy blurbs. πŸ™‚

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Vanessa — A cover will often influence me… but the blurb has to catch me. And if it’s an author I’ve never read before, the opening couple of pages need to grab me as well. I am not overly influenced by reviews or by people mentioning stuff on social media sites… In fact, often the more people (I don’t know) tell me to read something, the more likely I am to NOT pick it up. But if a friend says, “you absolutely have to read this!” then I’m likely to do so.

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  2. Interesting! Blurbs do it for me, covers don’t. Some covers bear no relevance to what is inside the book. If the blurb sounds like the type of book I’d enjoy, I buy it. Fulsome, flowery hype turns me off.

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    • That is so true, Vonnie. I’m a cover person myself, so they do make stop and take a peak at the blurb.

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    • Paula Tau says:

      I’m with you Vonnie. Sometimes the covers have nothing to do with the book itself. A big however – a great looking cover will make me virtually (since mostly I buy ebooks) pick up the book so that I can read the synopsis. I’ve picked up quite a few “new to me” authors that way πŸ™‚ Usually if it’s an author I already like, the cover doesn’t sway me one way or the other.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Covers will make me look at a book… they won’t make me buy it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Great list of questions, Liz. I’ll definitely be here Monday to check at the results.

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  4. Shea Berkley says:

    I’m geeky enough to be really excited to find out the results of this survey.

    I’m more of a cover gal. If the cover catches my eye I’ll definitely pick it up. If the back cover blurb sounds good I’ll crack it open. If the first few paragraphs hold my attention, then I’ll buy it.

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    • Monique says:

      I use the same method as Shea. Although, Goodreads has really been playing a role in what to read this year. Budget constraints have kept me from buying this year and so I’m spending more carefully, and putting my local library to use.

      Great survey, looking forward to the results.
      Monique

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  5. Very interesting — and hard! I couldn’t say for sure how many books I’ve bought or read this year. I get many from the library, and they all sort of run together after a while. What did I buy and what did I borrow? Hard to say — especially when I forget to return them for weeks on end!

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Ha! I don’t have any idea how many books I’ve read this year, either (Though it’s a LOT less than in years past) I’ve wracked up some serious Library fines as well… (Much to my mother’s (the librarian) chagrin!)

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  6. Most covers squick me out — it’s just too much “too much” for me. (Which is why I love my Kindle more than ever!)

    The blurbs sell me on a book quite often, but the clincher is recommendations by other readers. Getting that first-hand “YOU MUST BUY THIS” is what makes me purchase a book from a new-to-me author.

    However, I’ve gotten burned so many times recently that I find I do the “Sample” offered by Amazon and then purchase the book only if the first 20 pages don’t make me want to hurl.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      I keep meaning to use the Sample feature, but I always forget….or get too impatient. Besides, I can’t bear not to finish a story once I’ve started it. (With the exception of The Brothers Karamazov, which was so amazingly good, I couldn’t bear to have it be over…I stopped about 15 pages from the end, and to this day still haven’t finished it. Time to start over….)

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      • Leah Braemel says:

        Oooh, I really like the sample feature for giving me an idea whether I’ll like a new author’s voice. Or if the author has a freebie/giveaway on their website or on Amazon/Goodreads can help tip the balance if I’ve never read them before.

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      • Too often I’m put off by the pace, the word choices, the lack of depth in the conflict… or I’m just flat-out bored with the style.

        However, once they capture me, I’m all in, and usually end up glomming their entire back list.

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        • Liz Bemis says:

          I’ve been known to love a single book and then buy an author’s entire backlist as well. (Inevitably, I do this with authors who have written about 842 books, many of which have been out of print since before the dinosaurs and the Beatles.)

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    • That Look Inside feature on Amazon is one of my major filters when it comes to buying books. Living on the other side of the world where books cost more than a small island (only a minor exaggeration) I believe in the adage of “try before you buy”. I need a connection with the author’s voice or style, and the main character’s personality before I put money down to spend time with them.

      So I guess my three top criteria would be:
      (1) the back cover blurb grabs me
      (2) I connect with the author/main character (by reading the first ten to twenty pages)
      (3) the price doesn’t require me to sell a body part

      So far this year I’ve read more than 150 books. That’s including non-fiction.

      Oh, one thing I should say. I HATE being given a book to read. I’ll ask for recommendations and take them, but I loathe being handed a book and told, “You’ll love this.” Tell me I’ll love it, sure. Just don’t give me the physical book!! Yeah, I know it’s crazy but there you are!

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  7. Leah Braemel says:

    I gave up on the survey when I got to the “how many times have you bought a book based on Twitter” or whatever it was (can’t see the survey now) because I can’t say I bought a book specifically from a tweet, or a FB post, or even an author newsletter. BUT if I see a lot of people tweeting about it, or if I see a friend whose judgment I trust posting about it on FB then it’ll stick in my mind more for me to go check it out later. The only time I’ve ever bought a book based on an author’s newsletter is when it’s a book from a series I’ve been following and would have bought anyway and the newsletter is more of a reminder to order it.

    You’ll also have to take the # of books I’ve bought print/e as a general guideline not an absolute number. I started counting through my receipts and gave up at 200. I also said I’d only bought 50 of those as ebooks but just checked my Kindle — I’ve bought over 100 so far this year; add in another dozen I’ve bought on the Kobo because the e-versions were only available on it and not on the Kindle or were cheaper on the Kobo. (Canadian book prices/availability sucks! See below…) I know I’ve bought at least that many, but I’ve also received a heckuva a lot more print books (as in boxes and boxes from my publisher and from conferences) and loaned from friends that I’ve got stacked in Mount TBR as well. (I didn’t include those books in my estimation above, they’re extra) Those stacks of paperbacks on my desk/5 highs/floor are just one reason I prefer to buy books on my Kindle or Kobo rather than print books.

    A couple other things that influences me about buying a book. Price — if the ebook is pricier than the print book, I tend not to buy either just out of annoyance at the publisher for trying to force me to buy one format over another. I never buy hardcovers, by the way. I refuse to pay $30+ for a book that I may not like. I’ve been disappointed too many times to waste that much money. I either buy it as an ebook — and refuse to pay more than $9.99 for it, or wait for the paperback. The other thing that influences my purchase of a book is its availability. Because of the size of Mt TBR, I am now buying more and more in ebook, but some publishers are delaying releasing the book in eformat. Also living in Canada, there are occasionally books I really want that I can’t obtain as an ebook thanks to geographic restrictions. Or are available only on the Kobo but not on my Kindle — yeah, it’s weird and confusing because obviously they’ve got the rights to sell in Canada if it’s available on the Kobo, so why can’t I buy it on my Kindle? Amazon hatred on the publisher’s part? Anyway, there are all sorts of reasons for me not to buy a book.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Leah — It’s interesting how much price point has become a reason to buy/try a new author. If I’m out a couple of bucks and don’t like it, I think, “Oh well…” If I buy a $30 hardback and hate it, I have a tendency to feel bitter and want to hold it against the author. πŸ˜€

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      • Winona Cross says:

        Even with the advent of Kindle and other forms of e-readers I still love the feel and smell of a real book. I love to see them lined up on my shelves, closet shelves, tables, desk, and near me wherever I may be. That being said, I love the convenience of Kindle. I’ve reached the point where I only buy hard cover books if it is a reference book, an autographed copy, or part of a collection I own. The first example of that to come to mind is the Diana Gabaldon series.

        This is a very interesting survey. I’m looking forward to seeing the results, especially how they might impact future sales.

        Happy reading and writing to all.

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      • Amanda Brice says:

        I absolutely won’t buy hardcover unless it’s an author I know and love. (OK, the only exceptions are author friends of mine whose debut books were put out in hardcover.) I’m willing to shell out up to $9 for a new-to-me author, but no more. And increasingly these days, only if the book has gotten some serious buzz or great recs from reviewers/friends I trust.

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    • Wildwitch Terri says:

      I agree about price. I refuse to pay over $30 Canadian for a book I may read once in 3 years. Paperbacks average $10 so I went to ebook for the $6 to $7 books. Sadly the Publishers have caught on and that has cut my purchasing in half. When are the Publishers going to realize that it turns us off when it’s too expensive? I’ve never bought a new release Hardcover or Trade book. I go to the library for those. Let’s hope they don’t totally kill the ebook industry and further damage Authors.

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  8. I feel like my results are a bit skewed, because I don’t buy – I get everything from the library. So I will say that covers, blurbs and reviews absolutely influence what goes on my library list!

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      I clearly should have added How Many books a year do you get from the library to the survey! Maybe I’ll re-do it next year.

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      • Anne Marsh says:

        Yes! Adding a “How many books did you get from the library?” would be fabulous. Stupid, less-than-ideal economy meant economizing on books for me… so I’m borrowing almost everything from the library first unless it’s one of 3-4 authors that I must have immediately. I’ve ended up with two new must-have authors from the library so far this year alone: Thea Harrison and Nina Bruhns.

        Is it wrong to say that, if it’s not an author I already watch for (like Eloisa James or Lora Leigh), I rely heavily on RT Book Reviews? Even when I thoroughly disagree with their reviews, it’s a great heads-up about new authors (who I then go get from the library).

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  9. Tori says:

    I tends to buy book based on blurbs, reviews, twitter recs by friends. As a reviewer, I don’t buy a lot but even then, my picks are based on blurbs.

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  10. Vivi Andrews says:

    I’m skewed also. My print buying numbers are high this year because of the Borders closing sales where I went nuts and impulse bought over a hundred books. Usually I’m more of a library girl, but I’m a sucker for a sale.

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    • Leah Braemel says:

      Face/palm moment — I think in the survey where it asked what author got me here that I answered Vivi Anna when it should have been you. (Between you, Vivi Anna and Vivian Arend, I get confused. Yes, my face is red.)

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    • Sara Ramsey says:

      Yep, me too – I got approximately 100 books at Borders, many of which I wouldn’t have bought. In 2010, I bought more ebooks than print books by about 3:1.

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  11. My results are skewed as well. I’ve bought mostly ebooks this year out of necessity, since we live in Brazil. The only print books I’ve gotten were ones my husband brought back with him on trips back and forth to the States. But I’m a dinosaur in that I still buy mostly print books (when I’m in the States), except for those by authors (including Rubies) that I love.

    A great cover will make me turn the book over and look at the blurb. I also tend to flip to the cover from time to time as I’m reading to see if I can find which scene/clothing from the book was used. The cover is not always true to what’s in the book, but it increases my reading pleasure when it reflects what’s inside.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Tina, I’m totally with you on using the cover for a reference! It’s especially jarring when the characters on the cover look nothing like you picture the characters in a book!

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  12. Elisa Beatty says:

    Having a Kindle has made me much more self-conscious about just how many books I buy and read each year…. it’s, um, rather a lot.

    For me, a recommendation from another reader I trust is the #1 reason I buy a book. My sister is my best source (and I’m often hers) but I get a lot of good recs through Smart Bitches, and from recommendations from writers whose books I enjoy.

    I think I found Sherry Thomas because of the RITA, then through Sherry found both Meredith Duran (who shares a website with her) and the astonishingly good Joanna Bourne (who’s my absolute favorite romance writer publishing right now…can’t wait to get my hands on THE BLACK HAWK!!!!!!)…and through Joanna Bourne, I found Deanna Raybourne, whose Lady Julia Gray mysteries have been a total delight.

    All these books have made me happy!!!

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    • You’ve been murder on my Visa statement, Elisa. You turned me onto Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran and… oh sigh… one of the Rubies (I think) mentioned the Lady Julia Grey novels that have been such a life-changer for me.

      Then there was the whole Georgette Heyer sale that yanked $25 right out of my bank account.

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    • Amanda Brice says:

      I discovered Deanna Rayborune’s Lady Julia Grey mysteries because of the RITA a few years back. She was so honestly shocked to have beaten out Nora Roberts that she was speechless on stage, and since one of her books was a freebie in our goody bags (and had a gorgeous cover), I decided to try it out and have been hooked ever since!

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  13. I’m very excited to see the results! Off to invite the masses.

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  14. Dawn Doyle says:

    Can’t wait to see the results of this survey. I’m quite interested.
    -Dawn aka dawnmomoffour
    thedoyle6@rogers.com

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  15. Alaina says:

    man that was a hard one! but strangely, i actually keep track of how many books i read a month/year etc.. so i knew without approximating how many (of course that doesnt count rereads..)
    i tend to love libraries more.. one thing that wasnt on here.. how many books do you buy from authors you follow? about 80% of the books i buy are authors i love

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Alaina — that’s a good point. I was really trying NOT to develop a survey that was a gazillion questions long, as no one would want to take it! But maybe for next year! πŸ˜€ THANKS!

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  16. Thanks for the invitation to play along. As a reader, I don’t think my responses accurately reflect the answers to these questions.

    How do I discover new authors? Primarily through “Also Bought” in Kindle. Did I miss that option?

    What results in a buying decision?
    The sample. That was not a choice. I looked.

    I have a simple recipe:

    If the cover looks good, and
    the blurb reads well, and
    the sample engages me long enough to get to the end of it, THEN
    I’ll look at the price and see if it’s a book I want.

    Mainstream press loses out on this recipe almost every time because their ebook prices are dumb.

    I find covers everywhere in Amazon. Once in a very great while (maybe three times a year) somebody will recommend a book that I’ll go look for.

    Now, I have bought books that my FB and Twitter friends have recommended (or–more likely–written) but that’s a rare occurrence.

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  17. Danielle W says:

    A lot of my new author recs come from authors that I follow on social media sites that talk about the book. I also follow a lot of blogs that review and sometimes host giveaways- If I like the book that I won, I go and buy the backlist. I love it when the first book in a series goes on a really good sale (ebook), I have found so many great series’ from that kind of promotion.

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  18. The blurbs grab me more than the cover. If the price is right,$3.99 or less, I’ll buy it. For more expensive books and unknown authors, I’ll try the free Kindle sample first, then make the decision off that. Really looking forward to seeing these results. Thanks, Liz.

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  19. Carole says:

    I had to guess on some of those ‘How Many’ questions. I read more than 150 books a year. It’s hard to keep track of where I got them from. You probably should have had a question about library loans. I read a lot of authors unknown to me via my library. The books I buy are usually from my ‘Fav’ authors. I did download a lot of ‘freebies’ to my Kindle this year.

    Carole
    carole720@msn.com

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Carole — I haven’t even read that much this year, and i can tell you, I still have no idea how many I’ve read… If I was a consistent reader (a book a week, for instance) it would be a lot easier… Instead, I’ll read 5 books over the course of a weekend, and then not pick up another for a month.

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  20. Susan says:

    First there are the books I automatically buy because they are by one of my favorite authors. When I go to a book store I see what cover or title catches my attention then read the blurb, if that interests me I start reading the first chapter to see if I like the style of writing. I currently use my nook to read and buy books, so I check the Amazon and B&N websites for new, upcoming releases, and bargain books, again if the cover or title grabs my attention I will read the blurb then I will download a sample, if there isn’t a sample or it is only a couple of pages I won’t consider the book. When I find a new author I like I will generally purchase all their published books and will add them to my auto purchase list. I will also check out books that are recommended by one of my favorite authors.

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    • Amazon has been smart to send me emails in advance of the release day of my favorite authors — I get sucked right in and hit “Buy Now” in a heartbeat.

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      • Elisa Beatty says:

        Yup, I do that too. It seems a lot of my faves have books about to come out in the next couple weeks (Joanna Bourne, Meljean Brook, Kristan Higgins) and I’m glad for the reminders!

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      There are certain authors who I buy the week their books comes out without question: (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Suzanne Brockmann, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Anna Campbell [as well as a number of Rubies]) and most of those, I read their backlists once a year. But every once in a while, I just want to read “SOMETHING DIFFERENT”.

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  21. Julie Randolph says:

    The only thing I would add is Title. Fancy covers have no draw for me and if the title is bland I usually pass unless it’s a series I’m reading. I’d have never read Gone if the title hadn’t gotten me to pick it up, as with The Mortal Instruments, and Tiger’s Curse. I do read a lot of YA fantasy fiction, so I know what I’m looking for but case in point, House of Night, cool title, burned through that whole series, The Vampie Academy …eh, pass. Finally ran out of books so I got it and it’s an amazing series. Title does a lot.

    Wow, now that I’m backtracking, I underestimated how many books I’ve read and purchased this year. Oh well, at least 100, probably closer to 200. I also tend to get other series from authors I like. Rachel Caine, started with The Morganville Vampires and now in the middle of Weather Wardens, Karen Marie Moning, read Fever Series then backed up to the Highlander books, and on …and on.

    I buy my books in 3 categories, signed (Indy Bookstore in Houston called Murder By The Book), Unsigned just came out (Hastings, usually), been out a while and I just missed it (Wal-Mart for book one then have to order or download the rest).

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      That’s interesting… I don’t consciously list title as a reason to buy or not buy a book… but I do know how much time goes into the naming of books, so you’ve got to believe that it does influence a number of readers! Thanks for stopping by!

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  22. Na S. says:

    I read give or take 100 books a year, mostly print books as in 99%. That is mainly due to the fact I don’t own an ereader and reading on my PC is not fun. I’ve only read two short stories on my PC because it was short, I really wanted to and it was only available in ebook format. It’s funny though, this year I purchased more ebooks than print books. For two reasons, the ebooks I bought were a good deal $3.99 or less and were mostly indie reads or were from best-selling authors in which the book were self-published and only available in ebook format. The ebooks I purchased go into my TBR pile for when I do get an ereader. I’m in the market for one but haven’t made the plunge -still too many print books in my TBR pile. Covers and blurbs are what factors into my choice to read, if it’s a book with a not-so great cover but great sounding blurb then I may turn to reviews for more help choosing, but rarely.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      I got a nook a couple of years ago… and I’ve used it SOME… but I’ve really started reading from it this year! (my closest big bookstore is now 20 minutes away [which is sad given that I live in a major metropolitan area!])Which means it’s just a lot more convenient to buy them through my nook.

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  23. Diana Layne says:

    I just gave some estimates too, my memory’s not good enough for exact numbers. Also, on how do you tell your friends, I email everyone on my list, which is why I chose the “other” option. This will be so fun, though! Can’t wait for the results!!

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  24. Michelle Bledsoe says:

    Do you know until this survey, I knew I read a lot but not really how much. Since I am not able to work, I have lots of time to read. I find that I am all over the place on how I decide what book to buy. Sometimes I will buy a book if any author I like has recommended it on the cover.

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  25. I think you missed an important question – when did you buy an e-reader. You asked how many books I bought in print versus e-book but that’s irrelevant considering you don’t know when I bought the e-reader. Which was in Sept this year. So if you look at how many books I have bought I’m buying more now that before the e-reader. That’s scary but it’s so easy to buy with one.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      That’s a good point, Bronwen! Thanks!

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    • Winona Cross says:

      Bronwyn made me realize how I choose Kindle books for some reason. Maybe because I haven’t had the first cup of coffee yet but I do use my Kindle a great deal. I utilize Amazon’s “free” books but will only add one of them if the reviews are positive and if the book offered had three or more stars. My Kindle contains nearly 200 books. I used the free book selections to add most of the classics, a dictionary, a thesaurus, and the Bible to my Kindle.

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  26. Debbie says:

    I read the Romantic Times Review every month. I search out the books that sound interesting to me,both advertised and reviewed books. It is both the cover and the blurb that catch my attention. I don’t necessarily follow the recommendation of the reviewer. My taste my not match the reviewer so, I do buy against some poor reviews. I have never been disappointed in my choices. The review is always just a guide line.
    After I have made my list I head off to Barnes and Noble. I do not begrudge a purchase of a book. I have been known to drop 150.00 or so on a stack of books. At Christmas it is always my gift of choice.
    I find new authors through facebook and writers blog sites. Sites such as the Goddess Blogs.

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  27. My answers were all VERY approximate but I did my best. Can’t wait to see the results!

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  28. Sharon says:

    A good blurb will catch me every time…also am likely to pick up a book recommended by a friend, written by someone whose work I have enjoyed in the past, or something recommended by a favorite author.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Sharon — I’m with you. Loved previous book is generally my #1 reason for buying a book!

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      • Sharon says:

        I bought a Nook color right after Christmas…wasn’t sure I would like it since I really like the ‘book’ experience, but I have to say, I have never made a better purchase in my life and have done more reading than ever before! Once I read something by an author I like, I tend to then read everything they put out.

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  29. Rita Henuber says:

    Word of mouth from people I know and trust is first. And the next book in a series of an author I’m following. If there is a lot of buzz about a book I’ll read the blurb and then get the sample read. I can tell within the first five pages if I want to read this book. I listen to around 30 books a year. I can listen while I’m doing other things. I love my ereader. I have some books in 2 an 3 different medias. Don’t generally pay more than eight bucks for a book unless it’s for research. Am very protective of my print books. If I want to deconstruct one I buy a second to mark up.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      I’ve never marked up a book for research purposes… but there are a few that I have multiple copies of — usually when I’ve lent a favorite out, and it doesn’t come back before I want to read it again. Them when it does come back I have two.

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  30. Diana says:

    If I receive unrequested promotional emails from an author, I make a point of never reading her book.

    What makes me buy and read a book? It has to be WELL WRITTEN!!

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      It’s interesting that promo materials you didn’t ask for make you unlikely to read a book. It’s good to know that some people feel that way!

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      • Debbie says:

        Actually, I don’t know why you feel that way. In this day and age it is hard for everyone to make a living. If someone sent me an ARC or some promotional material that was unsolicited that would not stop me from reading that book or author. I do reading as an Ambassador for Harlequin and I look forward to finding new authors I have never read before.

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  31. Kelley says:

    Goodreads is becoming more and more of an influence as I use it more. Traditionally though, I’m a bookstore browser-I love me a pretty cover and and intriguing blurb. After that-it’s recommendations from friends. My cousin recently recommended A Discovery of Witches so I previewed it on my happy, new Kindle. The sample option is a great way to sense an author’s style or voice. When I find an authour I like, I’ll try every one of their books.
    Great survey, Liz. I’ll definitely check out the results nexy week-thanks for gathering all teh info.

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  32. Can’t wait for the results!

    The cover is usually what catches my eye and makes me take a second look. Then the blurb has to do its job. Reviews don’t sway me unless they’re from a trusted friend who I know has the same tastes in books as I do.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Cynthia — I’m with you… for a book by a new author, someone almost has to put the first book into my hand. I used to be a lot more adventurous in my reading (and rarely would leave a book unfinished) but now I have so much less time that I need someone to GUARANTEE that the book is going to be good.

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  33. Shannon Stidham says:

    I usually don’t buy books since my mother in law works for Simon & Schuster I get a lot of ARC from her. I also win quite a few books on goodreads or though Authors via facebook or twitter. But when I do buy books its usually the cover that catches my eye first…

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  34. Kira says:

    I usually buy books because I’ve read their reviews in romantic times magazine, its on my wish list from the must have authors I follow, or because a cover is beautiful.

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  35. Stephanie says:

    If I’m browsing in a store, it’s the Title and Cover that catch my attention. In which case, I’ll pick it up and read the blurb. The blurb is what sells it.

    But, I don’t often browse. Through recs from friends on goodreads, I usually know what I’m after. Not to mention, I read a lot of YA series, so I’m frequently buying the next in a series, so none of the above would apply. And there are a handful of authors, I will buy no matter what.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Stephanie, I’m with you. I usually go into a book store knowing what I intend to buy. And it’s rare that I buy anything different (unless I see a book from a favorite author that I missed)

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  36. Heather Schrock says:

    A recommendation gets me. Of course, I still have to go to Amazon and look at the blurb to see if it interests me. The cover is not a deciding factor, but if I haven’t had a rec, I am more likely to pass up a book with an unappealing cover. And sometimes, a cover catches my eye and gets me to read the blurb! Hmmmm, I guess there are a lot of factors in choosing a book for me. I have never thought about it before, LOL.

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  37. liz talley says:

    Very interesting discussion and I can’t wait for the results. Of course, I haven’t taken the quiz yet. Guess I should do that since I was a reader first, author second. I will say that since I’ve started writing at a decent clip, I don’t have as much time to read as I did before. I don’t usually rely on recommendations that much…I tend to do blurb and sample. If I’m hooked, I read on and buy. Cost isn’t so much an issue for me because if I’m hooked enough, the book is cheaper than a movie and lasts longer (as long as I don’t inhale it.) I’ll easily drop $20.00 at a movie by the time I have popcorn, drink and ticket. I’d much rather spend $7.50 on two or three books.

    Okay, back up to take the quiz.

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  38. Recommendations are becoming big for me. I used to shop in my neighborhood bookstore and check out the new fiction. Now when a friend says ‘you have to read this’ I go to the Kindle store and download sample pages. If the sample pages pull me in, I’ll buy the book.

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  39. I forgot to mention that my neighborhood store was a Borders and is now closed.

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    • Liz Bemis says:

      Connie – Same here. My closest bookstore is more than 20 minutes away, and I live inside the Cincinnati, OH beltway. (In other words, it’s not exactly the hinterlands here!)

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  40. Karin Anderson says:

    Oh goodness, I find books almost any way I can. Between shopping in Barnes & Noble, looking online at Amazon, GoodReads or author’s websites/blogs I have bought at least 100 books this year alone (yikes). I do not like e-books, but I’ll read them if I’m interested enough or if I win them. I’d say GoodReads and Amazon are my two go-to places, though. I also follow several authors on Facebook and take their suggestions.

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  41. Covers and blurbs have very little influence on my purchase decisions because I’m well aware how little control authors have over them (unless it’s self-published, of course). A cover can draw my eye by identifying the book’s genre as one I read, and an unattractive, awkward one makes me wonder if the book itself will be unprofessional too. With blurbs, I’m mainly looking for tropes–is this a premise I’m tired of, or one I wish I could find more often?

    But I find most new-to-me authors from recommendations from friends or reviews on sites I trust–I’ve found many a good read from Dear Author, Smart Bitches, and All About Romance, for example. And this is probably beyond the scope of this survey, but I read almost as much nonfiction as fiction, much of it because of an author interview on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, or Fresh Air.

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  42. Kaetrin says:

    I just filled in the survey but the first time I answered, I got lots of red error messages! I was trying to be too specific I think.

    For instance, in the question re the Twitter sales, I bought 22 books from Fictionwise last week because I saw a tweet about the 60% off sale but as for individual books, I’ve probably only bought 4 or 5 from a Twitter recommendation. Usually I’ll look up a review if I don’t know the author. If I do know and love the author, I will buy on a tweet.

    Also, I wasn’t sure what you meant about the ebook format question. I have a Sony reader but I buy from Amazon (I have a Kindle app on the iPad and on my phone), Books on Board, a little from the iBookstore, and from various publishers, like eHarlequin, Carina, Loose ID, Dreamspinner, etc. I’ve bought from Kobo but I hardly ever buy from Sony – even thought I answered Sony because that is the brand of reader I own.

    For new to me authors, the hands down most likely way to get me to read it is if I read a great review from a reviewer I trust.

    Otherwise, I’ll try books from new to me authors when I get books from NetGalley, or if they’re on special and I can try a new author risk free (or virtually so).

    Hope the survey results are useful for you! πŸ™‚

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  43. Mary says:

    One source of titles you forgot to mention was the library. Our library sends e-mail newsletters with selected titles and you can sign up to get the newsletter for specific genres and subjects. I get a lot of my books from there. They haven’t steered me wrong yet.

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  44. Brandy says:

    As a working mother of a toddler, I don’t read as many books as I did before motherhood. All three of the books I’ve read this year cover to cover are parenting books. I read one of them twice! So does that count as four books? All twelve of the books I’ve bought this year are board books for my toddler. The last four board books were bought at the grocery store.

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    • Winona Cross says:

      Brandy–i would agree that your parenting book read twice counts as two. Buying books for your baby is probably one of the wisest investments you’ll ever make. My granddaughters, aged 4 and 2, love books. They’ve been read to and had access to books since the day they came home from the hospital. My four year old is nuts about the Critter books written by ??? Mercer.

      Good job.

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  45. Maggie says:

    Hearing book reviews on NPR and author interviews (NPR, Jon Stewart, etc.), as well as “check out this book” comments from e-friends are what get me into the bookstore.
    Once I am there, a good cover will get me to pick up an “unknown” book ( books other than the ones I went in looking for), but reading the book jacket and a bit of the first chapter are what influences the actual purchase in all cases. Beyond that, there are a few authors whose books I pick up every time (I’m sure this is true for most book lovers).

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  46. Bria Quinlan says:

    This is great. Can’t wait to read more πŸ™‚

    I’d also be interested to hear how many people do book shares (paperback swaps of new releases OR share kindle accounts)

    But, newsletters. I haven’t signed up for any. I get put on lists by friends (I love you, please stop) and people I meet in passing or comment on a blog somewhere (no love, and really stop. That’s spam.)

    If you’re in the second group, it puts you on my DNB list. I’m not rewarding someone for spamming my email.

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  47. Donna Martin says:

    In stores the cover makes me pick up the book, the blurb is what motivates me to buy the book. Since I have been on Facebook I have entered numerous book give away contests and have found new authors to read from either winning a book from an author I have never read and loving her writing once I read the book or from mentions of author that other people love their writing. I follow 67 authors so far on Facebook and I am going broke trying to buy at least 1 book from each. Thank God for flea markets and garage sales!

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  48. Winona Cross says:

    By the way, can someone tell me about GoodReads?

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  49. Wildwitch Terri says:

    I actually find books through Fantastic Fiction. It’s a website that I visit at least twice a day. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk I check out the correct reading order of a series, I search for new releases each month, I go there to find out about upcoming releases. That’s my #1 way to find new Authors and Books.

    This should be a fascinating survey story.

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  50. Ivy says:

    I buy based on blurbs, covers, reviews (by bloggers or people I know have similar tastes), and friends recommendations.
    I’m all over the place as far as genres and price does figure in but if it doesn’t sound good, the price is moot.

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  51. Theresa N. says:

    Great survey! I actually enjoyed it and I normalyy don’t enjoy those things! Can’t wait for the results. I normally stick to my genre:paranormal/urban fantasy, but there is a big influence on me from a couple of blogs. They always have great reviews and suggestions!

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