I noticed a pattern in my book buying habits the other day when I found myself running down to the local book and music store to snatch up the last paperback copy of Wolf Hall. Since there is a lot of talk about “discoverability” in this new digital age, this might be interesting to look into, both other people’s buying processes and your own.
For me, I do a lot of searching on Amazon for new books and writers. It’s my first stop to find something I might like. Particularly I go there hoping to find a new indie writer in a genre I enjoy (usually Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and now Historical Fiction). The algorithms are pretty good at predicting what I would like, but I don’t trust them 100%.
Instead, I browse the Top 100 lists and the Also-Boughts. If I see a cover I like, I click on it and check out the description. Right after that, I read a bunch of reviews. I get a lot of enjoyment out of reading reviews, and I usually go from the 5-Stars to the 1-Stars. If the 1-Stars have ridiculous criticisms, I dismiss them and check out the “See Inside” feature or download a sample if the book is on Kindle.
From there, I decide if I’m hooked enough to buy the book.
Now, as far as digital over physical copies is concerned, I do like to have a physical copy of certain books. If the fantasy has beautiful maps and diagrams in it, I do not go for the Kindle edition. If it’s traditionally published, I will seek out a physical copy at BullMoose Books and Music down the street from me. They have a very reliable website that lists if a book is in stock, and which locations have copies. They also do a fantasic job of letting me know as I’m searching if a location has limited stock, which means there is only one copy left on the shelf. If that’s the case, I make a run to the store as soon as possible to pick it up – or call ahead if I’m 100% sure I want to make the purchase, and have them hold the book for me at the front.
If the book is indie published, I usually go for the Kindle edition because it is cheaper and the quality is not too different from a printed book from CreateSpace. I have been surprised by some interior design in the indie world, however, though I haven’t been tempted to buy a POD paperback…yet. We’ll see what tempts me out of this comfort zone in the future!
So, there you have it. That is the process I make when looking to buy a book. I also check to see if the local library has copies of a book available as well if I am crunched for money.
What about you? Any interesting or quirky habits as far as your book buying process is concerned? I’d love to hear from you!