Why Do You Buy?

Recently I posed a question to a group of authors:

What do you think MOST influences a reader’s decision to buy a book?

Buying BooksI listed several choices and allowed authors to add additional choices. When the results were in, the overwhelming majority of authors had picked one specific factor they believed to be the strongest influence.

Naturally, I’m curious. I’m not sharing the answer chosen by the author group — yet. I’ll reveal that and we can chat about it in another post. For now, I’m going to list the different choices we considered as possible reasons for buying books.

Readers…please, let us know what influences YOU!  Yes, we want you to read our books, so how do we entice you?

Authors, of course, you’re also welcome to comment!

What MOST influences you to buy a book?

  • Being intrigued by the cover art or title
  • Buying because you’ve read other books by the author
  • Getting a recommendation from a friend
  • Having it suggested as one similar to a book you have bought and liked
  • Hearing about the book from a friend
  • Knowing the author
  • Learning about the book through ads and information from the publisher
  • Learning about the book through an author email or newsletter
  • Reading a cover blurb
  • Reading about the book on a blog or website
  • Reading comments about the book on Facebook
  • Reading excerpts on Facebook or websites
  • Reading reviews about the book
  • Seeing a large number of reviews for a book
  • Seeing an ad for the book at Amazon or another book site
  • Seeing it on a best-seller list
  • Seeing promotional posts from the author on Facebook or other sites
  • Watching a book trailer

I’ve put the choices in alphabetical order, and I’m not telling yet which choices we, as authors, thought were most important.

Buying books today is much different than in the past.  Once, books were visible as we went about our usual routine. I’d pass shelves of books on sale at the corner drugstore, at the grocers, the “dimestores”, as well as at traditional bookstores. Even if I hadn’t intended to do any book shopping, a cover, an intriguing title, or an author’s name might catch my eye and reel me in closer.  I’d pick up a book, read the blurb, turn to page one, read the opening lines…then if it still had my attention, I’d buy it. If the author failed to hook me, I’d put it back on the shelf.

With ebooks, it’s a different process. Books aren’t so visible.  How do we find books we’d like to read? As authors, how do we make our books visible to readers without constantly bombarding them with BUY, BUY, BUY!!!!! (Yes, overuse of exclamation points intended.)


Let’s chat about the book-buying process!




4 thoughts on “Why Do You Buy?

  1. A healthy mix of all. 😉 I get pulled in by the cover first, especially on the internet. But I’d never buy a book without reading the blurb and being intrigued by it. Recommendations play an important role, be they by friends or through Bestseller Lists and similar suggestions. And ever since I also view things from the writer’s side, reviews can influence my decision.

  2. I seem to find most books through excerpts on blogs, Facebook, and other social media. Also, I read the one-star reviews as well as the five-star raves because if someone says the formatting, grammar, etc., are terrible, I know I won’t be able to enjoy the book’s plot.

    • I’ve heard some people say that grammar and punctuation errors don’t bother them if they’re reading a good story, but I’m like you. I can’t enjoy a story if the grammar is bad and the book is riddled with errors. It’s too distracting. An occasional typo is understandable.
      We all have those. But poorly–written, poorly-edited books are hard to read.

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