Monday, March 16, 2009

How Do You Decide What New Books to Buy?

I’m curious. How do you find new favorite authors? How do you learn about about the books you add to your TBR (To Be Read) list? What influences you to seek out a book—whether it’s going to the library or to your local bookseller or to Amazon or Kindle? How do you decide whether to buy a book rather than “rent” or borrow it?

Here’s my hunch: By this time in our lives, we pretty much know what we like, right? So if we perceive a book as being “something I’d like,” we don’t mind buying it. We keep an eye out for announcements that a favorite author has a new book.

But where do you go to find that out? Where do you find those announcement? And how do you learn of NEW favorite authors? Especially, where do you go online? That “journey” you undertake to find out about something that interests you is called a “Desire Path.”

Mike Arauz created an excellent presentation on Desire Paths in the digital age. Go to
http://www.mikearauz.com/2009/03/desire-paths-branding-for-digital-lives.html

Desire Paths are unauthorized pathways that people create to get to where they want. We’ve all seen them. They are those “footprints” that diverge from the concrete sidewalk because folks don’t want to take a meandering path suggested by the landscaper! An architect friend of mine once told me that the smart designer waits to put in the concrete path. After he sees where people WANT to go, he follows their lead.

Arauz points out that the world used to be “top down.” We only had a few choices—ABC, NBC and CBS plus a daily paper—and this was where we got our news. Now, with the digital media, we can choose what we read and view. We go to “google” and we look up what interests us. Or we bookmark spots on the web. Or we follow a blog like this one. Or we join Shelfari or an online group of readers such as DorothyL or Cozy Armchair Group.

Tell you what—I’m really curious as to how YOU discover new authors. I’ll give you all week to comment—to share where YOU go for information on new releases--and then next Sunday (March 22) I’ll draw a name from the commenters. I’ll send that person a copy of Timeless Autumn by Kathryn Fox, Carol Finch and Linda Madl. Heck, I’ll even throw in some yummy Benne Seed Cookies to munch on!

24 comments:

Ellen said...

I'm on a couple interest-based mailing lists that talk about things to read; and there are a couple fine local bookstores whose clerks give good advice.

Sheila Connolly said...

Since we're "in the business" we hear a lot about new books coming--and no one is shy about marketing these days. But word of mouth still counts--if someone I know says, "you've got to read this great book," I listen.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Ellen and Sheila, those ar both great ways to hear news about emerging authors. Emerging authors. Hmm. Makes us sound like some sort of insect hatching, eh?

Terri Thayer said...

I'm always on the lookout for books for my book club and one of the best sources is other book clubs. If that sounds convoluted, it's not. When I speak at book clubs or author events, I'm always asking my audience: What do you read? The answers are interesting and I find good books that way.

10570Fan said...

I read book reviews. I don't read the NYTimes Book Review - its too much information - but any magazine I pick up - News magazines, People (believe it or not), local newspapers, anything that has a book review. Over time, I've learned to trust which publications have a good sense of authors and books and I'm always finding interesting books and new authors.

Allison said...

I have several resources that I regularly check for new books:
1. Barnes & Noble "Coming Soon", and then click on the genre (okay, I usually only check the mysteries).
2. Prime Crime for "Upcoming Books".
3. Favorite blogs (this is my favorite one).
4. Favorite author websites (which are all sorted by genre, theme - Crafty, Historical, Foodie, etc.).
5. Amazon - upcoming books.
6. There are several other sites I check, but I can't recall the them right now.
So all of this shows that I'm really a dweeb - I can spend HOURS searching for books, and when I see something, I put it on my Excel spreadsheet calendar so I can remember what's coming when. My husband just shakes his head at me.... I love books!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Alison and 10570 Fan, I like all those methods. I also love listening to NPR. I'm a member of an online book club of authors, and sometimes that leads me to a startling good read. I've also been known just to ask customers while I'm doing a signing, "So what have YOU read lately that you really liked?"

Camille Minichino said...

As old fashioned as it sounds and as "hi-tech" as I think I am with my iPod Touch -- I still like physically wandering around a book store, checking out the new releases, choosing a section and browsing.

I browse on line and listen to recommendations also, but for fun, I'm In The Store!

South Jersey Quilter said...

Mostly from recommendations on DorothyL and amazon.com. If the author is new to me, I try to take it out of the library.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Camille, I admit it. I, too, love browsing the shelves at local bookstores. Yes, I DO judge books by their covers. And South Jersey Quilter, you're a person after my heart. I like to "test drive" authors, especially if I haven't met them!

traveler said...

I read a great deal and am always looking for new books and authors. I subscribe to many publishers newsletters and go to the library regularly. That is where I pick up the book page each month which is helpful and informative.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Traveler, are you referring to that specialty publication called Book Page or is this something that your library creates? Some libraries have blogs for their patrons to contribute to. That's such a way-cool idea.

ruth said...

I love books and reading so I am totally hooked. I look up websites which show forthcoming and coming soon books. Either bookreporter and certain specific library websites as well which are great. I check author's websites and amazon is a great resource as well.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Hmm, Ruth, I haven't heard of bookreporter. I think I'll google that one!

This reminds me...groan...my website needs updating. The work never ends~

Luly The Joyful Cropper said...

I have a certain flock of authors I follow by subscribing to their fan sites or their web sites. I also read tons of book reviews to find new authors.. One can never have too many favorites.

anne said...

Since I read constantly and always look for new sources for books I use the internet. Nothing is as good. Many websites for books that are released and to be released. Mostly Fiction, Bookbrowse, Bookloons to name a few. These have great reviews and excellent sites to peruse.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Luly, you are right. You never know when you'll need a good NEW author to read. And Anee, thanks for the recommendations. I wasn't familiar with Mostly Fiction. I'll have to check them out.

Annette said...

I look for new books several ways:
favorite authors web sites
author newsletters
publisher newsletters or postcard announcements, which are my favorite because I can use the post card as aa bookmark
barnes&nobles.com
book reviews, local newspaper
blogs such as this one
local bookstores
friends recommendations

Annette said...

I look for new books several ways:
favorite authors web sites
author newsletters
publisher newsletters or postcard announcements, which are my favorite because I can use the post card as aa bookmark
barnes&nobles.com
book reviews, local newspaper
blogs such as this one
local bookstores
friends recommendations

Gina said...

I use blogs, emailed newsletters from B&N, Borders and Powells, NPR, podcasts like Eye on Books and Bookcast. Amazon's recommendations based on what I've rated sometime's pulls an interesting option. I also use stopyourekillingme.com to find similar books.

Joanna Campbell Saln said...

Wow, Annette and Gina, you all have surfaced "new" resources for me to consider. I'm curious, if you are currently receiving postcards, how do you think the booksellers/authors got your name? Are you the member of an association like Sisters in Crime? Or were those sent from your local indie bookseller?

Ann H. said...

Some of the publishers' websites are really comprehensive - list books coming out per month. Also blogs that list "our members' books" usually list when one of the members has a new book. One of my favorite ways - although maybe not most cost effective - one author actually sent out postcards with a handwritten inscription - I had previously requested a bookmark from her - and then when her new book was out, she sent the postcard. I really thought that was cool - and I went out and bought the book as soon as it was available:)

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Ann--

Terrific suggestion for us authors--I hadn't thought of following up on those who'd requested bookmarks. Very savvy. Thanks!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Anne, you won! Contact me at savetales@aol.com with your postal address so I can send you the cookies and the book.