Wednesday, 10 March 2010

How I Choose Books

When I go book shopping I always seem to come home with quite random selections of books. After thinking about how I shop I realised that I do actually have a process for buying books, although it might be quite strange. This is how my process goes:

The first step I take when buying books is to decide on what genre I’m looking for. This is because the larger bookstores usually have the books shelved according to genre. So I head to the relevant shelves. If the books aren’t organised by genre then I’ll just jump straight to step two.

Step two is to scan the shelves searching for authors that I recognise, either because I’ve already read books they’ve written or because I’ve heard them mentioned somewhere and liked the sound of their books.

If I don’t find any books by authors I recognise, or I want something different, then I glance at the colours of the book spines. Usually if I’m looking for a light & fluffy read I’ll lean towards the lighter pastel coloured spines, if I’m looking for a crime/mystery or horror book it’ll be the darker spines that get my attention.

The next, and probably most important, step is to read the titles. If one jumps out at me I’ll pull the book off the shelf for a closer look. Titles that I tend to steer away from are anything that sounds boring and anything that conjures up images of space, future and science fiction in general (because I really don‘t like science fiction!).

Once I pick a book off the shelf, chances are I’ll end up buying it. However, before I make the final commitment I always read the back cover. If the synopsis grabs my attention, it’s a keeper. But really, reading the synopsis is just a formality, I’ve subconsciously already decided to buy the book the moment I picked it off the shelf.

The very final step is to check the price! I refuse to pay over the odds for a book, anything over £5 I usually don’t bother. But seeing as I mostly shop in bargain bookstores and second-hand shops this isn’t really a problem.

I don’t tend to look at front covers of books; if I do it’s only to see the price sticker. I don’t know why I don’t look at the front cover in the shops because I do look at them when I get home, I guess I just don’t like to be influenced by a cover picture as they can sometimes be quite misleading about the book.

So how about anyone else? What makes you choose which books to take home?

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