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Your book shopping habits?

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N. Gemini Sasson
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Post by N. Gemini Sasson » Wed May 12th, 2010, 2:52 pm

Wow, thanks for all the thorough responses, everyone. The most interesting thing to me here is how several of you have mentioned your buying habits changing over the last few years. I used to enjoy browsing in our local bookstores, but now unless I go the next town over to shop, which is only a few times a year, my only places to find books are Kroger's, Target and Meijer's. Even though they do carry some HF, it's a very limited selection. So more and more I turn to places like this.

Also, in a sense this is partly about buzz, isn't it? If you hear of a book mentioned here and there, especially from impartial sources, you're more likely to look it up.

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cw gortner
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Post by cw gortner » Thu May 13th, 2010, 11:42 pm

1) Where do you find the books you buy? (At a bookstore, at a general merchandise store, second-hand bookstore, or online?)

I tend to find the book online first, and then I'll go to a bookstore to buy it. I made a vow last year to buy all my books in stores but as the bills mounted (I buy a lot of books!) I returned to online. Now, I divide between the two. I online browse more because I tend to browse at night, when stores are closed. However, once I'm in a store I've been known to stay for hours, too! I've discovered quite a few authors I never would have heard of otherwise that way. As EC mentioned, if the book is in-print I do my best to buy it new. But I have picked up the occasional irresistible find in the second-hand stores.

2) Do you generally browse to find a book that might interest you, and if so do you take a broad approach or do you hone in on a particular era or subject matter first?
I check out new hf first. If it's set in less-frequented terrain, all the better.

3) How important are reviews in influencing what you do or don't buy?
It depends on the review source. In the last few years, with online reviewer booming, I've begun to pay closer attention to certain bloggers who've recommended books I ended up buying and liking. I do read Historical Novels Review cover-to-cover and actually circle books whose reviews I've liked. Armed with that, I start shopping :)

4) How important is word of mouth endorsement - for example, from a friend or on a discussion list such as this?
Important, but not essential. If it's a book I've decided I want to read, pretty much nothing anyone says can dissuade me. I just have to find out for myself. But a good recommendation can always spark my interest!

5) Where do you generally learn of books that you later end up buying? (Advertisements, random chance, discussion lists, blogs, friends, etc.)
The Historical Novels Review, friends, and right here.

Feel free to add anything relevant. And thanks in advance for the input.[/QUOTE]
Last edited by cw gortner on Thu May 13th, 2010, 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!
THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
THE LAST QUEEN


www.cwgortner.com

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Fri May 14th, 2010, 12:54 pm

1) Where do you find the books you buy? (At a bookstore, at a general merchandise store, second-hand bookstore, or online?)

I find a lot of them online, but I usually buy them second-hand. I do make exceptions though for books I really, really want (and that can't be found at second-hand shops). I'd love to buy everything new, but my budget doesn't allow for that right now.

2) Do you generally browse to find a book that might interest you, and if so do you take a broad approach or do you hone in on a particular era or subject matter first?

It depends on where I'm shopping. In a nice organized store I'll go to my favorite subjects first. But I've found some real gems in a shop where the books are just thrown on the shelves in no particular order.

3) How important are reviews in influencing what you do or don't buy?

For the most part, they're not a factor. I'll usually look at the number of good vs bad, but I really like to decide for myself. Too many reviews have spoilers so I tend to avoid reading them if I think I might actually buy the book.

4) How important is word of mouth endorsement - for example, from a friend or on a discussion list such as this?

It can be very important if it's from a reliable source. Example: I always keep an eye out for books that are recommended by my fellow HFOers.

5) Where do you generally learn of books that you later end up buying? (Advertisements, random chance, discussion lists, blogs, friends, etc.)

Shopping site recommendations, friends, family, the occasional magazine article or advertisement, and of course HFO.

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N. Gemini Sasson
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Post by N. Gemini Sasson » Sun May 16th, 2010, 3:48 pm

Thanks again, everyone! I've posted some thoughts on this, plus an overview of these responses on in a blog post entitled: Book Reviews: How important are they in influencing your book buying habits? Actually, I think that really only ponders one part of why readers do or don't buy books. First, you have to know they're out there and discusions boards like this and blogs are one way of finding them.

gyrehead
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Post by gyrehead » Tue May 18th, 2010, 12:50 am

1) Where do you find the books you buy? (At a bookstore, at a general merchandise store, second-hand bookstore, or online?)

Mostly online simply due to availability. Between books only published in the UK, books published in the UK significantly earlier than in the U.S. (six months of more and I'm not usually waiting) and various smaller publishers it simply makes sense. However I do patronize a local brick and mortar store; I try to give them all my business that I can. I don't think I've bought anything from a chain in ages. Particularly since the local Borders went out and the local B&N stores stopped carrying any real discounted books that I was interested in reading in a timely manner.

2) Do you generally browse to find a book that might interest you, and if so do you take a broad approach or do you hone in on a particular era or subject matter first?

I'm a huge forthcoming book geek. I love knowing a book is coming out as far in advance as possible. I suspect this is primarily due to my entrenched interest in genre fiction -- mostly speculative and historical. Series make up a significant segment of my reading/buying. So I want to know when the next book is coming out. This has just expanded into just about any author I really like. Mainly I think because I am just old enough that when I had the interest of going out to buy a book for myself, the local stores went from having forthcoming books in catalogs and even microfilm to literally overnight having inventories for forthcoming books online. Just when I was becoming a devoted reader, Amazon and Bookpages came into being and I had the ability to track books months before they came out. That was simply amazing. For me it was what the invention of radio was for my great-grandparents and television was for my grandparents and the vcr was for my parents.

3) How important are reviews in influencing what you do or don't buy?

Pretty much unimportant. Almost to the point of having no impact (see below).

4) How important is word of mouth endorsement - for example, from a friend or on a discussion list such as this?

same as above


5) Where do you generally learn of books that you later end up buying? (Advertisements, random chance, discussion lists, blogs, friends, etc.)

Mostly online. I keep track of authors through amazon and often can spend hours browsing by publisher (learning what publishers and their imprints focus on makes searching on Amazon incredibly easy to get a jump on the forthcoming books). In speculative fiction I also keep track via my subscription to Locus magazine. Also various messageboards that are genre specific usually have a forthcoming books thread or two (pats self on back).

However one significant caveat plays a huge spin on my book buying. I get arcs. Lots and lots of arcs. Not always to keep but, still, a chance to read for free. Looking back this has not cut into my actual buying. Simply because I am a collector and re-reader and don't like floppy, mistake-ridden arcs (not that many mistakes per se but still the material is rough sometimes and lacks all the final bells and whistles like maps and glossaries and art and genealogies and such). So a free arc often means going out and buying the book in hardcover. If I don't already have it ordered (I've stopped waiting to see if I get an arc for a book I know I want since I have no control over getting them in and hate when I have to pay non-discounted online pricing to hunt the book down after it's initial release date.

But I do know that arcs free up some level of book purchasing income since there are books and even authors that a free arcs puts on my blacklist.

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Thu May 27th, 2010, 3:06 pm

1) Where do you find the books you buy? (At a bookstore, at a general merchandise store, second-hand bookstore, or online?)

For the first 35 years or so of my life, all my reading material came from libraries; buying books was an unaffordable luxury, except for occasionally getting books from second-hand bookshops who would later buy them back. Thankfully, in the last few years buying books is now becoming much more of an affordable luxury and I never get books from the library anymore.

My book buying commenced roughly in tandem with the inception of the Internet, so I have always bought the vast majority of my books online. Although I do still enjoy the occasional browse in a local bookstore.


2) Do you generally browse to find a book that might interest you, and if so do you take a broad approach or do you hone in on a particular era or subject matter first?

One of the things I love about the online booksellers (as opposed to a bricks-and-mortar bookstore) is the ability to quickly discover new books and authors due to their recommendations feature. This has allowed me to discover all kinds of new stuff I never would find in a traditional bookstore.


3) How important are reviews in influencing what you do or don't buy?

Somewhat -- I tend to give more weight to the negative reviews because I generally find them to be more specific than the positive gushing reviews.

I am a very independent thinker though (in all areas of life, not just books) and so mostly I make book-buying decisions based on my own decision-making process and not on reviews written by people I don't even know.

4) How important is word of mouth endorsement - for example, from a friend or on a discussion list such as this?

Not at all -- none of my friends are really book readers, so book reading for me is a solitary pursuit. I rarely discuss books with anyone (except online via reviews).


5) Where do you generally learn of books that you later end up buying? (Advertisements, random chance, discussion lists, blogs, friends, etc.)

Through the recommendations of the online booksellers such as Amazon. I find this is a really terrific feature that gives them a huge advantage over traditional bookstores. (not to mention lower prices plus free shipping and no sales tax).
Last edited by Michy on Fri May 28th, 2010, 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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