Author Topic: What gets you to buy books?  (Read 864 times)

Cabbages and kings

What gets you to buy books?
« on: July 25, 2021, 03:51:19 AM »
Hi everyone.  :)

So I have a theory that the book cover gets people to read the blurb, the blurb gets people to read the sample pages, and the sample pages get people to buy the book. I'm sure other people have thought of that too.

So now, I want to do a poll to see if I'm right. :)

What gets you to buy books?

In particular, how strongly does the cover, blurb, and writing sample, each affect your buying decisions?

EDIT:
I tried to look for an option that lets people vote for more than one option, but couldn't find it. There was an option to let people vote multiple times so I assumed that was it and set the number to 8.
I added "Reviews" and "Ratings" and "The Author Name" and Customers "Also bought" List as options.
Even though there are more options now, the number of votes people can cast is still set to 8 as the option to change the number no longer shows when I edit the poll or original post.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2021, 03:00:59 PM by Cabbages and kings »
 

LilyBLily

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2021, 03:58:01 AM »
You did not include reviews or ratings. Book recommends are not the same thing, as they could be a book club or a friend's urging.
 

Cabbages and kings

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2021, 04:00:28 AM »
I added "Reviews" and "Ratings" as options. :)
 

angela

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Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2021, 05:00:42 AM »
I'm an author / publisher, so I'm not a typical reader. (None of us are.)

I try to read widely, even outside my usual interests. I go on Audible and semi-randomly pick a bunch of books that are high on the sales charts, from big authors and debut authors. I don't listen to the samples. If there's an author I like, I tend to auto-buy their new releases.

Most of my reading is by audio, because I like it that way.
 

Lorri Moulton

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Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2021, 05:04:39 AM »
If someone recommends a book, that's a good incentive.  Also, a cover might get me to look at a book (online especially) but it's usually the author's name, then the blurb, then a quick look inside.  If it's an author I've read before and liked...that's always a good incentive to buy, too.

Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense and Historical Non-Fiction.
 
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cecilia_writer

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2021, 06:16:33 AM »
The author? There are several authors I buy almost everything by.
Cecilia Peartree - Woman of Mystery
 

elleoco

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2021, 06:30:43 AM »
I wasn't sure what reviews/ratings meant, so didn't check it, but review average does have an effect on me. If a book has a lower average than mid-3s I tend to look elsewhere.

Anyway, maybe I'm an anomaly, cover has almost no effect on me except to turn me away occasionally. For instance, I avoided a certain dog mystery series for years because of the ridiculous, inaccurate portrayal of a dog on the cover. Can't remember if the cover changed before I finally bought it or if I just got desperate for something to read one day, but it became a favorite series.

Title also can have an effect. The whole reason I ever started James Lee Burke's Robicheaux series was the title "A Stained White Radiance."

Those were unusual reasons, though, usually genre comes first as I only read certain ones. After that blurb, then the first few pages.

Price factors in that I won't buy a new-to-me author unless it's a very good blurb and a very reasonable price, yet free and $.99 evoke my mother's voice saying, "You get what you pay for." 
 
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Cabbages and kings

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2021, 06:36:42 AM »

I added "The Author Name" as an option. :)
 
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Anarchist

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2021, 09:54:22 AM »
Price factors in that I won't buy a new-to-me author unless it's a very good blurb and a very reasonable price...

I'm the same way. Unless a new-to-me author has received wide acclaim, I don't buy without a steep discount.
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LilyBLily

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2021, 12:22:52 PM »
I'm very responsive to cover art, but I never use it anymore to decide on buying a book. There are loads of very pretty covers these days and in the past I would have bought the paperbacks for the covers alone. Today, I maintain a file of pretty cover art on my desktop and leave it at that. 

Some authors I like a lot have meh covers. That usually doesn't stop me from reading those books, although one recent, extremely ugly cover did give me pause. Interestingly, that author is moving away from straight genre into a more mainstream position; that I presume is why the cover image was deliberately unromantic. Apparently, it was meant to be "classy," but to me it just looked nasty. I'm a lowbrow genre reader, and I want to see pretty people on the covers. The less representational or viscerally attractive the covers are, the less likely the book is aimed at me.

I do take covers seriously because they aren't chosen in a vacuum. I definitely would not be drawn to an ugly cover by an author unknown to me.   
 

Maggie Ann

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2021, 01:09:34 PM »
I have been suckered in by an intriguing title more times than I care to think about. I know this, but it's only recently I have taken more care with my selections. In other words I will at least read the blurb and the reviews if I get past the title.

I will try a lot of things free and up to $1.99 but I tend to be more cautious at any price over that. I also read those bargain-basement books pretty quickly and if it turns out to be DNF, I can delete it from the cloud.

I also shop at Goodwill, the dollar store, and Walmart. I'm cheap. Most of my own books are free or $0.99.
           
 

idontknowyet

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2021, 01:29:39 PM »
I use an old school kindle which makes covers useless. They are impossible to see. 100% for me is also bought and blurbs.

Though since i became an author ive seen more ads on facebook. for me then it's genre trope ku/free (i wont pay for a new to me author's book i've been burned too many times).
 

Cabbages and kings

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2021, 02:59:56 PM »

I added Customers "Also bought" List, as an option. :)
 
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LilyBLily

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2021, 03:11:30 PM »
Here's my flow chart, once the cover has established that the book is a Regency romance:

Sexualized cover showing bare skin or prim cover? Yes/no>Content mill typeface or something else? Yes/no>Blurb talks about passion or proper miss hanging out in a brothel or 21st century problem like brother's best friend? Yes/no>1-star, 2-star, 3-star reviews indicate boring, stupid, nasty, mean-spirited, sleazy? Yes/no>Look Inside shows grammar errors, anachronisms, malapropisms, misspellings? Yes/no> Buy or not buy.

 

Pemry Janes

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2021, 05:17:29 PM »
Sometimes the name, if I've read them before and liked what I read.

But often it is the reviews of other people and if they grab me I do buy the book. I know they are subjective and that I might have a different experience which is why I tend to look at multiple reviews to get a sense of the book.

I don't really buy on cover though if the cover looks ugly I don't look deeper into the book to see what it is about.
Genre: Fantasy
 

Al Stevens

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Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2021, 08:47:20 AM »
Author. I usually buy works by the classic oldtimers--Vonnegut, Steinbeck, Lewis, Uris, Rawlings, etc. I also buy current non-fiction works as promoted on political talk shows and anything by Woodward.
And sometimes I buy works by members here.
     
 

Hopscotch

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2021, 03:15:18 PM »
I take w/a pound of salt any come-hither offered by cover, blurb, book critics, star ratings, etc. All that counts for me is the first line of text. I'll buy a good first line, any genre. After all, who could resist Faulkner's opener "And me on a buckskin pony with eyes like blue electricity and a mane like tangled fire, galloping up the hill and right off into the high heaven of the world"? Or the fellow who wrote, "Later, he made soup"?
 
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PJ Post

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2021, 10:34:09 PM »
I get to the first line in lots of different ways, but yeah, unless I'm unprepared and bored at an airport, the opening is 90% of it.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2021, 12:59:52 AM »
I was in London when I first heard of Dinah Slade. She was broke and looking for a millionaire, while I was rich and looking for a mistress. From the start, we were deeply compatible.

That's my best first line from my favorite author. Wish I'd written it.
           
 
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LilyBLily

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2021, 05:54:24 AM »
I was in London when I first heard of Dinah Slade. She was broke and looking for a millionaire, while I was rich and looking for a mistress. From the start, we were deeply compatible.

That's my best first line from my favorite author. Wish I'd written it.

I just read the Look Inside for that book. Definitely a page turner. I was familiar with her only from some rather meh Gothic novels. This one has excellent mainstream/bestseller pacing.
 

Maggie Ann

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2021, 07:57:39 AM »
I was in London when I first heard of Dinah Slade. She was broke and looking for a millionaire, while I was rich and looking for a mistress. From the start, we were deeply compatible.

That's my best first line from my favorite author. Wish I'd written it.

I just read the Look Inside for that book. Definitely a page turner. I was familiar with her only from some rather meh Gothic novels. This one has excellent mainstream/bestseller pacing.

she is my absolute favorite author. I'm doing a re-read all all her books now. I don't like Gothic novels either.

The Rich Are Different is based on the story of Caesar, Antony, and Cleopatra. The sequel, Sins of the Fathers, is based on Octavian/Augustus.

Right now I'm reading Cashelmara, based on Edward I and Edward II. It's my favorite of her historicals.
           
 

JRTomlin

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2021, 09:29:55 AM »
Genre and subgenre first. If you don't write one that I read, I really don't care what the cover or blurb looks like. (I never ever read horror for example) Then author name. I know which authors I like and then blurb and possibly sample, but assuming I know the author, I probably won't bother with the sample. Some authors I kind of like but not always. Those I read the sample. lol

I do try out authors who are new to me occasionally, mainly when I can't find anything new from one of the authors I like. Then it is more overall impression. If it is in a genre or subgenre I like but the cover looks unprofessional, I probably won't look further. If it does, then I'll check out the blurb and sample.
 

j tanner

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2021, 05:03:23 PM »
I have enough authors I know I like in a variety of genres that it's rare I browse for a new book to read. After that it's generally a trusted recommendation.

I suspect that heavy genre readers work more the way you describe.
 

LilyBLily

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2021, 12:24:21 AM »
I have enough authors I know I like in a variety of genres that it's rare I browse for a new book to read. After that it's generally a trusted recommendation.

I suspect that heavy genre readers work more the way you describe.

This is so true. Reading one short book a day can exhaust many a trusted author's entire oeuvre in a month, and then what? Got to find another author.
 

Hopscotch

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2021, 03:40:49 AM »
Which raises a question:  Do readers browsing for a next read actually read the list of an author's other books when they open Read Inside or just skip over it?  Is the list any sort of useful sales tool?
 

idontknowyet

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2021, 06:26:05 AM »
I've never shopped an authors other books from a list in their book. Generally i skip over that. I will read some of the previews in the back of a book, but usually i just search their name and buy the next book in series or the next book amazon has linked at the end of the book i'm reading.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2021, 10:06:26 AM »
Which raises a question:  Do readers browsing for a next read actually read the list of an author's other books when they open Read Inside or just skip over it?  Is the list any sort of useful sales tool?
If I am looking to see if they have something out I haven't read, I'll probably go to their Amazon page rather than a list in a book. I am skeptical about how useful lists in a novel are. On the other hand, if even a few people use one, I can't see that it hurts to have one. I'd put it at the end though.

I just went through a mystery author's entire list in a week. *blush*

Edit: I read really fast. I actually wish I didn't read quite so fast so good novels would last longer.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2021, 10:08:46 AM by JRTomlin »
 
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j tanner

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2021, 10:10:05 AM »
Which raises a question:  Do readers browsing for a next read actually read the list of an author's other books when they open Read Inside or just skip over it?  Is the list any sort of useful sales tool?

When I find an author I really like, I always use the available resources to find their entire catalog. In the old days, that would be the page in the book, but now an Amazon search on author name does that for me. So the page itself has lost some value, but it's so easy to include I don't see why anyone would consider omitting it.
 

LilyBLily

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2021, 10:19:48 AM »
I do read the pages in the book rather than Amazon's pages. The book will show them in sequence. Amazon will throw in some other author's titles if I search the author name, or it will show the books out of sequence on the author's page.

I have no idea what other people do. I spent a good part of my youth checking copyright dates so I could read books in order of publication and then organize them on my bookshelves in that order, too. I'm fond of numerical order. 
 

JRTomlin

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2021, 10:49:46 AM »
If it's a series, there is normally a series page, so I may go to that which shows the order. It depends if I am looking to finish a series or just anything by an author I like.
 

idontknowyet

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2021, 11:48:02 AM »
Which raises a question:  Do readers browsing for a next read actually read the list of an author's other books when they open Read Inside or just skip over it?  Is the list any sort of useful sales tool?

When I find an author I really like, I always use the available resources to find their entire catalog. In the old days, that would be the page in the book, but now an Amazon search on author name does that for me. So the page itself has lost some value, but it's so easy to include I don't see why anyone would consider omitting it.

I've heard the more noise in your back matter the less likely they are to click/buy the next book.
People say they get better sales with less choices at the end and to focus on the next book and newsletter signups.
 

j tanner

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2021, 09:16:11 AM »
I've heard the more noise in your back matter the less likely they are to click/buy the next book.
People say they get better sales with less choices at the end and to focus on the next book and newsletter signups.

I don't find that to be mutually exclusive. The suggested focus remains. Focus does not require exclusion of everything else.

Best practice for your single primary call to action is directly after THE END, before even a page break.

If you can't stomach that, page break, CTA, page break.

After the primary CTA and page break, I don't think having something like this, acknowledgements, author note, etc causes any harm. Amazon is already sticking stuff there even if you don't. It's not like it's distraction-free if you omit these things. If someone has objective test data that shows otherwise, I'm happy to reconsider.
 
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idontknowyet

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2021, 03:00:04 AM »
I've heard the more noise in your back matter the less likely they are to click/buy the next book.
People say they get better sales with less choices at the end and to focus on the next book and newsletter signups.

I don't find that to be mutually exclusive. The suggested focus remains. Focus does not require exclusion of everything else.

Best practice for your single primary call to action is directly after THE END, before even a page break.

If you can't stomach that, page break, CTA, page break.

After the primary CTA and page break, I don't think having something like this, acknowledgements, author note, etc causes any harm. Amazon is already sticking stuff there even if you don't. It's not like it's distraction-free if you omit these things. If someone has objective test data that shows otherwise, I'm happy to reconsider.

I actually read a few posts on either spf or 50books were people tested this. Sorry can't remember which one.
 

Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2021, 05:25:01 AM »
Is the poll closed?

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Cabbages and kings

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2021, 05:31:33 AM »
The poll shouldn't be closed, but it seems to be closed.

I don't know what happened.

I always leave the polls open with no time limit.

I clicked on "unlock voting" a couple times, but it still says "unlock voting".

I tried editing the poll, but as usual, some of the options disappear after the poll is created. One of the options gone is the poll time length.

Sorry.
 

Cabbages and kings

Re: What gets you to buy books?
« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2021, 11:02:34 AM »

I tried clicking on "unlock voting" again and I think it worked.

The poll should be open again!  Grin