Why do you choose books?

At FantasyCon 2015 one the panels discussed why people choose a book out of the thousands available to them. Some people go for covers, some like a good blurb, a few will read the first page. Me, I love a great title.

What about you?

One thought on “Why do you choose books?

  1. I often go out knowing what I’m looking for, either because I know a favourite author has a new book out or through spotting something I fancy via newspaper book reviews. As I see this, then, as mainly applying to authors new to the reader, I tried to recall what attracted me to new finds.

    Sometimes, a recognisable quotation will draw me in, such as A Fine and Private Place (“The grave’s a fine and private place, but none, I fear, do there embrace”). With crime and horror novellist and short story writer Christopher Fowler, I found the title of my first “find”, Roofworld, interesting, together with a slightly punky cover design. The blurb then drew me in and opened a new world of quality writing to me.

    It was a similar story with Chandleresque London private eye novelist Mark Timlin. The title, A Good Year for the Roses caught my eye as a fan of Elvis Costello’s music and the blurb went something like “Rock and Roll’s mafia meets a tough private eye and South London explodes into violence”, which was cheesy enough to do the trick and I’ve now read over a dozen Timlin novels.

    Adam Nevill’s horror, The Ritual, stood out from all the pulp vampire and zombie novels due its dark forest scene in the cover photo (along with the title, which caught my eye too). The blurb, involving Paganism, Death Metal and Scandinavian forests sealed the deal.

    I’m a big fan of London-based novels, too, so a cover picture of a London landmark will have me reaching for the shelf. That said, I will also pay attention to the review quotes. Something I already like the look of which also has a good review by a broadsheet newspaper or respected magazine will make it more likely that a I make a purchase. A few years ago, just about every Sci Fi or Fantasy novel had a glowing review from Anne “Dragons” McCaffrey, which led to a little salt-pinch taking on my part. I’ve seen a few recently accredited simply to Amazon; well I guess if an 13 year-old Emo from Ohio likes it, it MUST be good…

    I think as well that, where titles may draw me in, covers may push me away. Anything over-quirky with cartoons of women and champagne glasses, is obviously not aimed at me, which is fair enough. However, I also have an unreasonable dislike of glossy photographs, particularly of overseas landscapes and sunsets. If you’re a good writer, I’ll GET the mood without referring back to the cover photo.

    I’ll stop gabbling now, but interesting topic thanks.

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