Am I a Fussy Reader?

Unlike some readers, I consider myself to be pretty picky when it comes to buying books. Yes, even though I’m practically swimming in books at home because they’ve taken over my entire room and are scattered along the floor. But I’m a student and only work casually, so my funds are pretty limited, therefore I need to try and ensure the books I buy I’ll actually like. Well, not just like. More so… fall so deeply in love with them that I can’t help but feel like my money has been well-spent.

But in order for books to pass from the realm of being mildly interested in them to actually landing in my shopping cart, there’s six tests they have to pass first. It might seem a little excessive at first glance, but I really want to try and ensure the books I’m buying are ones that I’ll love. But I mean, in saying that… I still rarely read them within the first month of purchase. I know, I’m the worst. There’s still a lot of books that have passed these phases and are still sitting on my shelf, unread, because I haven’t had the chance to pick them up…

But anyway. Let’s get into it!

The six steps to finding your perfect read…

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Check the Goodreads rating

Seeing what other people on the internet thought of the book I’m considering buying is the first step I take in this process. I mean, there’s not much point becoming attached to the idea or premise of it if it’s actually a terrible book, right? I won’t touch books that have less than a 3 star rating on Goodreads, and I’ll only go out and buy something if it has over a 4 star rating. If it’s between 3 or 4 stars, I’ll usually try and borrow a copy if I’m really interested, otherwise I don’t think it’s worth my time. Occasionally stellar reviews from trusted bloggers might persuade me otherwise though.

2

Get personal recommendations

If the book has a high Goodreads rating, I’ll still usually turn to people I trust to see what they thought of it. Usually I ask people in a group chat if they’ve read it and what they thought, otherwise I’ll just ask Twitter in general. If enough people say it’s worth buying (including at least one trusted fellow blogger who I know has similar taste to me), I’ll move onto the next stage of the book buying investigation!

Cup of Coffee

Consider the price

Next is one of the most essential steps in the process, because if a book is too expensive, nothing can persuade me to buy it. And by “too expensive”, I usually mean over $24. Because that’s a lot for a book. I usually buy paperbacks from anywhere between $12 and $18, and hardbacks from $18 to $24. If it’s too expensive to buy a physical copy, I might check out how much it is as an ebook, but if it’s over $12 as an ebook, I’m unlikely to buy it. The final chance this book has to convince me to buy it is if it’s on Audible / Scribd, otherwise I’m going to have to find somewhere to borrow it or see if a friend already has a copy and might lend it to me.

7

Skim the blurb

Although I say I’m a big believer in not reading blurbs and going into books blind, I do usually skim the synopsis before buying it. Some of the words that jump out at me and make me remove that book from my cart include historical, epic fantasy series, multi-perspective,and love triangle. Honestly, pass. My favourite genre is contemporary, I can’t do more than two perspectives, and I hate seeing overused tropes. Seeing that on the blurb is the fastest way to turn me off a book.

6

Appreciate the cover

If a book has a hideous cover, is there any point in buying it? Yes, I’m that superficial. Thank goodness most book covers these days aren’t atrocious, but I’m still scarred from the Bloodlines covers. Those were shocking. One of the reason why I like having physical books over ebooks is because I can take photos of them for bookstagram, but if they have ugly covers, I’m not going to have that pollute my feed. Nah uh. Hard pass. So if I don’t find the cover aesthetically-pleasing enough, I’m either going to get the ebook / audiobook or try and borrow a copy. No one’s got time for gross-looking books.

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Note the release date

This is another requirement that might feel a bit over the top, but I really dislike reading books that have been published more than 10 years ago. It’s different if I read them at the time and they’re sentimental reads to me, but a lot of the YA I’ve read that were published ages ago just feel… dated. And I get that maybe landlines and Myspace and brick phones were all the rage in the early 00s, but will this book feel relatable? Not to me. I prefer books that I can see myself and the world around us in, and if that means being bound to reading new releases, so be it. I want to see references to Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Troye Sivan, not Will & Grace and Christina Aguilera.

And then, fingers crossed, I fall in love with my most recent purchase!

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Do you have a similar process to me when it comes to choosing which books to buy? Do you check Goodreads ratings, or perhaps rely on personal recommendations? I’d love to know your methods!

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15 thoughts on “Am I a Fussy Reader?

  1. I definitely remember the feeling of being a poor student and not wanting to spend my hard earned cash on books I wouldn’t like. (This is why I ended up at the library and charity shops a lot). I like how thorough your process is and I definitely take recommendations, goodreads and price into account. Plus of course a book needs to *look* good. I think a lot of readers are superficial but hey, I don’t want something I own to look horrible on my shelf! Love this post! 😊

  2. I definitely relate to this!! There’s nothing shallow about judging a book by its cover, I think the aesthetic it shows is actually often quite tonally representative of the book you’re going to read! I tend to buy a lot of books secondhand if I’m not sure about how it’s going to turn out and also often rely on goodreads reviews – I’ll often only buy an expensive new book under 4 stars if it sounds completely up my alley!! I have quite different tastes sometimes, preferring fantasy and historical fiction and they tend to stand up to being out of date a lot more, but when I’m reading contemporary I definitely struggle to relate if it’s quite dated. That being said, I’ve still found a few duds with these methods, so I’m starting to rely a bit less on goodreads recently and just going with the completely undefinable criteria of going with my instincts!

  3. I have a problem I can’t read! I just get bored for some reason feeling like a guilty writer 😔

  4. Ooh I relate to a lot of these! I have very limited book funds too, so I REALLY want to enjoy them! I tend not to care about Goodreads’ overall rating though 😂people are so salty hhaah. But I definitely check out my closest bookworm friends’ ratings, and also the friends I know whose tastes match up with mine a lot!! I also am reeeally keen on new releases too. 😍I feel like there’s more chance other people will be reading the new release?! So more people to talk to the book about!!

  5. Have you bought books on Bargain Books? I really want to, but am terrified I won’t get the books. Also, I love buying the underrated and indie author releases (a lot of indie authors will provide you with a free ebook, for a review). I’ve found a lot of new favourites that no-one ever talks about, like Shay Robert’s books.

  6. I’m totally the same way!! I only buy books that I know I’m going to really enjoy, and my methods for finding the perfect read are super similar to yours. Great post 🙂

  7. I have a similar way when it comes to buying books.
    My additional step is to “wait until it’s on kindle sale for £0.99”. 😀
    I usually check goodreads to see the reviews of bloggers who have similar taste to mine. If they loved it, chances are that i’ll enjoy it too.

  8. “I won’t let that pollute my feed.”
    I love that you said that, haha! Aesthetically pleasing covers is a factor we all need, no matter how shallow it may sound. If the author can’t get a pretty cover to lure you into buying it… welll.. then yeah…

  9. I am totally guilty of being suck in my pretty covers. The worst part is though, I find most times the books with the interesting covers aren’t always the gems you hope they are. Always the way ahaha. At least the shelves look pretty! 🙂

    But I totally get the whole student-budget-thing. My bank account is probably screaming at me because I just ordered over $250 worth of books on Booktopia… whoops! My bank account might be a little miserable this month but at least I’ll be happy!

  10. I’ve yet to find someone whose book tastes really align with mine, so I take reviews with a grain of salt (though I definitely still read them!). But I totally relate because as my collection grows and I’m reading more and more duds, I definitely find myself being way picker than I used to be. Though it’s true, I’m definitely easily swayed by a truly gorgeous cover…

  11. when it comes to choosing a book to read i usually just read biographies, anything fictional story relating to world war two and books that have been turned into movies, so i can have the satisfaction of comparing the book with the movie at the end hehe – plus i also like to see the film creators approach in bringing a book to life and any changes in plot/storyline that have been made when adapted into a movie! 🙂

  12. I do have tests books have to pass before they can nest on my bookshelf, yes! I’m as shallow as you. 🙈 What’s the point to own books if you can’t look at them with adoring, heart-shaped eyes? I buy the eBook when I’m not sure at 98.4%. If I really, really liked it, I buy a physical copy! It saves me money and shelf space.

  13. I am picky as well. Personally, I find Goodreads to be less useful due to the fact that people can leave a star-rating without a review. You gave the book 5-stars? Why? You gave it 1-star? Why? Apparently it is common for folks to give a star rating based on if he/she would read the book and not necessarily if it was enjoyed or even read. Reviewers on both Amazon and Goodreads sometimes come across as either expecting too much or are too flowery. I find it easier to download a cheep or free eBook from an author if I’m going to start a new series. It’s hard to find quality opinions, but they are out there. Great post! 🙂

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