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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!