I thought I’d revisit the Books I Bought feature every so often, whenever I have enough new books to fill up a photograph. It will be interesting to note whether my buying habits change over time!
The timeframe: The last Books I Bought post covered a year and a half of book-buying ending in March 2012. This follow-up covers March through June of this year. (The next one will bring us up to current!)
Inclusions/Exclusions: Unlike last time, I’m not fighting space constraints, but I’m still limiting the bookshelf to books I paid money to get. Discounts are okay, used books are okay, and gifts that someone bought for me are okay — but promotional books, freebies and giveaway wins do not count. Why?
Because the ever-urgent question is: Why did I buy? Or in other words…
What influenced my purchase decision to buy these books?
Old-School Bookstore Browsing (28%): I covered this in my first Books I Bought post. I love to walk around a bookstore. It doesn’t matter much to me if it’s a big box store, a tiny indie shop, or a used book store. Browsing is in the eye (and not necessarily the screen) of the beholder. Not much change in this habit over the 27% reported last time.
Saw it on the publisher’s website (11%): Okay. I admit this might seem a little weird, but hey, if publishers didn’t think they might hook a few readers by having an “upcoming release” page, they wouldn’t bother with one. Besides, it’s more exciting to anticipate a new release than to finally get around to reading it right before the movie comes out, am I right? I sought these out on the publishers’ web sites before adding to my wish-list and eventually purchasing. This is a brand-new mode of discoverability for me, by the way.
Heard about it on a blog (17%): All right. This is a significant increase over the 9% of books I found via blogs on the last edition of Books I Bought. This usually isn’t a major category for me, and normally when I hear about a book via a blog post, it’s someone other than the author writing a recommendation. However, Mike Duran‘s books wound up on my shelf specifically because of his excellent, interesting blog. Let me stress: Excellent. Interesting. That is, he writes his blog in such a way that I want to read his books. It’s been a while since I graced the door of a college statistics class, but I’m pretty sure this would an outlier, or an anomaly, or a deviation. Or something like that.
Goodreads! (22%): I can’t say enough about how important Goodreads is for authors as a discoverability tool. Go where the readers are. Ignore at your peril. Arguably, the only thing readers like better than a good book is telling someone else about it. I’m down from 27% last time, but a fifth of the total is still significant.
I’m a Fan (22%): These are the ones that I didn’t even have to read the back cover or the inside flap. I’m loyal, I’m a fan, I’m sold. I gave a friend an enthusiastic recommendation for Kate Morton very recently, in fact. The simple fact is that each of these authors has given me a tremendous, satisfying reading experience, and I want to duplicate it if at all possible. This is up from 18% in the previous tally.
What about e-books? Um. Well. I’m not big on the e-reading. Freebies seemed great at first, but over time I began to feel (1) I was getting spoiled and that was wrong, because books are worth money, and (2) the reading experience on a device hasn’t grabbed me, making it somehow harder to get around to actually reading e-books, anyway. I’m sure I’ll catch up eventually. In the early 90s, I was the last person I knew to give up my cassette deck and get a CD player, if that helps at all.
Summary: Although the shorter time period and smaller sample completely sacrificed the Personal Recommendations category (18% of the books I bought from late 2010-March 2012, 0% of those purchased March-June 2012), I don’t see much movement overall in my book-buying habits. However, I’m thinking there might be a few books under the Christmas tree … and I will go ahead and hint that the June-December edition is likely to show some changes!
Until then — how do you discover new books? What influences your purchase decision? Leave a note in the comments field below!