26 August 2012

How do you decide what to read?

This has not been my best year on finding amazing books to read. To be sure I've read some good ones this year, but feel like I've been disappointed more than normal.

As I've ventured out into the world of independent publishing, I've of course explored many marketing sites. This has led to me downloading a lot of book that are on sale or being publicized for a free day.

I can honestly say I've been disappointed this year by as many "big six publisher" books as I have by independents. So this is not a trash the independent book blog. I think I've come to the realization that the way we find books is changing just like the industry is changing.

I used to go into book stores or the library, go to my favorite area of mysteries, and browse. I stopped to pull books off the shelf by interesting titles or authors I'd knew. Once the book was off the shelf, I read the cover copy or "book blurb" and looked at the cover. If I was intrigued but not sold, I'd start reading the first page. If I was at the library, I'd of course take something I was less certain of than I might at the store. I also found books by word of mouth from my friends and family. My grandmother, aunt, and mother have all had a pass around the books thing going since I was a teenager.

In the last two years, I have started buying digitally. That has meant less sharing though that is beginning to be remedied too. I also have, excuse the cliche, started to judge a book by it's cover.

Since I used to work in design, I can often sense a self made cover. I don't mean to be a cover snob, but there's a je ne sais quoi about a well done cover that's hard to put your finger on but it's real and it's there. (I can use that phrase because I did study and tried to speak French for four years.) That's not necessarily a fair way to judge the book content. Could be very well written with no money for a cover.

I live in a foreign country and so my word of mouth way of finding a book doesn't work like it used to. I've joined a few reader's pages on Facebook and found some nice recommendations from that but so far they've been pricier options so I'm waiting for something more in my range or a sale.

I'm on Good Reads and have used some of their reviews to make decisions about buying a book. If someone says they needed hankies, well that book is out. I don't need tears while I'm relaxing. If it says literary masterpiece, I'm probably out too. I like light or action to keep my mind off the realities of life while I read and literary is usually code for trying to turn tragic bits of life into thoughtful novels. Call me shallow but that's not my reading taste - at least at the moment. So sometimes a review says something wonderful, but I know by the description it's not for me.

Now, I'm looking for a book set in Switzerland. I love to read something from the region while I travel and since I'm headed there in a couple weeks I'm shopping. Price I'm discovering is key for me. Nothing I've seen recommended is under $8 and one I liked the sound of was $12. A price point for me is the paperback novel price. I never buy hardbacks unless they're gifts for others, so when a digital book is more than a paperback I start flinching.

So any recommendations anyone? Switzerland settings or otherwise? How do you find books?

1 comment:

  1. If I read more, I'd probably follow your means. I like getting reviews in Amazon of what I am looking at, and have looked at "if you like x, you'll probably like y" lists.

    Unfortunately, I do sometimes judge books, movies, CDs, and many other forms of entertainment on their cover too. As you note, though, sometimes the cover does say something about what is inside.