Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Follow the Reader: Why I Bought These Books

    After writing this post on why readers buy books, I thought it would be fun to dissect my latest book purchases to figure out what, exactly, motivated me to shell out my hard-earned cash for each book I bought.

    The First Batch


    I bought most of these books at the start of my winter break, when I was dizzy with the heady mixture of Winter Break Dreams and a full month of freedom ahead of me.

    Here's the breakdown: 

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when I read Ridley Pearson's review in my Sunday paper.
    I chose to buy this book because Pearson's stellar review and the general excitement about it on Goodreads intrigued me--Could it really be that good? If it was, I wanted to get in on the action. If not, there was a growing body of reviews against which I could compare my own take on the book. This story sounded so good--dystopian, with a badass female MC. An urban setting. I was really excited to read this one.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when I plucked it off the shelf in the bookstore.
    I chose to buy this book because I liked what I read on the back, it has a killer cover, and it's a series. I love finding a new series to love.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book on Goodreads, and was reminded I wanted to read it when I saw it on the shelf at the bookstore.
    I chose to buy this book because I loved the first few pages that I read in the store. It seemed like the kind of world I'd want to dive into for a while, which is exactly what I was looking for for my winter break reads. Also, it's part of a series, and Clare is prolific, so if I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would, it opened up a whole new world of books to enjoy.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book on Goodreads. 
    I chose to buy this book because after I found Ally Condie on Twitter and learned that she's a former high school English teacher, just like me. That made me think she must love books, and so I followed her tweets and saw that she interacts with her readers on Twitter. The story reminded me of The Giver, which is one of my all-time favorites, so I had to give it a try.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book on a blog, though I have no idea which one. The blogger received an arc of this book, and I fell in love with the cover. 
    I chose to buy this book because of the cover. I'm not going to lie. It's beautiful and haunting at the same time. It turns out that the book is, too, so in this case it was actually a perfectly good reason to buy this book.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book by a friend's 15-year-old daughter.
    I chose to buy this book because because my friend's daughter really liked it, and then I found Beth Revis on Twitter and learned that she has an awesome blog, and she is clearly a reader. I love reading books written by readers.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when I saw it in the bookstore.
    I chose to buy this book because because I love John Green, even though I haven't read any of his books. Yet. I own three of them. True story. I bought this title first because the back cover made me laugh out loud in the bookstore, which doesn't happen often. I first found John Green on YouTube when searching for NaNoWriMo videos, and well, that was the end of it. Once I realized that practically every reader I know loves his work, I knew I was going to buy anything and everything that man wrote.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when I pulled it from the shelf in the bookstore.
    I chose to buy this book because I liked what I read on the back cover, and the Leven Thumps character sounded familiar, so I was pretty sure some child in my life is a big fan. The back of the book promises a secret gateway to a whole new world, which reminded me of the Narnia books, which I love, love, love.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when a poster enthusiastically recommended the series on an Internet forum I frequent.
    I chose to buy this book because, based on the back cover alone, Beka Cooper sounds like a badass, and I love badassery.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when . . . I can't remember. I feel like there's been a lot of buzz around this book, so I was aware of it for a while.
    I chose to buy this book because I had a feeling it was going to be a perfect book to recommend for reluctant teen readers. And it is. I've since recommended it to so many people. Extra bonus: Jo Knowles is a great tweeter, so I followed her and she followed me back on Twitter! How cool is that?

    Looking for Alaska by John Green
    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book after I saw John Green's NaNoWriMo video and then searched the Internet for more information about his work.
    I chose to buy this book because well, you've already read some of the story under the Will Grayson, Will Grayson entry. I also loved this book as soon as I learned that Alaska is a character. Great title.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when I pulled it from the shelf in the bookstore.
    I chose to buy this book because of this line on the back cover: "Most people aren't very comfortable in the woods, but the woods of Briery Swamp fit May Bird like a fuzzy mitten." Love that line.

    The Second Batch


    Purchased brand new from Sam's Club (Maybe--I could have purchased this at a local bookstore, but I can't remember.)
    I was first introduced to this book on the NaNoWriMo site, when I learned Morgenstern wrote the first draft for NaNo.
    I chose to buy this book because it sounds amazing. Have you read the blurbs about this book? I'm also a sucker for a NaNo success story.


    Purchased brand new from Costco
    I was first introduced to this book when I saw it on the shelf in a Barnes & Noble.
    I chose to buy this book because it's beautiful, and after thumbing through the pages just once in B&N, the photos haunted me. It really delivered, too. What a great book. I typically hate hardcovers, and I'll wait for the paperback, but sometimes I'll buy a hardcover because I simply lack patience.

    Purchased used from a local used bookstore.
    I was first introduced to this book . . . I've been reading Rick Steves for years. He's my favorite guide for first-time visits to new countries.
    I chose to buy this book because I always buy his books to help plan a trip, and my library didn't have a copy. This is a good example of author loyalty, that's for sure.

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book after reading the first book in the series.
    I chose to buy this book because I loved City of Bones

    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when I read about Melissa Marr on a website, somewhere, some year I can't remember. Sketchy, I know. But it was a while ago.
    I chose to buy this book because of this line on the back: "Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first century faery tale." I love fairy tales, so that was that. Melissa Marr also makes great contributions to the reading world beyond writing her books. She has interesting interviews, shares interesting insights, and is just someone I want to read.

    Paper Towns by John Green
    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when I read about it in someone's Goodreads review of The Fault in Our Stars. The reviewer gave Fault four stars because Paper Towns is her favorite.
    I chose to buy this book because, well, you already know the ridiculousness behind my desire to own every book John Green writes. (I will read them, by the way. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.) I really want my Badass Book Club to read this book. I'd want them to read The Fault in Our Stars, but we have an unwritten rule against books that are about cancer, so it's out. Also, one of the booksellers I chat with at B&N told me that she loves this book so much she plans on naming her future daughter Margo Roth. That's impressive.

    Fearless by Francine Pascal
    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book when Francine Pascal's name jumped out at me from the the book shelf. 
    I chose to buy this book because I might have been obsessed with one of Francine Pascal's series as a child, so when I saw that she's still writing I had to have this book. I didn't even read the back cover before I decided to purchase it. (Did you know that there was a Sweet Valley Twins board game? Oh, there was. And guess who had one? That's right, this girl. Be jealous.) I was actually in the bookstore to buy a California travel book, and before entering I told myself I wasn't even going to look at any other books. You can see how well that worked out. I bought three books on that trip.

    California 2012 by Fodor's
    Purchased brand new from Barnes & Noble
    I was first introduced to this book years ago. I love the Fodor's travel guides, and their forums are the best travel forums around, if you ask me.
    I chose to buy this book because I'm going to wine country with some girlfriends in March, and I know absolutely nothing about it, and as I said, I love the Fodor's guides. I didn't even have to skim through it to decide whether to buy it--it has that Fodor's logo on it, so it was as good as sold. My little sister will be in California for three more years, so I went for the big California book, instead of the smaller wine country book, because I plan to make a lot of trips there.

    So, there you have it. By my count, only four of these purchases were pre-meditated (Legend, Spain, California, and City of Ashes.) I chose to buy the other 16 books for a variety of reasons--they were purdy, witty, intriguing, or just plain unputdownable.Or written by people on which I have irrational writerly crushes.

    One interesting point: I was not motivated to buy any of these books because they were on sale. There has been a lot of talk of late about the value of books, and what readers are willing to pay for a book. For me, personally, I'm willing to pay anywhere between $10 and $25 for a book as long as I want to read it for some reason. I've always been willing to pay retail price for books, even way back when, when I was a poor college student. As I see it, it's about priorities. If people value books, they'll pay for them.

    We live in a world where people regularly spend upwards of $4 for a cup of coffee, and yet we're having discussions about whether $10 is too much to ask for an e-book?

    And I'm not alone. When I ask my students to find an independent reading novel, they have a lot of options for sourcing their books. They can take their books out of the library for free, or borrow them from my own library, or buy them from one of the many used bookstores in the Chicago area. But you know what most of them choose to do? They buy brand new books. They don't wait until they find a coupon, or the store runs a sale, they pay full retail price for them.

    What about you? What's the last book you bought, and why? Did you pay full price? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

    12 comments:

    Deb Marshall said...

    Last book I bought was the first in the Warriors series (finally!). The kids in my former library book club loved the entire series so I thought I about time I had my own copy. Been a bit since I've been book shopping, though. Going on a spree within the next week. It might end up being a gorge, lol.

    What a fun post! Thanks and Happy Reading!

    Janiera said...

    I've never bought that many books at one time lol This was a really interesting anylasis. I usually just buy books because I either like the cover and synopsis or someone recommended it to me.

    jennachristy said...

    late last year, i seemed to have an itch to buy lots of books,and so I told myself to only buy this year if I finish reading the 20+ or 30+ books I haven’t read yet. but okay, I still did buy a few this year, the newly released mostly, because I’ve been waiting for them for a very long time, hahah. )

    great books btw.

    Rose said...

    Hey, it's my first time here, but your post is awesome. Loved to read about the reasons made you buy a book.
    Anyway, in our bookstores (Israel), books that aren't on sale cost at least $20-$25. I'm in high school and not working, so my mother is the one to pay for my books. Once a while, it'd not matter to buy at this price, but for each book I want to buy?
    So I borrow the Hebrew books I want and the English books I buy from the Book Depository. The few books I buy from a bookstore are on sale.
    I bought Unearthly & The Soul Screamers volume 1 from the book depository.

    Lori Oster said...

    Deb--I haven't heard of the Warriors series, just added it to my To Read shelf. Thank you! I hope you get a good book spree in soon. Thank you for stopping by!

    Janiera--Hi, lady! You're a sucker for a good cover too, eh? I can't resist them. I only go on such big sprees before long breaks in work. Well, usually. (Janiera is a HUGE book lover, by the way. Has everyone seen her blog? Go visit, it's awesome.)

    Jennachristy--I have the same problem. Ever-growing bookshelves, and the constant itch to buy more. I love supporting authors, though, and indie bookstores, too. All of these purchases were done at big stores, but I buy a lot from the indies in the area, as well. (At least, these are the things I tell myself to justify all these purchases!) Thanks so much for stopping in!

    Rose--I'm so glad you found me! Thank you. $20-$25 is a lot, especially on a high school budget. I remember those days. In HS I babysat every Friday or Saturday to support my book habit. It was tough, and definitely a lot more fun now that I have more disposable income. I made a lot of friends at the local used bookstores back then!

    I love Israel. I haven't been since *I* was in high school, which was a long time ago. I'll be back some day. My sister lived there for a year, in 2008. I was scared she'd never come home!

    the epic rat said...

    I really enjoyed this post! I don't think I can fully explain why I pick up books that I do - mostly because of hearing good things, it sounds SO good, or plain and simple the cover was just too pretty to resist!

    I have been working really hard to cut back on the amount of books I tend to pile into my arms because usually they end up collecting dust and I am cleaning out my shelves to have a light load to transport when I move at some point this year.

    You have a pretty amazing stack of books - and I hope you enjoy them :D

    Sarah Allen said...

    I absolutely love this! John Green is one of my all time favorites. I sort of have a literary crush on him. The public library around here had a used book sale a few days ago so I came home with a box full of one dollar books. It was awesome :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

    Lori Oster said...

    Thank you, The Epic Rat! I agree that sometimes, I just can't explain *why* I choose to buy a book. It's like my fingers itch when I see a particular cover, and wham! I'm in the checkout line.

    I went through a phase where I really tried to cut back on the books I bought, but then I realized that *this* is my passion, and I want to support writers and readers by buying good books. So, now I do so without apology. :) I cut back on other things so I can have more book money, so it works out.

    Sarah--John Green must have a gaggle of admirers, I swear. That used book sale sounds heavenly. One of our local used bookstores has a clearance section in the back filled with $1 books. I LOVE it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, ladies!

    Julia Tomiak said...

    I didn't realize THE NIGHT CIRCUS was YA, or that it was the product of NANOWRIMO. It's on my 2012 reading list too. We should chat about it!

    Lori Oster said...

    Julia--Thanks for stopping by! I know Morgenstern definitely started the book as part of NaNo. Not sure if it's YA, though.

    I'm really excited to read it, we should definitely chat!

    Cheryl Reif said...

    Thanks for this--I really enjoyed reading both about what motivates you to pick a book, and (as a bonus!) learning about a number of books not yet on my to-read list. You've included several of my favorites (LOVE Cassandra Clare and John Green and Incarceron and...well, you get the point!) as well as several I'd not heard of before.

    Now I'm off to update my reading list....

    Lori Oster said...

    Thank you for stopping by, Cheryl! (I love your blog? Did I already say that on Twitter?:)

    I love finding new books for my To Read list. Of course, I'm not sure I'll ever actually get through all of them . . .

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