What Makes You Buy a Book?

What makes you buy a book?

I used to be an impulsive book buyer. (Can anyone relate?) Nice cover? Buy. Hype from a friend? Buy. The book just fell into my hands? Buy. But then I ended up with shelves and shelves of books that I didn’t actually love. Some of those books–with gorgeous covers–were about as pleasant on the inside as a cup of straight buttermilk. So my book-buying tendencies got picky.

I now try to buy only books I want to own, and that I want to re-read, and that I want to lend out and shove in other people’s noses. I’m also determined to actually read all the books I own. 😛

So…I’ve made a list of reasons I (or you) might buy a book. Which ones do you relate to?

1. You buy a book because you adore the author. 

This one’s easy. We all have our auto-buy authors. We will automatically buy whatever that author writes on paper–whether it’s a book or a grocery list…WE WILL BUY IT. One of my auto-buy authors is Marissa Meyer. Her books are always amazing, clean, and brilliantly written. *drool*

buy a book favorite author

2. You buy a book because your friend recommended it

Good friends recommend books. 😛 But it has to be the right friend. I have friends who read and love books that I definitely DO NOT LOVE. So I have a little list in my head of which friends have the same reading tastes as I do. And then I stalk those friends’ Goodreads. (Good friends stalk each other’s Goodreads. 😛 ) And I can go to them weeping, “What do I read neeeeeeext?” and they never fail to send me to the bookstore.

3. You buy a book because it’s on sale

Don’t give me that look. We’ve all done this. Amazon has some freak- price-drop AND THE BOOKWORMS POUNCE. Who doesn’t like discounted portals into other worlds? Anyone? Anyone? Especially if it’s a book you’ve had your eye on for a while. (Unlike The Night Circus that has been over $20 on Amazon FOR MONTHS and I am still weeping because I haven’t gotten to read it. Okay…#rantover)

4. You buy a book because you’ve been slain by its cover. 😱

During my “book-buying-uncontrolability” days, I bought so many books solely for their covers. In fact, I bought the whole Selection series by Kiera Cass just because THE DRESSES! *swoon* Thankfully I also ended up loving the books. 😉

But that wasn’t the story with all books. I have so many gorgeous books on my shelves with stunning covers that I tried reading and then wanted TO BURN. I won’t name names (because I’m a nice bookworm like that), but I learned my lesson the hard way. No more buying just because of covers. Also…on the flip side, some of my favorite books have…erm…lame covers. (Again, I won’t name names.) But I love them to pieces so much that their covers become beautiful to my little lovey bookworm heart.

Still…this is often a valid reason to buy a book. 😛 What was your last cover-buy?

5. You buy a book because hype, hype, hypedy hype…

Sometimes we buy books because OF HYPE. And we have a fear of missing out and we don’t want to miss the train of awesomeness!!! For example, the only reason that I am trying to buy The Night Circus is because everyone and their pet bookmark IS OBSESSING OVER IT. You’d think it’s the next Harry Potter or something. Maybe it is? I still haven’t read it. I’m still afraid that when I do read it maybe I’ll hate it and be the red-headed stepchild in the bookworld. But maybe it really is as awesome as all my friends keep saying it is.

Then there’s also book hype that is completely misleading. I won’t name names, (see how good I’m being today?) but I’ve bought books from hype that totally FLOPPED. And now I’m stuck with them. And I want to shake the people who hyped it. Why? WHY DID THEY DECEIVE ME?!

6. You buy a book because you wandered into a bookstore

There’s something magical about a bookstore that demands that you buy a book. This is why bookstores are dangerous places to go…and you must go there every single day, yes? 😉

If I enter a bookstore, I either need to buy a book…or read through an entire book to make up for not buying one. Who’s with me?

7. You buy a book because of its first line

Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this. First lines are not only rare, but they’re addicting if you find a good one. It makes me dump brownie points all over the author and I enter in on a very high level of grace. Because if they got the first line right, then the rest of the book must be awesome…RIGHT?

Hopefully yes.

I bought A Stolen Kiss by Kelsey Keating FOR THIS REASON ALONE. For the first line. That’s still the only part of the book I’ve read and I thought it was brilliant and funny and simple, yet totally setting the tone for the book. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is. You have to go read it for yourself. Mwahahah!

buy a book first line

But let’s, let’s face it, not every amazing book has an amazing first line. So sometimes you have to read a little further. Take The Hunger Games for example…or Harry Potter. Nothing great or gripping about their first lines, but they’re still world-changing books.

8. You buy a book because of great reviews

When I’m shopping for a book online, I’m always looking at reviews. I love how Goodreads will show me the reviews that my friends wrote, so I can see their opinions before deciding on whether or not it’s a book for me. I also tend to go read all the negative reviews because those can be even more revealing. If the only complaint is, “I didn’t like the book’s font!” then I’ll probably still buy the book. But if the complaint is, “This book was about a space slug and I thought it was a fantasy retelling of Anne of Green Gables.” then I probably won’t buy it…unless I’m really craving a space slug story.

9. You buy a book because of its WORLD-BLOWING CONCEPT

“Willy Wonka meets The Matrix.” Wait…what? Okay, now I have to read Ready Player One.

“A fantasy novel about a girl who can sense gold in the earth…during the gold rush time period.” Duuuuude, that’s what Walk on Earth a Stranger is about?

“Little House on the Prairie meets X-Men.” Woah. Um…now I need to buy The Girl Who Could Fly.

Survivor meets gladiators…but with kids.” That sounds intense, I think I’ll pick up The Hunger Games.

Cool book concept is a weakness of mine. Those are the ones that make me want to splurge on an unread book the most. But I resist. Sometimes. 😛

10. You buy a book because you’re simply in a book-buying mood

Don’t argue with me on this one. I bet half of you reading this right now have purchased a book because of a mood. I was in the mood for a retelling and ran across The Wrath & the Dawn. So I bought it. Thankfully, I ended up loving it. 😀 Whether you’re in a romancey mood or a shoot-em-up mood or a historical mood or a space-explorer mood…there’s a book out there for you.



What makes you buy a book? Did I miss one?

What’s the last book you bought?






About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Hannah Gaudette

    Number One? Every day!

    Number Two . . . I have to admit, my best friend recommended some of Marissa Meyer’s books a million times over and I still haven’t read one. *grins sheepishly* I’ll get to it . . . someday . . . maybe.

    I love book covers, too. I think my favorite of all the book covers on my shelf is currently Samara’s Peril by Jaye L Knight (love the dragons) and A Time to Rise. (I’m not just being nice, I LOVE that cover!!)

  2. I just read the first section of A Stolen Kiss because of you. And it was great! Now I’ve got another book to add to my list – sneaky Nadine!! I’ll admit covers usually entice me. But if it doesn’t sound interesting on the back, then the cover won’t be enough. (I lucked out with the Wondrous Strange series, though – bought them just for the cover and luckily, loved them.)

  3. I’m not sure if I’m everyone or a bookmark, but Night Circus is amazing! More Something Wicked This Way Comes than Harry Potter. Get the audiobook. Jim Dale narrates. Swoon!

    Depends on your definition of “book”. I’m much less selective with e-books. Hard bound, good price and I know it’s worth it. Sara Ella’s Unblemished is the last one I purchased. Paperback (or inexpensive hardback):
    Craft book, must be able to hold, markup etc.
    Bible study books, see above
    They’re authors I know (Realmies!), must be able to have author, editor, cover artist sign. I even buy them if I own the ebook.
    My last “impulse” book purchase was Wicked and I think that was 8-10 years ago. Used books are a different story. I snagged a book from my TBR pile that wasn’t accessible through the library and expensive (even ebook) through Amazon. And I love a good book bargain. Bookman’s if you’re ever in Phoenix or Tucson.

    • lol – I read The Night Circus because of a good friend’s rave review and I loved it. But I can definitely see why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s not the kind of book I will reread very often – but it was pure artistry.

  4. Marissa Meyer is my auto-buy author as well! I’m nervous about how Wire & Nerve is going to turn out, though. Iko just doesn’t seem the type to leave her friends to go fight! And I hate the art. *sighs* Hopefully it still turns out good.
    And yes, you definitely need to buy The Girl Who Could Fly! It’s a wonderful book, but I’m pretty sure my mom is the only person I know who’s also read it…

    • Oh I have The Girl Who Could Fly and I love it! 😀 I bought it way back before they redid the covers into snazzy adventure colors. I still need to read the second book, though. Have you read it? Is it any good?

      (whispers: I’m a little nervous about Wire & Nerve, too.)

  5. I will usually succumb to hype easily if it’s in a genre I enjoy but only when I have money. Also I’m definitely an auto author buying type. But the biggest reason I will pick up a book is because it’s FREE lol. Thanks Amazxin. However I really should stop doing that.

  6. I tend to buy books because I want to own them, or because I wandered into a book store, because coming out empty handed…. what even? And because I love the writer already, but it still has to be cheep/on special enough. But I do always look at goodreads friends reviews first, they are just the best. Even those friends who have opposite tastes to you, so the time they did not like the book, may bean it is just the right one for me!

  7. I don’t buy books terribly often (#brokebookwormproblems) – but when I do, it’s often because I ADORE THE BOOK and I simply cannot live without owning it and having it sit on my bookshelf 😀
    Or it’s because I’m just feeling like a I need a new book. Some days are ‘I need a new book’ kind of days 😀
    The last book I bought … huh. I can’t remember. But the last new book I received was Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. Now I only need The Goblet Of Fire, and I own the whole series – I think I know which book I’ll be buying next xD.

    • Isn’t it grand owning books you know you love and can hug and re-read and recommend? *happy sigh*

      And I can totally relate with “I need a new book” kinds of days!

  8. I basically have 2 reasons I’ll buy a book.
    1. It’s on sale (like I bought 21 books for $3.80 at a thrift store which made me so HAPPY)
    2. The library doesn’t have it. I can get basically any book except the indie published ones and your books there *weeps*

  9. Fun post! I actually made a rule for myself: I will only buy a book if I have read it first. If I read it and like it enough that I think I’ll want to reread it or recommend it, *then* I will buy it. This helps me not spend money on books I regret. On a rare occasion, I will purchase something if I see it is on sale *and* I adore the author. <This because if you love the author you are pretty much guaranteed to like the book you haven't read, and if you're familiar enough with the author, you know the kind of content they put into the book. I also strategize my purchases (because I'm a Dutch book nut) to wait until I have a gift card and/or sale to purchase the book at a reasonable price.

    • That’s a great rule! I dabble in that rule. 😉 In that I /try/ to only buy books I’ve read, but sometimes pre-orders for books I’m excited about rule over me. 😛

  10. This is so great! The last book I bought was Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire… and it was pretty darn good!

    I am, however, always cautious about buying books because *gasp* what if I spend the scare book money on a book that looks good but I read it and end up hating it? I could have bought I book I love or one that I’m sure I’ll love!
    The struggle is real. XD


    • I’ve been hearing so many good things about Martin Hospitality! 🙂 And yes, I’m the same way with buying books because I hate owning books that I hate! And then I don’t know how to get rid of them. LOL! The struggle is totally real.

  11. Usually it is an author I’ve already established a history with, but I am always looking for new authors to try. So I don’t just read the first line, but often the whole first chapter. I need to know if it is a book that will draw me in and make me turn the page. Too many books, too little time.

I love hearing from you!