Posts Tagged ‘book blurbs’

The Joys of Browsing

When that first book an author has invested so much time and care in writing is finally finished, it is not. There is still more writing in the offing: book blurbs, back cover material and that candle on the cake–the attention-grabbing title.  I have skipped over the tedious task of query letters, pitches, synopsis, etc. to market that book.  Here I focus on what the book browser actually reads or looks at in making book selections. Is it that all important eye-catching cover design? Maybe. But some best-selling books have had some rather bland covers. And the discriminating reader, of course, knows not to judge a book by its cover. The serious reader turns to such matter as the table of contents, the introduction, and the first paragraph to make a decision to read the entire book. I disdain reading last pages, preferring that delectation in due course, if I actually decide to get the book.

With the deluge of good books, I have turned more and more to book reviews. Often I know already what books I want to browse through when I enter the bookstore. I do read book jacket material or back cover descriptions. At the most I read the first page. I never bypass the bargain table, because I often find gems that somehow inexplicably got lost in the scramble for publicity.

Now with the advent of online booksellers, I wonder if the joys of browsing have changed in anyway. Do titles, blurbs, book jacket matter, or covers have the same order of importance in your browsing? Do you browse more by author, title, genre, subject, or some other element. What do you read first: the publisher’s description or customer reviews? Do you refrain from reading customer reviews until you have read the book yourself? Does a low star rating sway you?  Does a clever title get you to look inside? All the peripheral writing that goes into a book after the book is written may make the difference in whether it is read in its entirety.

Before the online bookstore, I found that the sure cure for the blues, a general feeling of listlessness, was to jump in my car and drive to a bookstore. After a few hours browsing, I was out of the doldrums.  My book browsing joys have only increased with online browsing. I love recommendations popping at me based at what I have read previously. I like being able to browse any author’s complete works, which cannot be all stocked in the brick and mortar store.

How do you go about browsing?