How Do You Decide Which Books to Buy?

Posted January 23, 2019 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Discussions, Features / 18 Comments

We’re at the beginning of a new year, and if you’re anything like me you’re going into 2019 with the best intentions of tracking all of the books you buy through bookish spreadsheets your planner, etc. I always start the year with the best intentions to track book purchases, however I always seem to lose steam around May or so because it can just become too overwhelming to track online purchases, in store purchases, gifts, pre-orders, etc. However, I have noticed that my book buying habits have changed quite a bit over the course of the past 5 years that I’ve been blogging. Though I’m reading (and perhaps purchasing) more than ever, I’m much, much pickier about which finished copies I choose to purchase. Gone are the days of my teenage years when perusing Amazon or Barnes & Noble was a fun and exciting event and I never knew what book I’d come home with (now it’s RARE I come across a book I haven’t heard of). Admittedly, this does keep me from purchasing books I dislike most of the time (which is great) however I wanted to see how other book bloggers decide what books to physically purchase and add to their collections, especially knowing we are all working with limited space and already overflowing shelves!

Auto-Buy Authors

Of course there are authors who I will usually purchase finished copies from no matter what they write (Sarah J Maas, Cassandra Clare, Meg Cabot etc.) Unless it’s super out of my wheelhouse, I’m going to plan on purchasing and owning physical copies of certain authors and already have dedicated shelves for their books.

Series Continuations

Similar to the above, generally if I start a series with a physical copy I will tend to finish it in the same way. I would hate to have some books physically, some books digitally, some books checked out from the library, etc. The only time when I don’t purchase the next book in a series is when I’m planning to DNF it (I have a few series right now on my shelves actually where I’ve only bought/read the first book and am still really on the fence about whether I’m going to continue. If I do make the decision that I’m not going to finish the series, I’ll donate/sell the first book I own in order to create more shelf space).

Hyped Up Books

Occasionally there will be a new release by an author I haven’t read before but I’m interested in because of all of the buzz that’s happening in the bookish community (I’m struggling with this with The Gilded Wolves at the moment!) This instance of buying a book can be a blessing or a curse depending on how I end up liking the book- sometimes it works out and sometimes it’s a total letdown.

Finished Copies of Beloved ARCs

One of my favorite times to purchase books is when I’m buying a finished copy of an ARC I was fortunate enough to read and really enjoyed! I try to purchase finished copies of ARCs that I can see myself rereading and/or using for pretty bookstagram photos and recommendation posts in the future!

I don’t have a choice

Sometimes there’s a book I really want/need to read but I’m unable to get it through my local library. This often happens with buddy reads/book clubs, such as with The Wicker King for the Dragons & Tea book club. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though since sometimes I end up really loving the titles I buy for these buddy reads!

Let’s Discuss!

I’d love to hear more about your decision making process for buying physical books! Do you have certain criteria like I do, or do you buy things on a whim? Is it a rare occurrence for you to buy a book or do you buy books all the time? Let me know through the poll and in the comments below!

When are you most likely to buy a physical finished copy of a book?

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18 responses to “How Do You Decide Which Books to Buy?

  1. I have very similar parameters for book buying! I’m trying to be better about not auto-buying favorite authors if I didn’t love one of their books (like Top Ten by Katie Cotugno- it killed me to unhaul it because it’s her but I just can’t see myself re-reading that one). Lately, I’ve been trying to read from the library and then I’ll purchase what I love!

  2. I am super duper strict about book purchasing! I think I posted about this before but I don’t remember haha. I used to buy things willy-nilly but have gotten a lot better. I will typically use Scribd, the library, and Hoopla for new releases or backlist titles I want to read. I buy books when they’re the next in a series I already own or I’m SUPER excited about the book. I only preorder favorite authors and their next books or the next in a series. Sometimes I’ll buy a book if I see it on sale somewhere and it’s one I want to read, but that doesn’t happen as much. I’m trying to put my book budget more toward finished copies of books I read and loved and want to photograph/reread/etc. I also need to cull so many from my shelves!

    • I am always tempted by the Book Outlet emails in my inbox! I’ve only ordered from there one time and the books came in OK condition but weren’t perfect (which I knew going in but it still bothered me when I got them). I know you can get some really amazing deals though!

  3. I definitely fall in the I don’t have choice category- I’m going to be buying Emma Mills’ First & Then and Foolish Hearts, my county library system doesn’t have those two- and auto-buy authors. For me, those authors include Rainbow Rowell, Ruta Sepetys, and Marie Lu. I love this post!

  4. Despite the fact I have a huge collection of books, I have been trying to stop buying books quite so much – especially physical books. In my head, I would like to move soon, and so knowing that every book I buy I will eventually have to move dissuades me from buying quite a bit. There are a few exceptions, but that is working pretty well for me. I am also getting really attached to my ereader and seeing the benefits of an ebook vs a physical book is also on my radar (although I do love physical books). Also, because the majority of the physical books I own are unread (oops), I think they probably feel lonely and abandoned for being owned, but never read. It seems a bit silly, but it works. Also, I never preorder books. If I want it, it’s usually 40% off the day of release from my bookstore anyway (which they usually do for a limited time with new releases).

    Erin @ Pages of Milk and Honey recently posted: 2018: A Year in Books
    • Moving books is such a struggle!! It’s gotten to the point where no one ever wants to help me move because they know how many books I have (and I have to pack them all in a million small boxes because they are so heavy)! That’s so nice that your bookstore offers books 40% off on release day, I do prefer to buy my books in person when possible so they’re in good condition- sometimes the quality of the ones I receive via pre ordering online is questionable!

  5. I used to buy a lot of books, particularly from the Barnes & Noble bargain section, but then I started using my library more and really valuing my shelf space. Now, I have a couple authors that I will auto-buy books from, and if I read a library book that I really enjoy and could see myself reading again, I’ll buy that.

    • Ah, the B&N bargain section! I will admit I have found some real gems in there, sometimes you can find really popular discounted books (the only downside is I’ve often already read them at that point). I definitely value my shelf space more now that I’m so much more AWARE of books after blogging for so long. I’m trying to limit my book buying to books that I really think have re-read potential!

  6. The books I really want I have to either a get in kindle version, travel to the US to buy them, get my mom to sent me some from the US, or wait until I get lucky and find them in my local bookstores, a year or so after publication.

    Every year I order, or buy directly (if I travel), at least 10 books from B&N or Amazon to take home with me. So while I wait I have a long time to make lists and prioritize the books I really really want to have on my shelves.

    Though I do go to my local bookstore all the time to see what’s new and if there’s some gems I can get. Sometimes I do get lucky. I was able to find here books like An Ember in the Ashes, and The Sun is Also a Star.

    All things considered, I’ve got to be picky.

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective- I think most of us don’t realize how easily accessible we are to books here in the US (though it does make it easy to overspend)! When you make your list of books to buy annually, do you tend to focus more on anticipated releases or books that you’ve already read in e-book format that you want to own physical copies of?

  7. I am terrible for book buying. Admittedly, a lot of my purchases now are ebooks simply because I don’t have the shelf space for all the physical books I might want. For me, there are several factors. Must buy authors are obviously one thing. There are certain authors whose books I preorder without even needing to find out what they’re about. I am actually less good about purchasing sequels in a series. I get the first one that gets really nervous about buying the next for no apparent reason. I also am terrible for immediately buying books after certain bloggers rave about them. I am trying to train myself to at least read the free sample first, especially if it’s an author I’m unfamiliar with. I am learning that I don’t need to buy every book because my shelves are actually overflowing.

    • I am having the same problem! I could easily fill two more full sized bookshelves (it’s bad). I’m really trying to only pre-order books by authors I know and love but have found that I’ve even been burned by that method recently, agh! I should be better about trying to wait to access books through the library and then buying the book only if I love it and want to reread but sometimes I’m too impatient for those crazy long library holds lists!

  8. Blogging has definitely changed the way I buy books. I remember going to B&N and coming out with a couple of books, but now I don’t “discover” books like this because we have such constant access to reviews. I try to stick with authors I know when purchasing books, but I will let myself give in to a few books that are debuts or are authors I haven’t tried before if I get really excited. I’ve preordered two debuts so far this year because I just couldn’t help myself. Great discussion!

    • Thanks Alicia! Blogging has basically taken away any mystery to book buying (both good and bad) but sometimes I do still occasionally impulse buy or pre-order (and I’ve already been burned by this twice so far in 2019- by authors I’ve actually read and enjoyed before too!)

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