Autumn-berries in sunlight

Book question for people

Hey, reader-type people, I have a question for you! In thinking about how to promote my books, I've been thinking about where I actually get book information from: personal blogs, author's twitter, ads, Amazon recommendations, "just saw the book on a shelf", etc. Last night I sat down and made an actual list for all the recent books I've read, but I'm just one person. More data is better!

So, if you think back to the last book or two that you read, or that you bought (either one), and tell me where you found out about that book, that would be very useful! Actually, the more of your recent books you can remember that information for, the more helpful it'd be -- but I know that's difficult, because I can't even remember what I was reading more than a few books ago. And, if it's a book you picked up because you always read that series/author (which came up for me a number of times), can you remember why you started reading them in the first place?

FWIW, my recent "why did I pick up this book?" reading list looks like this:

- I know the author
- book got a glowing recommendation on a non-review (i.e. general interest) blog I read, and sounded interesting
- downloaded this one as a free Kindle promotion, after hearing people on my flist talk about the TV series based on it
- I know the author, again (different author)
- latest book in a series I've been reading for awhile (can't remember when or why I started reading it; all I remember now is that I got the early books from the library)
- local author I started following on Twitter because I'm trying to follow more local authors; he talked about his newest book a bunch on his Twitter & eventually I got interested enough to pick it up
- latest in a series I'm following; started reading because a friend recommended

And that's the point where I started forgetting what I'd actually been reading recently, though I may wander around the house a little later staring at my bookshelves.

There is exactly ONE time I can think of in my whole reading history that I bought a book directly based on an ad -- it was Frances Hardinge's first book, and the ad was just too impossibly intriguing for me not to want to read it. ("Imagine a world where all books are banned!") Usually it seems like the vast majority of my book reading has a lot to do with word of mouth -- people I know lending me books or recommending books to me, people on my various social media talking about books, people I know who write books talking about their books (and one thing making this list really impressed upon me is that the more someone talks about their stuff, the more likely I am to buy it ... which is directly counter-intuitive to me because I actively try not to spam people with this stuff, but, er, at least for me, it seems like I not only don't mind at all when people talk about their various projects -- it's interesting! -- but the more they talk about it, the more likely I am to be eventually intrigued enough to buy it). There's also a fair amount of "looking at the nearby books on the shelf" that goes on when I'm in a bookstore or library; I distinctly remember that I started reading the Vorkosigan books because I'd been spending a lot of time in the book section of the campus bookstore sneakily reading sections of books because I was too poor to buy them, and after I'd snuck in on about four different occasions to read the next couple chapters of "Mirror Dance", I finally had to admit that I really needed to buy that book.

So what about you? Do you remember specifically where you heard about the last couple of books you read or bought, and what made you interested enough to read it?

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The last two books i read, I read because they were recommended by a friend. Before that, I was asked to review one for my job. Before that, I followed the 'if you iike this, you'll like x!' link at Amazon. Before that I got there from a mention of a book in another book (both were non-fiction). Before that another recommendation from a friend. Before that, following the Amazon link. Before that, a review on NPR. That last one's happened a couple of times.

I would say friends and 'if you like this, you'll like X' links are the primary way I find my reading fodder.
Thank you! <3 It's especially nice to know that the Amazon rec links DO have an effect, because I've heard a couple of people say they don't work at all, but I really like them and follow them a lot -- but then I got to wondering, do I ever actually buy books based on them? And I wasn't sure.

I had no idea, until I started crunching numbers, how much of my reading material (the vast majority of it, I'd say) is prompted by friends' recommendations, either off my flist/blogs/twitter, or from people I know IRL.
Most of the books I read when I was younger, I encountered by browsing - either in the public library or in a book shop.

But 99% of the time, nowadays it's word-of-mouth - someone I know tells me about it, or lots of people I may or may not know start talking about it in fannish spaces and it sounds intriguing. I also go looking for things with certain tropes or themes and look at examples on tvtropes pages or somesuch, sometimes.

The last few books I've read were all related to current fannish obsessions (i.e., new instalments of canon or tie-in novels), or sequels to books I've otherwise enjoyed (which I started reading due to friends' recs).

I've never in my life so much as clicked on anything Amazon recced to me, but then I find recs pretty much useless even in a fannish context, unless they're by friends who are reccing something to me personally.
I've haven't so much as _looked_ at what Amazon recs me in many years because they've been so wrong in previous years that I just trained myself out of looking at their recs lest I be bothered by their apparent reading into my interests. (Same thing happened to me with Netflix...based on some pics they would recommend me the absolute opposite of what I want to be watching LOL. I have eclectic tastes that apparently confuse their ranking algorithms...)
Most of the fiction books I read now are word-of-mouth, rec'ed by either friends, or random blog posts/conversations online/etc. For recs from people I don't know personally, I think I tend to listen most to recs which mention specific details/narrative kinks that appeal to me (actually that's true of any recs - I read the Benjamin January series because you recced it, but most specifically because you mentioned the h/c of the 6th book...!)

For nonfiction books I will take recs, but I also will just pick them up randomly at a bookstore/library if they look interesting. I used to do this with fiction too but a lot less now (I still may with shorter YA novels - I don't like not finishing books, so I don't want to put in the time commitment on a full-length novel just because the blurb sounds interesting without having more of a guarantee I'll like something about it. A shorter book doesn't take so much time so I'll just grab it and find out for myself; and with non-fiction I'm sure to get some knowledge out of it if nothing else, so am more willing to take the risk.)
(actually that's true of any recs - I read the Benjamin January series because you recced it, but most specifically because you mentioned the h/c of the 6th book...!)

NGL, that's why I started reading those as well! (So. worth. it.)
I read the Benjamin January series because you recced it, but most specifically because you mentioned the h/c of the 6th book...!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. :D (But, yeah. I have picked up a number of books on the basis of finding out they contain a particular trope or character type that I like to read!)
Not sure how much help this will be, but from flicking through my last few What I'm Reading Wednesday posts....

Last few bought are all series I'm already invested in, the latest A:TLA comics The Rift, and the newest prose adaption of the Girl Genius webcomic, Agatha H And The Voice Of The Castle. And I'll be picking up the next trade collection of the Transformers More Than Meets The Eye comic after the holidays. I won't be buying the next Firefly comic until I've read it from the library, since Shepherd's Tale was such a disappointment I'll need to find out if Leaf On The Wind is worth cashy money.

Other than that, I've got rereads of books I own that I happened to pull off a shelf I'm reorganizing, and books I picked up at the library, mostly because the cover blurb sounded interesting.

The Terry Brooks rereads came from hopping LJs and finding someone reading them for the first time, reminding me they existed, and likewise The Accidental Highwayman I picked up because someone was talking about it on LJ.
I can't remember specifically, sorry. Mainly because I buy books/ebooks and then store them up to read later, so it could be weeks before I read them (or months, or even longer in some cases) and by then I can't remember what led me to that book in the first place most of the time! That said, my usual sources for books are:

*Amazon recommendations
*I'm bored, I have some money to spend, I type a subject into Amazon (I use Amazon because of the reviews there) and see what comes up - or people want to know what to buy me for birthday/Christmas.
*Occasionally it will be via a friend's recommendations, but often recs don't quite hit what I'm looking for. Though one of my recent purchases was recommended to me and sounds like a fun read, when I get to it (Red Shirts by John Scalzi).
*Very occasionally it will be from another book I've read - either the author mentions a book, or there are some 'here are more books by us' pages.
*Sometimes it will be from browsing at a shop/library, but I rarely get to a physical book shop these days due to the CFS. (The supermarket doesn't count as I don't look for books there, seeing as it doesn't really sell books I'm interested in!)
*I have, of course, also bought tie-in books for TV shows, but it has to be a show that I'm really, really into, otherwise I can lose interest.

Ads don't tend to get my attention, and I don't tend to hang around authors' blogs, with a couple of exceptions. Hope this helps!
The last few books I've read by authors unknown to me were often from reviews in The New York Times book review section. Also, if a writer whose work I admire recs something I'll at least wander over to Amazon to see if there are a few pages posted (I read Gone Girl because Joe Henderson tweeted about it). But the very last book I bought (and hope to start this week) was Rosewater, after seeing the mind-blowing movie a few weeks back.

Hope this helps.
Last two books I read were recced by a friend IRL and a fandom friend. I actually actively follow Reading Wednesday's memes from LJ friends because I discover a ton of good books that way. Another book I picked up recently was on GRs Awards list and the premise piqued my interest. A book I'm reading right now is Hero at the End of the World and that got a lot of buzz on my twitter feed. I like it so far and will be on the lookout for other books from that publisher (Big Bang Press).
The last, like, six books I bought were grabbed off a bookshelf (five of them, I thought the summary sounded interesting; one was purchased because it was a signed copy of a book I already love.) Past that,

-The Crown Jewels: Saw it on a bookshelf, decided to grab the kindle sample of it and check it out (haven't actually bought this one yet, but considering I've only read the first three pages and I keep finding myself thinking about them, I'm pretty sure I'm going to.)
-The Goblin Emperor: Rec from someone I trust
-Shadowboxer: Rec from someone I trust, and because it has a POC female boxer as a protag
-Stranger: Author I like, plus the premise sounded interesting- realistic descriptions of ptsd, yeah!
-Unspoken: Author I like
-Libriomancer: rec

Sadly, I've read exactly one of the books so far on this list. ¬_¬

I agree with xparrot that seeing reviews that mention specific narrative tropes I enjoy is almost guaranteed to get me to buy a book, or check it out at the very least.
Thinking back to all the books I've acquired most recently, either bought for myself or specifically asked for as presents:
• a few were recommended by friends, including on LJ, who generally gave specific reasons for liking them that made me think I'd like them
• one or two were recommended by authors I like who didn't write them in blog entries or posts that I read
• I think all the rest were by authors whose work I had previously liked, and some were sequels to books I'd read.

I don't remember ever buying a book for myself based on an ad. I have bought books for others based on book jackets and recommendations by my local indie bookstore, perhaps because I have less sense of what other people like in a book than what I might like.
Hmm, looking at the last 10 books I read:
- 3 were random choices from a second-hand bookstore, picked because I liked the cover or the summary
- 2 were books from NetGalley (do you know that site? It offers free – legally free! – ebooks in exchange for reviews; it's really great), also chosen because I liked the cover or summary
- 1 was canon review for Yuletide, ha
- 2 were updates in series I've been reading, both of which I originally started because of recommendations I saw in a general-interest area
- 1 was a bookclub book
- 1 was a book on a topic I specifically seek out books on, and generally pick up whatever books I can find

I think my primary way of picking up books is through recs from friends or in general-interest places. I don't follow many book-specific blogs, despite reading a ton of books!
I don't think I've ever bought a book from an ad.

Main book buying sources:

NPR review
LJ/DW review/discussion
Friend/Family review discussion
1. I know the author
2. Goodreads Giveaways. Even if I don't win, I will either buy or at least go to the library
3. book clubs
4. book recs from friends and/or them posting it to FB
5. Book reviews (but this is rarer since I don't follow as many review sites as I should. I have them on twitter but if you can find something you want on their you're probably better than me)
I don't remember the last time I read a book that wasn't a word-of-mouth rec. Now granted, while most of the recs come from friends/family, sometimes I actively seek out reclists online. One thing that I definitely do is look for "similar to X" books. i.e. books that others recommend in the "if you liked X you will like Y" fashion. I will definitely check out books by authors I'd previously read, but this is less likely to be a big thing for me since I'm more flexible about the author and less about the subject (I just won't read certain things...).

When in the library, covers and back descriptions are HUGE. Also... this is something that most people don't do, but I will generally check the ending of a fiction book to find out of it's a soul destroying book or not. If the ending (like literally the last paragraph) looks like it just tore the reader's heart out I will not read it.

The whole "someone keeps recommending a book to me" thing is a double edged sword. On the one hand, if someone keeps talking about a book as in "I love it" discussion, I'm much much more likely to read it. But if someone keeps telling me "You should read X" then after about two three times I stop wanting to read whatever it is because I associate the book with annoyance. (Not that any good books have ever been spoiled for me this way... *cough*yestheywere*cough*) I guess it comes down to if I feel the person whole-heartedly enjoyed something and then knowing that person and their preferences I can guess what kind of a book it is and whether I'd like it.

Sorry this is just one big ramble, but I very much go by feel (or mood) when I pick up books. I've had a few books sitting on my to-do list that I'm sure I will eventually read/enjoy but I just haven't felt like starting for whatever reason. Their time, too, shall come.

Edited at 2014-12-22 05:16 am (UTC)
>>>>>When in the library, covers and back descriptions are HUGE. Also... this is something that most people don't do, but I will generally check the ending of a fiction book to find out of it's a soul destroying book or not. If the ending (like literally the last paragraph) looks like it just tore the reader's heart out I will not read it.>>>>>

YES! EXACTLY!!!!!! I do that a LOT, for the exact same reason.
1. Book recommendation by friends
2. Borrowing books from friends/books gifted by family and friends
3. Liked the book written previously by the authors
4. Browsing in book store (I once picked up a book because I loved the title ) or like what i read on lower cover
I'd say the majority of fiction I read is just stuff I stumble across at the library. I wander through the stacks looking for covers that seem appealing (ie, that look like literary fiction, my genre of choice), then read the book jacket and the first page to see if it's something I think I might like. Recently I noted down a bunch of books that Amazon had chosen as its best books of the year, and then followed the trail of "if you like that, you might like this" to get a few more recommendations. I also make note of stuff I see my friends review on LJ or elsewhere.
I guess the most new books I've read this year (as opposed to rereading series from my home library, which was about 60% of all my reading) was from local library. A lot of time I pick up a book here, like it, realize it's part of the series, go on and buy all the others.
Sometimes I found something new from posts in my f-lists, but I usually try to read them online first to determine if they are worth buying.
Sometimes from a second-hand bookstore - usually they are ones I vaguely heard about, or from the author I already know. If I don't like it, I will just give it back to the library:)

Ironically, when people specifically *rec* books to me, I often end up not really liking it (or at least not loving it enough to reread). But when I find a book through someone's squee post about the book - I usually love it:)
Most of what I've read (and enjoyed) I found out via others. A friend told be about the Dresden Files, and my sister is always a good source when it comes to finding good books or Mangas (definitely Mangas, and Animes). I got into Pratchett because I saw others reading his works so got curious. And of course book reviews. And what isn't recommended to me in some way I stumble across at the library.

And I'm totally in the same boat as you when it comes to not wanting to spam people about my book, despite the fact that some form of polite spamming is probably what needs to be done.
Bit belated, but if it's helpful -

The vast majority of what I end up reading is directly the result of a recommendation from friends whose opinion I trust.

I also keep an eye on which books people I'm not so close to reference frequently (what keeps popping up on Tumblr/other places where I read). In those cases, if something someone says about it catches my eye or I see something often enough, I'll look it up on Goodreads to see some more information about it. I like to check both the positive and the negative reviews, and especially longer reviews since I'm not super worried about spoilers. I think I'm getting pickier lately, so I usually look for references to key things that tend to hit my "do not want" buttons. (I tend to drag my feet about picking up a book only because it's popular generally/popular in circles I frequent, unless I really trust their opinions.)

One recent read was the result of just picking it up at random in a thrift store. (At a dollar or two, I can afford an impulse - I'm less likely to do that at a bookstore, though I have a couple times picked something up based on a hilarious/awesome title, with no previous knowledge of the book.)

Another recent read was a biography of an author whose works I had enjoyed - I found out about the biography because of a quote from it on the wikipedia page, when I went there to double-check the order of a series.

Other than that... a number of reads from authors whose previous works I'd enjoyed/continuations of series.

I'm getting much more likely to read things because an author talked about it him/herself through social media.
I am currently reading a series about two brothers and their encounters with the Supernatural element (good & bad) in NYC by Rob Thurman. She was highly recommended to me by two of my friends. Since we like a lot of the same TV shows & actors, I decided to check the books. I am five books into the series & I am really enjoying them.

I found a recommendation for a great series on blog I used to read but usually I just browse around at the library until something catches my eye. It is usually the title combined with the cover art. Then I read the synopsis and if that appeals to me I will check it out.
What is this book series you are talking about? I'm looking specifically for book recs dealing with Supernatural stuff. (Has nothing to do with my enduring love for Supernatural, the show, I'm sure *cough*)
late, but anyway:

I read fantasy/sf, and I read some romance.

For both, I read blogs (well, just one for romance: DearAuthor), and one of them is the TOR blog, which will have monthly "coming this month" posts sorted by type (so SF, SF romance, Fantasy, Steampunk, etc).

Some blog posts are straight up recommendations, but the "coming out soon" posts work in the way that when I am at amazon, weeding through all the stuff I wishlist because of the recs blogs, and I see a "you might also like" rec from amazon that looks familiar because I've seen the cover on the "coming out soon" list, or a previous rec that wasn't enough to make me buy the book, I'll look at that book again, and consider it - it's a kind of "this rings a bell, which one is this again?" thing.

Otherwise, I read books recommended by friends, or from authors I know, or that I see and look interesting and have seen before when browsing fanfic, so I know there's a small fandom for it.

(also, I have a backlog that is over a decade, so I don't buy that much nowadays)

Ads only work in the sense of "oh, that book I've been waiting for is out/that author I really like has a new book out".

I used to browse amazon and find stuff to read, but *points to "backlog from over a decade"*...