Friday, September 30, 2011

Decisions, Decisions, or How I Chose Which Book to Buy Today

I have a Nook Color, which I might have mentioned that I love. But, it has changed my book-shopping habits more than I anticipated. Now that Amazon has unveiled the shiny new Kindle Fire, I plan to become a dual e-reader owner. (I had to have color, you see.) And I can easily justify to Sugar why it's essential that I have both--I hope.

Anyway, about book shopping....

Today I perused my to-be-read list, which consists of a stack of actual books purchased pre-Nook, and 21 books I've downloaded to my Nook but haven't yet read. These are all books I'm eager to read--some are written by friends, some by favorite authors, some both. But, on any given day, what I want to read is driven by the mood I'm in. Nothing in my to-be-read list jumped out, grabbed me by the throat, and shouted, "You must read me now!"

I checked the Goodreads recommendations--this is a great feature, by the way. Goodreads checks what you've read and rated highly and recommends books for you. There were good suggestions on the list. I decided to download either Lethal, (the new Sandra Brown novel) The Affair (the new Lee Child novel) or (and this was the odds-on favorite) Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues by Michael Brandman. I SO miss Jesse Stone.

With those three novels in mind, I logged on to the B&N website. Yes, I know I can easily shop directly from my Nook, but because the screen--and therefore the store--is bigger, I prefer shopping on my laptop.

I clicked Nook Books, selected fiction, then mystery. I sorted by Bestselling. The first 2 books on the screen were The Affair and Lethal. Should've been an easy in and out of the store, right? Not so fast. I love browsing books. So, I meandered down the list. Number three was a Michael Connelly--also a favorite author--and this was a steal--a back-list title for only $1.99. But, it was a title I'd already read and own in paperback.

The first page of 573 pages of mystery novels held 30 titles, most by name-brand authors. Many of them I've already read. Some I just wasn't in the mood for. I went to page 2. More of the same--some new titles by favorite authors, some back-list titles--plus here a few authors whose names were familiar, but whose work I've never read, along with an unfamiliar name or 2. My scrolling slowed.

There, on the bottom line of page 2, a cover and a title caught my eye" January Kills Me, by Evan Katy. I read the first sentence of the overview: "January Kills Me is a romantic comedy, an action filled mystery and a cautionary tale of how not to go about recovering from a divorce."

DING-DING-DING! We have a winner. That caught my attention. I glanced at the reviews. There were only 12 ratings so far, but the overall rating was 4.5. The five reviews on the first page were all glowing endorsements.

But, wait... the book is only 99 cents? Is this a back-list title of someone I haven't read before, or an indie author? Great cover, great title, great reviews--nothing that screamed, "This is somebody's first draft of her first novel, and she got her cousin to upload it because he knew how." It was a completely professional package. And (I had to look) Evan Katy is an indie author.

I can gamble with 99 cents. Jesse Stone, I still miss you, but maybe next week. The budget is a little tight just now.

Peace out,


P.S. As a reader, I never looked to see who published a book until the day I started researching publishers and agents as a writer. I'm not an advocate for independent publishing or authors. Neither am I predisposed to think that a novel written by an indie author is of poor quality. I am a lover of good novels, however they arrive on my e-reader. I am also the CFO of my family budget.


Bob Strother said...

Gotta love your logic. And I admire your independent (no pun intended) thinking. Just got The Affair myself, and cant wait to start it.

Donnell said...

Susan, I'm traveling, so my posts may cut out at any minute, but I agree with Bob. Great logic. If a book's blurb grabs me, I'm all over that book, and unfortunately since I own a Kindle and they've made it so easy, I may soon be in Bankruptcy Court. There are tons of great Indy Books out there, as well as bestselling authors. Let's just say if I read a blurb and I'm fascinated and know from friends' recommendations that the writer is good, I probably own it by now. And darn if you didn't just give me another recommendation.

Great blog. I may have to buy a Nook and see what I'm missing!

marilynn larew said...

I'm a great fan of Amazon's If you brought this, you'll like these books section. Whole new authors. What joy! What bankruptcy!

Henry said...

And what's wrong with owning two Nooks? One color and the original e-ink reader. The best part is they share the same library and from the color one I can post this on your blog.

But I too wish online shopping was as easy as hitting the store. When scanning a shelf it's easy to skip over sme popular author and move onto the next collection. After all do i really need to see all 20+ Sue Grafton books in 4+ formats.

Susan M. Boyer said...

Bob, I will undoubtedly buy and read The Affair, Lethal, and Killing the Blues--just not today.

Something else I've noticed that's different in the way I buy books--and I'm sure publishers and book stores are not happy if this is a trend--I don't buy ten at a time, like I used to do when I'd go to the bookstore. That's how I ended up with a to-be-read stack that needed its own bookcase pre-Nook. Funny thing, some of those books I never got around to reading, because there was always a new one.

When I first got the Nook, I was still in that mode. I'd go online and download a pile. But I've realized I no longer have to do that, due to the instant gratification feature of the Nook.

Now, I buy them one at a time. :)

Donnell, the one I'm waiting for, of course, is The Past Came Hunting. Can't wait to get my hands on it!

Marilyn, I think Amazon's logic is very similar. To be honest, I would have bought a Kindle if there had been a color one available when I asked for the Nook for Christmas--not that I don't love my Nook--I do, I really do.

Henry, I don't spend as much time on beaches in Hawaii as you do, so I don't need an e-ink reader for bright sunlight. :) I love that you can post blog comments from your Nook. Hey, have you been practicing your Karaoke act? The ahh, Karaoke lounge is being finished into a real room. Should be ready in time for holiday tomfoolery. :)

Barbara Evers said...

Susan, I regularly check out the free books. I figure it's no big deal if I don't like them. For the most part, the free ones have been poorly written. I have run across the occasional good one. When I'm searching, Amazon suggests other low cost books. I'm hesitant unless I know the author. I do check the reviews, but I've found they're unreliable. One book was so awful that I decided to post a review and save others from the mistake. That's when I discovered that the author had several published titles (not self-published) and a loyal readership. I didn't bother to comment.

Susan M. Boyer said...

Barbara, I check out the free books as well, and have had the same experience. But the good ones I find make me feel like I'm on a treasure hunt. I occasionally strike gold.

Interesting times...

Carole St-Laurent said...

My book buying has also changed, along with all those new tools. I browse the iBook store and the Amazon store, and the real bookstore. But since the real one is an hour away from me, buying a book on my iPhone has become so convenient.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone just hit good ole' Good Will or other thrift shops for books? Oh, man, I ALWAYS owe money for fines at oir library and joke with the ladies there that I'm helping pay their salaries with my procrastinating and bad habits of either forgetting to take back books on time or losing them. Yes, I AM old- fashioned and am not an e-book user, though I have a free Kindle on my Android. Just enjoy the feel of an actual book/book in my hand.