Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Why Do You Buy A Book?

This is a view of Legacy Books, the independent bookseller where my official launch party for Code Blue will be held at 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 8. In case you've skipped my prior posts, consider this your personal invitation to attend.

As I think about book signings, blog interviews, guest posts, and other activities designed to acquaint readers with a book, I have to wonder: How much good does all this do?

You may notice, as you browse through a book store, that some books are "faced"--that is, turned so that the front cover, rather than the spine, faces outward. You'll also see books featured on tables and other displays. What determines this? Although they won't be quoted, most people in the industry to whom I've addressed this question admit that publishers sometimes pay for this positioning. Does that influence you to buy a book?

You'll see interviews with authors online in various blogs or websites. You may even hear them on a radio show or, in rare instances of high profile authors, see them on TV. Have you ever bought a book as a direct result of seeing or hearing the author?

Book signings can be fun, but there's always the risk that they turn out like a party that no one attends. Have you ever attended a book signing? Did you go there with the express purpose of meeting the author? Of buying that book? Or did you just want to see what one was like? Maybe you heard rumors that there would be candy on the table in front of the author (I plan to provide Hershey's chocolate kisses) or that cake would be available (it will be at my book launch). Why do people go to these events? And do they sell books?

I maintain that most books sell because of word-of-mouth endorsements. Oh, it's great to have authors and reviewers rave over a book (and I've been fortunate in that regard), but I'm betting that the best tool for selling a book is a friend or acquaintance saying, "I read it. It's really good. You may want to try it."

So what's your opinion? Meanwhile, it's time to do the final editing on the next book on the series. The fun never ends, does it?

For those of you who left a comment about the interview with author Candace Calvert, my random number generator (isn't the Internet wonderful?) tells me that Caroline will be receiving a copy of Disaster Status from Candace. Thanks to everyone who stopped by.


Timothy Fish said...

All of the above and none of the above. There's never a simple answer to why we buy or don't buy books. As people trying to sell books, I think all we can do is do those things that sometimes work and hope it works for us.

Carol J. Garvin said...

Different things motivate me to buy books. I bought one because of a TV interview, but I was particularly interested in its topic. Usually it's because I want to read what a particular author has written, whether it's a long-time favourite author or a new one I've met via blogging.

I attend signings mostly to personalize the name/face on the book jacket and support the author. I've usually already purchased the book, although sometimes I've enjoyed it so much I buy additional copies at a signing to give as gifts to family and friends.

I wish I were close enough to attend yours. I don't doubt it will be a wonderful experience. Looking forward to hearing about it!