Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why Did You Buy It?

Spurred by Nathan Bransford's yesterday post, and considering I rolled over 50 books read this year, I thought I'd share a little bit about my book buying habits, and ask you to tell me about yours.

Last night, I finished reading Marco Polo. (You can see all the books I've read this year over at this post so I'm not going to repeat links.) This book was an impulse buy at the local thrift store. I was skipping through the shelves of old books and the title jumped out at me. You see, years ago - when I was a mere lass - I was enthralled by a mini-series about the same subject. I pulled the book from the shelf and sure enough, the top of the cover said it was soon to be a mini-series. Hurray! I had to buy it and see if the book was as awesome as I remembered the TV show being. I wasn't disappointed.

When I look over the books I've read this year, almost half of them are members of different series I'm working my way through. Wherever you see Monica McCarty, Karin Tabke, Lynn or SL Viehl, Jim Butcher, Allison Brennan, Gena Showalter, Rick Riordan, Brandon Mull, Rachel Vincent, or GA Aiken, those are series titles. I'm caught up on most of those, but I still have some of Lynn's Stardoc series and a few of the Dresden Files novels to work through. I'm also missing one of Gena's Atlantis series.

I have different reasons for reading the other books. In some cases, I picked up the book because of the author's association with someone else I read. For instance, I bought SJ Day, Natalie Collins and Jennifer Lyon because of their participation in the Murder She Writes blog. On the same note, I bought Carrie Ryan because she used to be part of the Manuscript Mavens group. And I picked up the Shannon Butcher because I love her husband's novels.

Other times, I buy a book because of its value to my own writing. For my suspense writing, I read Jance, Reichs, Robards, Gerritsen, Gerard, LeCarre, and Whitney. Although, I have to admit, I haven't read or written much in this genre this year, to keep abreast of the speculative world, I read Shusterman and Ryan (yes, she served two purposes).

In one instance, I bought the book purely for its 'suck up' value. If an agent you're querying has written a book, I figure you damn sure better read it - just in case they want to represent you, then you can say "I read your book" without being a liar. So, I bought Vamped by Lucienne Diver. Good thing I like paranormal and YA - and good thing I really did enjoy it. I'd hate to have read the book and hated it. I'll read the book to suck up, but I won't lie about whether I liked it.

Any other unmentioned books on my 2009 list were read for a combination of enjoyment and research into the craft. I figure any book I read teaches me how to improve my own writing. (Not that I didn't enjoy almost all of the books I read this year.*)

Your turn. Why do you buy the books you do? Have you ever picked up a book for a specific reason, and then regretted it?

*I'm not telling which books I didn't enjoy - unless I've already given it a negative review. I don't enjoy trashing other people's work, and since it's a matter of personal taste, it's not helpful anyway.


  1. To be honest, I don't buy that many books. I get tons sent to me by publishers. Most of the ones I do shell out for are either authors I know personally, or authors I've been reading for a while.

  2. I am horrible for buying books. Whenever I go into Chapters (Canadian version of Barnes and Noble) it is a guarantee that I'll be walking out of there with a stack of books in hand. I can't seem to help myself. Since it's my only vice I suppose it's not all that bad, especially since I sell the books I didn’t like to used bookstores.

    Given that I am still a student, I buy a mix of books. Some are for academic purposes; anything I think will help me with my schooling. I also buy some for writing purposes; how to write, formatting, agent books and any historical books related to the specific timeline of my novel. But for the most part I buy books for entertainment purposes. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to read as much as normal because of my writing. I’d like to get my draft completed before I start my 3rd year in September that way I can work on editing and agent queries for the fall semester.

    I’m sorry, I went off on a tangent!!