Thursday, 27 January 2011

Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

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Image by QuinnAnya
It’s the end of your working day... 

You’ve finished your chores and want to sit down for a couple of hours reading that new book you picked up at the weekend. But a couple of chapters in, it dawns on you that this book isn’t doing it for you... You’re not engaged and right now you can’t remember any of the reasons why you picked it up in the first place! The book which grabbed your attention in the store is certainly not living up to your expectations now.

Ever wondered how authors make their books attractive to their readers - draw them in and compel them to read the book from cover to cover? And equally as important,

What makes YOU pick up a book in the first place... 
give it more than a cursory glance... enough to decide that it's worth the money and time spent reading it through?

Very rarely do we choose a book based on some random selection process, but most of us will have experienced that sense of disappointment when a book that looked so enthralling turns out to be no more than a ‘damp squib’.

So how not to judge a book by its cover!

Image credited to RentVine
10 tips to consider 
when choosing your 
next book

Here are 10 tips to consider when choosing your next book:

1.    Recommendation – What do your friends and family recommend? If you are a member of a book club, which books are they reviewing each month? 

2.    What are you currently reading or have you read that you enjoyed? Has the author published any other books that you might enjoy? I’m currently reading Cape Refuge/Southern Storm, both Terri Blackstock’s books. I first read one of her books, Last Light, a couple of months ago. I particularly enjoyed reading a book that mixes suspense with a Christian theme and it made me want to read more of her books.

3.    What are other readers buying? Bookstore best seller lists or publishers’ new bulletins can help you here. For example, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association or the Black Christian Book Company provide their own list of top selling titles Christian Books Best Sellers . There are others and you may find that they link to particular genres.

4.    Read customer reviews and ratings, such as those found on Amazon, Google books, or on other blogger sites, like Relz Reviewz. Amazon, for example will also suggest alternative books based on the title(s) that you originally selected and Google books provide a useful search engine to help you locate local booksellers or libraries that also stock the book you wish to read.

5.    If you are a visual person, the book cover or any artwork illustrations could be what stimulate your interest. Clearly, this in itself wouldn't usually be sufficient for you to make your choice, but it would give you an indication of the book’s intended audience - age group, gender, its mood and setting, etc.

and 5 more!

6.    Reading the blurb on the back cover can also tell you a lot about the book's content. It might include information about the author, a summary of the book, and often a brief review from established critics. Do bear in mind though, these reviews reflect personal opinions so other criteria still needs to be considered.

7.    What genre do you enjoy reading? Bookstores will tend to present books in genre categories. Similarly, online stores will also allow you to search by genre. You might also find that blogger sites and forums will focus their book reviews by specific genres which their members enjoy.

8.    Look inside the book at the number and title of chapters, the number of pages, and even the size of the print font - Yes, on a number of occasions I’ve rejected a book because the font size was too small to make reading comfortable. It sometimes helps to read the first few pages whilst you are in the store, to get a first impression of the style and pace of the book. Both Amazon and Google books are increasing the amount of books which you can preview before buying.

9.    Which reading platform do you prefer to read your book from? With the recent rise in the purchase of electronic books ebooks and electronic readers (ereaders), understanding what your options are for reading books will become increasingly important. Are you a ‘must have’ hard copy or paperback reader, or an inquisitive or maybe convinced ebook reader? Would you prefer to read books downloaded to your PC, ebook reader or mobile phone? Today’s reader has a range of reading platforms to choose from (more about this in a later post).

10. Finally, don't forget that your local library may loan you the book that you wish to read if you want to try before you buy, or if buying books is not your thing.

So there you have it. 10 suggestions for choosing your next book that are guaranteed to make your reading experience more enjoyable. This list is not exhaustive and I'm sure you'll have your own personal criteria for selecting a good book.

I'd love to hear any additional suggestions that you may have or any comments about the ones listed. How have they helped you?

Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?
Why not post your thoughts in the comments box below.

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  1. I am so glad that you liked my Flickr photo so much that you included it on this page.

    I enjoy when people use my Creative Commons photos that I work hard on, but as I noted on Flickr (below the photo) I require that they provide me credit to my site.

    Please add my link when you can.
    Thanks, Dave

  2. Thanks for clarifying. I was unsure about linking to your RentVine site but wanted to credit your work somehow. I've updated the link as requested.

    Who said learning how to blog properly and understand the various elements was straightforward? It's a real learning curve, but I'm enjoying it anyway.

    Thanks for allowing me/others to use your artwork. Best Wishes