Squawk Radio

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Eloisa on Why We Buy Books

There was a Publisher Authors round-table at the Harpers Ferry conference I went to last week, and one author brought up the fact that some publishers do almost nothing to promote the books they publish, not even taking out an ad in Romantic Times BOOKClub (which represents targeted promotion for romance authors).

So I started wondering why we buy books. I know mostly I buy books because one of my friends starts raving about a title. Then I try desperately to remember what it's called, and about the fourth time I actually remember (I'm looking for Something Borrowed now: it's been recommended by everyone I know!) At any rate, I found an interesting article in The Guardian that backs up my reading practices. Here's a bit of it:

"One in four readers said the last book they read was based on personal recommendation. Almost a third of under 35s cited recommendation as the most important factor in their latest choice of book. Only loyalty came close, with 26% choosing a book because they knew and liked its author.

Despite publishers and booksellers spending an estimated £70m to £100m a year on marketing and promoting books, advertising was only cited as the deciding factor by 6%, and the cover design by 7%, although 16% said the jacket description influenced them to read the book.

What do the rest of you think? 7% choosing by cover design is interesting--I would have put it much higher. There have been plenty of times when my eye was caught by a catchy cover, although I think it happens more (for me) with chick lit or women's fiction than with romance.

Do you choose books primarily by:

a) a friend banged you over the head with a text and you staggered into the bookstore to buy it
b) a gorgeous naked man beckoned to you from the cover and you couldn't resist
c) you saw an ad in RT (hey, has anyone bought a book from this?)
d) a Very Important Author said on the cover that the book was hilarious, perfect in every way and truly terrific
e) you read the back cover copy and thought it sounded titillating
f) you read the first page

Eloisa James, 2:56 PM