How I Choose a Book

— September 30, 2009 (9 comments)
Instructions: If the total number of points are greater than the dollar value of the book, it's worth buying.

Where did I hear about the book?
Independent friend recommendations: +3 each*
Acquaintance/third-party/some-guy-whose-comments-I-respect-on-that-one-blog recommendation: +1
Advertising or media coverage: +0.5
It's one of those books I'm supposed to have read but never got around to: +1

* If friend A and friend B both recommend a book, the recommendations are independent iff A and B came to hear about the book independently (i.e. not from each other). Such recommendations are cumulative.

Do I recognize the author?
Like the author: +3
Love the author: +5
Think I've maybe heard of the author: +1
I stopped reading another book of theirs partway through: -4

What genre is it?
SF/F: +3
Literary: -5
Romance: -5
(I know, I'm a jerk. Sorry.)

Front cover?
Cool picture: +1
Embarrassing to be seen with: -2

Back cover?
Intriguing plot: +1
Cool SF/F concepts: +1
Critic/author blurbs only: -0.5

Still not sure? Read the first paragraph.
Boring: -1
Insulting: -1
Infodump: -1
Bookstore employee has to tell me the store is closing: +7

How about you? How do you decide which books to buy?

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  1. That's brilliant and I laughed out loud at the end.

    I'm not so much put off by embarrassing covers because I grew up in an age that thought sci fi was only for men - so half naked women were de rigueur even when they had nothing to do with the plot.

    Also, I'm in training for being an old woman who wears purple, so I don't let stuff like that get to me.

  2. This was great! I especially liked -5 for romance and +7 for needing to leave the closing shop!

  3. Nice, fairyhedgehog. My criteria is generally, "Do I want my wife to see this?"

  4. Hehe, I appreciate your honesty. I've been surprised by how much covers influence me, but I know it all my personal preference. I'm drawing to gorgeous cover art—have to at least see what the book is about if it's shiny and pretty.

    I shop based on mood though. Lately I'm looking for "lighter" books. So if something sounds really angsty or high suspense, I'm currently avoiding those. But that may change in a few months.

  5. I'm similar, Adam, but the independence of the recommenders isn't such a strong requirement for me. If A and B both really liked it, it doesn't matter to me if B heard about it from A or not.

  6. I love this -- it speaks to my left brain so clearly (and I also love that literary gets -5 :)

  7. Thanks, Anna. I felt bad cuz I know some of the blog readers like romance :-)

    Natalie, I'm with you. There are three things that will draw my attention to a previously-unknown book: recommendation, know the author, like the cover. A good cover makes me want to like the book.

    Matty, I think I like independent because I think that A's love a book might influence B or something. Makes sense not to care too :-)

    Glad you liked it, Bane. I'm never ashamed to be analytical (as you know).

  8. I heart you for that iff statement.

    And what? I haven't converted you to romance yet? LOL