How many times have you skipped happily into a bookstore with one hand clutching your purse and the other hand skimming and feeling all the spines on the shelves?
How many times would that be, where you have only one goal in mind — and that is to buy the book you have been yearning for, for so long?
Only to find that the book you had your eye on for months wasn’t sold at the bookstore or was fresh out of stock!
“Oh, the agony…” you must be thinking… And to think that all this while, you were dreaming of the day when you’d cradle it in your hands, just waiting for the right moment to open it and start reading it.
Well, that happened to me today.
I was determined to buy Books 2 and 3 from the Conquest series by James Aitcheson (I already have Book 1 at home) at the Borders branch at a nearby shopping mall. Only to be told that the book had never even made it onto the shelves in the first place! “Oh the agony…” I was thinking then. That’s that then. But you see, I couldn’t walk out of a bookstore without buying anything. No, that’s not me. So I bought something anyway. Unfinished Tales by J. R. R. Tolkien but edited by Christopher Tolkien.
But that’s not why I’m here today. Actually, I’ve had people asking how do I buy my books. Do I just waltz into a bookstore and emerge with my two hands full of a stack of books? Or do I grace the author’s name and book title on each spine, studiously reading and re-reading the synopsis at the back of each book?
Well, I don’t have a specific method but I do have a couple of rules that I follow quite faithfully. Before you blindly grab a book off the shelf:
- DO read some reviews (online or wherever) before making a trip to your nearest bookstore but DON’T take every review seriously. Different readers have different opinions on the book(s) they read and not everyone will share the same opinion.
What I’d do is to read at least 4-5 reviews, think about it and try to imagine myself reading it. I may not know what the story is about, but at least after reading the synopsis of the book and what other people said about it, I can base my judgment on whether I should buy it or not.
- DO read the synopsis of each book that you see (or might want to buy) at the bookstore but DON’T assume you know what the story is about. I don’t know about other readers but sometimes, I find that the background story can be misleading.
What I’d do is flip a few pages into the book (if they’re not wrapped up; I hate it when bookstores do that even if it’s for a good reason) and read it. See if you like the author’s writing style. More often than not, an author’s writing style has put me to sleep, and reading the book becomes a chore.
These are just rules that I made up for myself so I won’t end up wasting my money on books that I find boring once I get home. After all, you’d want to buy something that’s worth your dollars and cents, don’t you?
By the way, do you have a Goodreads account? I find it quite useful in my times of need when it comes to researching about a book or an author. And it is an easy tool to use too!
But that’s how I buy my books, though, if anyone’s curious. What about you? Do you have a particular method when it comes to buying books?