What stops me from buying your book

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There are a few things that make me put a book back on the shelf and not buy it. 

A: the cover

The cover of a book should get me interested in the story, maybe it is a challenge, dare to read this book. Too often, the cover is very generic and doesn’t make me curious. But the next point is much worse.

B: the back of the book

There, I want to read a blurb of the book’s location, the plot, some character names, and what they face in the story. If all I see is generally phrased celebrity reviews and stickers about newspapers or publishers book lists, my interest in that book goes down. 

C: the font

Maybe this is showing my age but the smaller the font the less likely I am to read the book. For context, I sit behind a computer and read all day. Internet archive research, reading reports, writing case analyses, book reviews, all day my eyes are hard at work. Publishers I work with know that I want a manuscript or ARC in paper form, no PDFs as I need time away from the screen. And, what I read has to be eye-friendly. So, a font size of 10 isn’t for me. 

D: the margin in the middle

If the margin near the spine is narrow or, if the binding is very tight, there’s the risk that you feel the need to crack the spine just so you can read the whole text. A lot of older books and cheaper publications have this and unless I cannot get that book anywhere else, I don’t buy it. 

E: the chapters

Some writers make their chapters super long and others have a one page chapter. It makes no sense. The chapter size is part of the narrative flow. It is the emotional control system build in the book to move the reader from highs to a temporary slow-down before the story picks up pace again, etc. 

These are just a few things that I note about a book while book browsing. What turns you off about a book? 

Do you re-read books?

Me Reading/AdS

I saw someone raising this question today on social media: do you re-read books?

My answer: yes, and frequently.

Why I pick up a book for the first time is almost always related to book reviews. But the reasons why I re-read that same book are not. Here’s why:

  1. I may not have been ready for the book in the first place and have placed it aside. This sometimes happens when the theme comes too close for comfort.
  2. The author may have introduced too many characters within the first three chapters and I felt I needed a spreadsheet to follow along. This mindset can change over time.
  3. The author’s writing style might be on my mind more now that the story has sank in and I am still wondering how they put everything together so seamlessly.
  4. The characters may have evolved in a manner that I did not foresee in the beginning so looking back by re-reading, I discover elements or character traits that I missed before.
  5. If a movie has been made about the book, I often re-read to compare. I get it that with movies we are talking about different media. Perfect example, I re-read Tolkien after the movies came out. I was much better able to voice what I did and did not like, why, and how the Tolkien descriptions sometimes worked better than the CGI.
  6. After a few years, your outlook on life may have changed. Interests change too so a book that held your attention at age 20 may not work at age 45.
  7. Breaking news, an author’s death, a discovery in anthropology, etc., can all cause renewed interest.

So, do you ever re-read a book?