Here are the four criteria I always consider when shopping for a new read:
We all have our favorite authors, and when I see that one of mine has a new book out, I'll almost always buy it without too much thought. Jeff Lindsay just released a new Dexter book? Sold! Jeffery Deaver has a new Lincoln Rhyme novel out? Sold! I'm a loyal reader, and supporting the authors I love is a no-brainer.
I admit it, I've been known to take a chance on a book simply because I liked the cover. I'll use Fangland by John Marks as an example of this. I knew nothing about the author or the book, but the cover was wonderfully creepy. It reminded me of a movie poster, so I bought it (which turned out to be a good decision – I loved the book).
Back cover/jacket flap blurb
Quite often I'm enticed by the blurb – and that's exactly why it's there. Consider this from the jacket flap of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:
"In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV."I had never heard of Suzanne Collins. The book cover didn't do much for me. And at that point, I hadn't really read much YA. But this blurb? Those two sentences sent me straight to the cash register.
There's nothing I appreciate more than a book recommendation. Now, please don't confuse this with book reviews, which are a different animal. I love it when someone I personally know, who knows my tastes, tells me there's a book I really need to read. My mother recommends (or not recommends) books to me all the time, and she's almost always right about what I'll end up enjoying.
What I don't take into consideration when buying a book?
Anonymous reader reviews, like the kind you find on Amazon.com. I'm wary of listening to the advice of somebody I don't know. Which isn't to say they're without merit, it's just that anonymous reviews don't sway me personally one way or the other.
What about you? What makes you decide to buy a book? What makes you decide to put a book down and keep looking?