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SURVEY: How Do You Find New Books to Read?

By Hannah Johnson

bookstore bookshelfWe in publishing know that reaching readers is crucial to our business success, and it’s also easier said than done. Book discovery has become a more complicated process over the last decade as fewer readers rely solely on booksellers and libraries for recommendations — a trend that will doubtless continue with the Millennial Generation.

Publishing Perspectives interviewed Dan Weiss, currently Publisher-at-Large for St. Martin’s Press. Weiss has spent his career working with successful teen book series, including Sweet Valley High. In the interview, Weiss says, “we use digital media almost exclusively to find our readers and there are, fortunately, lots of blogs, sites and reviewers who seem to relate and will often promote our titles. But it is a challenge.”

Do you rely on blogs and social to find great book recommendations, or do you prefer to ask your local bookseller? Take the survey below and tell us who or what you rely on for book recommendations.

Which is your preferred source of book recommendations?

  • Word of mouth (27%, 42 Votes)
  • Blogs and book review websites (23%, 35 Votes)
  • Book reviews in mainstream media (19%, 29 Votes)
  • Bookstores (14%, 22 Votes)
  • Libraries (6%, 10 Votes)
  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) (5%, 8 Votes)
  • Other (tell us in the comments) (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Bestseller lists (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 154

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4 Comments

  1. Posted November 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I use Amazon’s ‘people who bought this also bought that” feature. It’s helped me find many amazing books that I would probably not have discovered any other way.

  2. Julie
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m a member of an online book club where members not only share their comments about the book of the month, but also about their other readings. I discovered many fabulous books that I would never have heard of if not for these exchanges.

  3. Posted November 27, 2012 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    I use a combination of things – book reviews in all sorts of places, from newspapers to blogs and in between, word of mouth (important), libraries to try out new writers, browsing in bookstores, but not often on social media. I take notice of reviews where people talk about what is in the book, what appealed to them and why. I like reviews and discussions where people talk about the writing, not just the plot.

  4. Posted February 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Book discovery for readers would be so much easier if R.R. Bowker allowed the public to search their database of upcoming releases.

    I know I can go to a library and access the database (if the library pays for access — my public library no longer does), but it would be much more customer-friendly if I could do so from home. If publishers were serious about making it easier for readers to find new books, they would force Bowker to open this resource to the public. And Bowker should restore the search agent email function they used to have but no longer do.

    The same goes for Amazon — at one time many years ago, Amazon allowed readers to save their search criteria, and when a new title was listed that matched the reader’s criteria, Amazon would dispatch an email to the reader. They no longer offer that service and for the life of me, I cannot understand why. I mean, aren’t they in the business of selling books?

    Why make it harder for readers to find the books they want to buy and read?

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