Thoughts #50: What Makes You Pick Up A Book?


One thing I’ve never really discussed on the blog, and that sort of surprises me, is what makes me pick up a particular book before I’ve even looked at the blurb. I thought I’d share that with you too, and I’d love to hear your reasons as well!

  • The cover. Yep, I definitely do judge books by their covers. The images used, the art style, the font used, the colour scheme… I will judge by anything. I am a particular fan of this current trend that appears on a lot of recent science fiction releases, for a painted, ‘blurred’ style:
  • Dark Run

  • Hype from other bloggers/friends. If I’ve seen a book on lots of blogs, or recommended by various friends on Goodreads, I’m more likely to take a look.
  • The genre. Although I do try and read widely, I still often stick to my favourite genres, especially when taking a gamble on buying a book I’ve not heard that much about. So if it’s science fiction or fantasy, chances are I’ll pick it up.
  • The author. If it’s an author I’ve read and loved, I’ll take a look whether I was aware of the new release or not.
  • The publisher. Yeah, this might be a more unusual one. But there are some publishers I’ve worked with and I just feel that they print such high quality books, that often I’ll be more tempted to take a look at something just because it’s published by certain companies.

I do have to say that, overall, if I’ve never heard of or read the author before, the cover is pretty much the ultimate factor in deciding whether or not I’ll pick up the book.

What factors make you pick up a book?

10 thoughts on “Thoughts #50: What Makes You Pick Up A Book?”

  1. Yeah, I judge covers too. You posted the cover for The Drowning Eyes, and I too was drawn to it. Haven’t read it yet.

    Also, hype. Who is hyping the book? People on GoodReads? Reddit? NY Times? Science Friday? Science Friday’s discussed books almost always makes my to read list. I belong to four groups on GoodReads. I don’t contribute to the voting for BOTMs, but I do go back and look at the previous reads and shared list of ‘best’ or ‘favorite’ books. Reddit has individual book or author discussions, but again, I check out the book lists.

    I’ve read some classic science fiction lately because a few books kept appearing on different lists. They weren’t The Martian or Red Rising, but most were worthwhile.

    1. It’s a gorgeous cover, right?

      Hype, at least for me = Goodreads and blogger friends. Maybe real life friends but I tend to mostly discuss books online.

  2. I definitely do all these things. Especially the cover of a new book. If its not a good cover I instantly dismiss it unless there is good hype or from an author I love.

    I don’t think that judging based on a publisher is that unusual. I do it all the time. There are just some publishers that I feel have my preferred book style over other publishers. I guess it is because I feel more comfortable with that publisher because I know I’m going to get a decent book. Although this can be a bit of a hindrance when picking up new books…

    Another factor for me is my reading mood. Whether or not I’m in the mood for a new book or a favourite.

    1. If it’s a book I know I will love, then I might settle for a *slightly* less nice edition – like my 50th anniversary Gollancz editions, which has an amazing range of books but the covers are ugly. It was £5 for a set of 8 though so…

      I think definitely for us bloggers it’s probably quite normal? Like those we’ve established links with.

      Absolutely! Mood reading over structured reading 😉 Although sometimes I have to stick to structured reading for tours and reviews…

  3. I think it’s pretty much a mix of everything you mentioned for me too, except probably the publisher. I definitely go by author or blogger hype first, though I try to evaluate through reviews first to see if the book seems like “me” before going solely off hype. Another factor would definitely be the premise. I struggle to nail down what my favorite genre within YA is, so if a premise draws me in the genre doesn’t usually matter.

    1. Hype can be really great, or really bad. Sometimes I’ve been so excited for a book and then it’s been so bad – so it’s definitely worth evaluating reviews!

      That’s true, actually. An interesting premise, regardless of genre, will always grab me.

  4. This is an interesting discussion question because, at least for me, I primarily pick up books based on their blurbs. However, I’m definitely persuaded by the hype or the author as well. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous discussion! ♥

    1. Don’t you hate it when there is no blurb?? How are we supposed to decide then? 😮 I’ve picked up a few books that have had no blurb – not even on the inside cover.

  5. I definitely judge books by covers, but often I find I hate them! So now I have learned i need to actually read the blur and decide if I actually want to read said book.

    1. That’s interesting! I do wonder how many great stories I’ve missed just because I don’t like the cover. But it’s a habit I can’t break…

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