I have to admit it's usually the price, especially here in Canada, where books continue to be higher priced than they are in the U.S. Although our dollar is now worth more than the U. S. dollar. I don't know how that works. Sometimes the cover design will turn me off and I won't pick up the book. I've probably missed some good reads because of that. I hate to admit it but sometimes if a book has had a lot of bad reviews, I won't look at it. Mostly though, I'll read just about anything.
Hi, Bobbie! I can tell you right off the bat 3 things in particular that keep me from buying a book: one is a plethora of foul language, erotica, and too much violence. I'm turned off by a lot of book covers that advertise the same. Frankly, I don't think even "Playboy" could get away with what's being allowed on our regular book-shelves nowadays!
I'm a huge fan of vampirish novels and the sort, so I'm no prude, but I find books that insert bad language, sexually explicit scenes and vivid, bloody violence instead of a sound foundation of good text, and in the place of an author with excellence in writing, a waste of time.
Sometimes I'm also turned away by the price. I'll wait until I can find the book at a lower price if it's something I just have to read. I read constantly, and I don't like to have to pay a horrible amount for a book. Because I have books to read and review already in my stacks and personal library, I can easily wait-out a new book. So, unless an author or publisher is willing to send me an ARC, I'm just willing to wait for the most part.
Once in a great while, I'm kept from buying a book because the ordinary person likes it too much. This is true especially with newly discovered authors that all the world and the "every man" is touting as their new favorite. Nicholas Sparks (sorry, Everyone...) is probably the latest star in that Universe. He writes charming books, of which I've seen a movie adaptation of one, and I liked it very much. But, people who read them are generally not literary...not serious readers. When I try to read one of those type of books, I fall asleep. They seem written for a 6th grad level. Danielle Steele is another of those authors: great following of non-literary readers, sells alot of books, books adapted to tv movies...but they are so simplistic, they're like Corn Flakes! I'm sorry to offend. Of course this is not always the rule with those authors' readers...
It's the price. 12 bucks for a book adds up REALLY fast. I go to indie bookstores they're slightly cheaper. I'm usually open to everything except romances. Explicit scenes just make me want to throw the book down the donation chute.
I'm with some of the others! It's usually price that holds me back. I either wait until I can find the book used or pop over the border and get a copy in the US - way cheaper especially now that our dollar is higher!
Price is definitely a factor for me when I am considering buying a book. It really has nothing to do with the actual book itself, but why pay a high price for one book when I can get two cheaper book..lol
In the past I have selected books just based on the cover. If I love the cover, then I'll read the blurb. If the cover didn't draw me in then I would just move along to find a cover that did. In recent years though I have learned that a cover isn't everything and that an awesome story may have a bad cover and so I don't really pay attention to covers that much any more :)
At this point in time price is a major consideration, especially since ebook pricing has gotten ridiculous IMNSHO. To make matters worst, I reside in a town with a population of less than 60K, so bookstore choices are limited. As a result of these limitations, I usually order physical books online or am forced to drive 45+ miles/one way just to reach a larger bookstore with a decent selection. I used to purchase a minimum of 8-10 ebooks/month and I'm now down to 5 or less. If a book isn't available in ebook format then I'll shop around online for the best price before buying.
Since I started buying ebooks 4 years ago, the cover isn't that important although a bad cover may make me hesitate. The only turn-off is, as others have mentioned, a plethora of gratuitous sex and violence just to push the book sales. If the plot and writing aren't working on their own, then the addition of sex and violence isn't going to help.
Yes, price can be a factor, but I am turned off by books that get too much hype and then fail. there are times when I feel I was duped into buying a book. I wonder how many of those recommending it only did so to save face. They also were duped, but didn't want to admit it publicly. With those books I now tend to let time work for me. If it is still the big talk months from now, then I might consider it.
There are three steps to getting me to buy a book:
1. Catch my eye. When I go to the bookstore, I generally head straight to Science Fiction/Fantasy and start scanning the shelves. That means I'm looking at spines, which means I'm reading titles. If the title doesn't grab me, I'll pass on by.
2. Promise more. When a title catches my attention, I pick it up and look at the cover. Then I look at the description. Both should connect to the title, but also promise something more.
3. Live up to that promise in the first few paragraphs. If a book makes it to step three, I open it and start reading. Some books lose me immediately. The writing is too dry, too wordy, or simply doesn't make me care. But if I read the first few paragraphs and I'm still interested, I'll buy it!
An example: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry.
1. The spine caught my eye, because the words PATIENT ZERO appeared to by lightly splattered with blood. What this suggested was some kind of apocalyptic epidemic, since "patient zero" is generally a term used with epidemics to talk about the first known carrier and the blood suggested that this was no swine flu. I love dystopian and apocalyptic novels with a passion. No idea why, but I do. The spine was practically calling my name. Lesson: know the reader. If you're writing sci-fi, you probably read sci-fi. Know how to use subtle clues in the spine design and title to tell sci-fi fans that this is what they're looking for.
2. I picked it up, and was greeted by the quite awesome cover image. A hand ripping away paper with sinister-looking red stuff at the fingertips, with a crowd raising fists and weapons in the corner. This confirmed that I was looking at apocalypse, and the look of the hand suggested zombies. So I turned it over to the back. Confirmation on the zombies, plus secret military organizations, spies, conspiracies...I was hooked. Lesson: Use the cover and the description to assure the reader that what they've come to expect based on the spine is what they'll get. Use keywords in the description that fans of the genre will be looking for. In Patient Zero's description, these included zombies (of course), bioweapon, ultrasecret, military, recruited by the government, and kill the same terrorist twice in one week.
3. The story began first with a reference to the zombies, quickly followed by cloak-and-dagger government shadiness, all in a writing style that made the story interesting. Lesson: make sure that first page will hook the reader and showcase the best of your writing style. At this step, the reader is deciding whether they want to spend time with the book, read it from start to finish, which they won't do if the writing doesn't keep their attention and make them turn the page, desperate to find out what happens next.
So what keeps me from buying a book? That book failing to interest me at any one of the three steps. Of course, step one is bypassed if the book has been recommended to me by a friend or I've heard good things about it elsewhere. If the recommendation is strong enough, I may even bypass all three steps and simply buy the book.
Oh, and I'm currently reading Patient Zero, which, so far, is amazing. I definitely recommend it to fans of zombies, thrillers, and government conspiracy/spy books.
Money! These economic times have depleted the flow here for my book buying. I used to be able to buy a healthy 2 arms full of books every 2 weeks to fill my reading appetite, but now I can't afford to buy them. I occasionally buy a single book to get a first edition of a favorite author. But, generally, I rely upon the library and my friends' used books, and my publishing houses to keep me in books for reviews.
Book covers play a big part in books chosen because they speak to how much the author values their writing, and to the content of the book.
Reviews by publishing houses, other blogs and retail reviews play a big part, as well, for me.
I posted a while ago, above, but wanted to add this today.