Finding Your Next Book
What You Need to Know
- The internet is making it easier than ever to find a book you’ll love.
- Access to unbiased reviews can give you a clearer idea of what you’re buying.
- Many online book stores now allow you to read extracts before committing to buy.
- There’s no shame in judging a book by its cover. Normally the artwork is intended to accurately signpost the content.
- Searching by genre is a great way of avoiding books that, whilst being great in their own right, may not appeal to you.
Love reading, but hate spending hours in the library or book store, sifting through the latest pulp fiction to try and find something that's actually worth your time?
Well, you could be forgiven for thinking the internet isn't the place to buy books - "I like to see books grouped by genre" or "I like to read some of the story before buying" - but websites like the aptly named Lovereading are breaking down those retail barriers in ways you might not expect.
In fact, it's getting easier than ever not only to buy books online, but to benefit from expert suggestions of new authors and titles you might never pick up from a real-world shelf.
If you're sick of asking for recommendations from clueless part-timers or shop assistants who are just interested in making a sale, the internet is a great alternative.
Many sites - Lovereading included - offer expert reviews and recommendations, based on unbiased and independent opinions, rather than on publishers' press releases.
These can help you to find new books, or even just to decide whether to read more by a particular author if you're less than impressed by the book you've just read, but usually like everything they produce.
If you want to play it safe by staying within your favourite genre, that's fine; plenty of people would describe themselves as a fan of crime fiction, or biographies, or romance.
Like real-world stores, many book retailers' websites have the option of sorting new releases by category, or authors which can quickly eliminate entire genres that you're not interested in.
You might also be able to register for regular newsletters to let you know when a new title is published in your preferred topic areas - making it less likely that you'll miss your favourite author's latest effort.
We've all stood in a bookshop and read a page or two, then put the book back without buying it - it's par for the course.
Of course, there are libraries where you can borrow the book for long enough to read it cover to cover, and this can help you to discover authors you might otherwise not try.
But increasingly, the internet is allowing people to dip their toe into the proverbial pool by reading extracts from newly published novels in genres they might not have enjoyed before.
Look out for extracts - often the opening page or chapter - from your own favourite authors or genres, as these can help to guide your buying decisions.
Judge a Book by Its Cover
If all else fails, there's really no shame in judging a book by its cover - despite the old adage.
The truth is, books in a particular genre - and especially by the same author - often have similar cover art, which can be a useful signpost when you're looking for something similar to the one you've just read.
If nothing else, picking out a few familiar-looking covers can narrow down the search, allowing you to spend a bit more time reading the previews and reviews of each before you come to a decision.
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