What About a New Book Influences Readers the Most?

Book publishers and authors spend a lot of money and time coming up with attractive book covers, getting author blurbs and seeking reviews. We asked our readers what it is about a new book that influences them the most. The questions was "When you purchase a new book by an author you're not familiar with, what influences you most? (Cover art, jacket copy, book reviews, cover blurbs, genre, etc.)." Here is what our readers had to say.

Book reviews and jacket covers--if it looks/sounds interesting-it must be a good read!

Karen Abadie
Idleyld Park, OR
Jacket Copy and genre...especially if an author I adore mentions a new author

Carolie Bartol
Lynn, NC
I am first draw by the title and cover if I had not previously heard of the book. Then I like to read the jacket cover and a few lines of the opening chapter.

Barbara Beecher
Novi MI
Well, first the genre, then the blurbs on the cover.

Valerie Bongards
Presentation has an effect, no doubt, but genre is the main thing that gets my attention. I think nice jackets impress the author of the book, but don't have any real baring on choice to a true book enthusiast.

Linda Brainard
Kingsland, TX
For a non-fiction book I would be influenced by the credentials of the author to address the topic and the topic itself, the table of contents, perhaps leafing through the book.

Roberta Brosius
Montandon, PA
The book reviews then the cover blurbs. The cover art always helps until I get "hooked" on a certain author. Then it doesn't matter.

Tamara Brummund
Watertown, SD
The book jacket always catches my eye first. Then I will read the cover blurb and perhaps a couple of pages to see if I like the style.

Jenny Caffery
Cicinnati, OH
Eye-catching covers are very influential, if I like the cover, I'll look at the cover blurb. If the cover blurb sounds enticing, I'll skim the first few pages. If it passes all of those things, the book is mine!

Jerrille Ann Canson
Dumont, NJ

Look at the cover, read the insight of the book a bit... (some bookreviews)... the genre...

Kenneth Carlsson
buzz from listgroups, personal preferences, author's previous work, interest in subject

Helen Chappell
Easton, MD
The cover art isn't that important to me, but I Do read the blurb on the back, or inside the cover.

Kathleen Clark
Beloit, WI
Cover art and the review. Also, the first page. If I get hooked, there I'll buy it.

Cheryl Clements
Dunbar PA
The cover blurbs, book reviews, photos.

Suzanne Cohen
Marina Del Rey, CA
Genre, book reviews, jacket copy

Stephen Cook
Chicago, IL
I usually am influenced to try reading a new author by genre and favorable reviews.

Patricia Courtis
Ontario, Canada
I'm a voracious reader, and between NY review of books, Boston Globe book reviews, and various magazine book reviews, there's not a lot of authors I'm not familiar with. But when I come across someone I've never seen before, I would say the jacket description would most influence my opionion. I pay very little attention to cover blurbs, which are often taken out of context anyway.

George Downing
Marlborough, NH
First of all genre - I read what I write. I then open the book to see if the first few lines will capture my attention. If they do, I'll read the jacket to find out more about the author and the book. Still interested? Sold.

Catherine Duffield
Sunnyvale, CA
Book reviews are the main influence, but cover blurbs and word-of-mouth follow very, very closely.

Jerry Embry
Hopkinsville, KY
Book reviews - I like to have a little idea what i'm getting, and find out about characters, setting, and the author.

Susan Erickson
Hazelton, ND
Cover art and the comments on the jacket are the two most important aspects to me.

Lucia Evans
Providence, KY
Mostly the reviews. Professional reviews while not always right about a book usually are.Also while in Bookstores if a book is displayed to catch my attention with the cover art it may lead me to read the cover blurbs and buy the book.

Barbara Fink
Worcester NY
Recommendations by other readers.

Nancy Furstinger
Margaretville, NY
Generally a book review if I have read one, otherwise the cover blurb. The genre is always important, but then I don't look too much at types that I don't particularly care for.

Walter Garber
Casselberry, FL
Usually what is written on the jacket or book back.

Bonnie George
Cochranton, PA
I'm always influenced by recommendations from others who know my tastes, eg. friends, bookseller

Jan Glasby
My book selection is usually based on a combination of cover and blurb. I usually look for some thing in the book that is a little different and experimental.

Tony Greaney
Tauranga, New Zealand
Mostly favourable book reviews, but I have to confess to being drawn towards those interesting covers, especially the ones which seem to provide a stark contrast to what the title indicates.

Wayne Luke Greening
NF, Canada
1. Genre 2. Cover Art 3. Jacket copy

Harvey Grund
Dallas, TX
The cover art and title first grab my attention, and the blurb helps me decide if I want to buy it or not.

Gloria Hamilton
Detroit, MI
First would be the genre that I'm most interested in reading. Second would be reviews from at least two sources. Forget the cover art, jacket copy and cover blurbs. When I buy, I want the best I can obtain!

Don Hier
Mendham, NJ
A review...genre...occasionally blurbs.

Nancy Hill
Tucson, AZ
Cover blurb and if the subject is something I am interested in.

Lois Hirt
Beverly Hills, CA
Quick read of a few sample pages selected at random beginning, middle, end.

Bill Huffman
Atlanta, GA
I depend a lot on book reviews

Nancy Jachcik
Fraser, MI
Book reviews and genre influence my purchase most. Sometimes a review I see in the New Yorker will pique my interest enough to go get a copy of the book discussed, but often that way, I'm disappointed because too often the review is written better than the book!

Julie Jarrett
Henderson, Nevada
I admit to being influenced by all of the items on your list, but there are two factors that are most important. When I read a few lines, do I want to read the whole story? and Do I want to pay this kind of price?

Paulla Johanson
I Always read the Jacket for content and sometimes the first few pages for capture....

Suzanne Kaye
St. Petersburg, FL
1st, Genre; 2nd, Jacket copy; 3rd, I review the copy-- not just the 'hook' but at several places throughout the work.

Richard Kivi
Battle Ground, WA
Jacket copy, blurbs. I read these to try to get an idea whether it's the kind of novel I can enjoy.

Sandra Koogler
Orlando, FL
just look at the cover, read some pages and see if I like the story. If so, I'll buy it. Sometimes, I also consider book reviews, when there's any.

Gabriela Kopinitz
Jacket copy & cover blurbs and well as bok reviews. Genre, of course, in an influence - as some genres I'm just not interested in spending time in.

Sandra Larsen
Universal City, TX
The book reviews and word of mouth from fellow professionals or friends are what attracts me to a specific book in my area of interest. After reading the jacket, I then decide if the book is worth the purchase. I must admit that the cover art does have some influence on me purchasing that book. To clarify, basically everything has some sort of effect on me purchasing the book.

Tricia Lawrence
Dover, Delaware
In my case, I will start with genre, any book reviews that I read and noted in my 'handy-dandy' pocket notebook, and then on to jacket copy. Cover art will sometimes force its way into my consciousness too...forcing me to look more closely. But none will get me to return if the book turns out to be a stinker!!

John Lovett
New Oxford, PA
I am most influenced by genre and reviews, although I occasionally read the cover blurbs too.

Robin MacKinnon
Trenton, NJ
The cover gets my attention first then if the write up on the back is interesting, I consider it.

Karen Magill
BC, Canada
1. Recommended by friend/associate 2. Book review 3. Jacket/cover (more the text than the artwork)

Neal Makely
Manassas, VA
I buy by genre, unless I've heard good things about a book outside of the mystery field. I generally only buy what has been recommended to me on various email lists that I subscribe to.

Karen Mayers
San Mateo, CA
Cover blurbs and jacket copy that gives an overview of what the book is about.

Rosemarie Maziar
Glendora, CA
Both the genre and reviews help a lot. I also try to read at least the first few paragraphs to see whether I am attracted by the author's style.

Mollie Milesi
Jerusalem, Isreal
The book cover and what I've heard from other people.

Kate Mutch
Westcliffe, CO
cover art, jacket copy, advice from sister or mother

Annie Myler
ON, Canada
I look at the cover art first. Then, I see if there is a summary of the book on the back or inside cover. I then look for the reviews. I check how credible the reviewers are. Last, if it is a technical book, I look at the table of contents.

Sheila Northcutt
Corona, CA
Jacket copy. If the copy grabs me right off I'm hooked.

Tracy Pilkington
Raleigh, NC
Most of the books I purchase are reference books on writing. If I am unfamiliar with the author I will look for book reviews in some of the writers magazines I subscribe to. If I'm in the bookstore, I'll scan the book itself.

Rick Pinter
Alberta, Canada
I usually read the jacket copy and then take a look at the first page. If I'm drawn in, that's it!

Larry Pontius
Longwood, FL
The cover art is what catches the eye first and foremost. Then the inside exerp is what brings the reader to purchase the book.

Rebecca Ramer
Quitman, GA
The title usually has an effect on me, but I choose mostly by genre (I like Mysteries and Science Fiction.)

Carol Rich
Omaha, Nebraska
I admit that the cover art attracts me sometimes. But I read the book reviews to see if the book is worth buying.

Ana Luisa Fanfan Santiago
Puerto Rico
I open the book to read the first page, then I skip to page 50 and see if the style is consistent. If it grabs me on page 50 (even though i have no idea what is going on), then I buy it.

Wynelda-Ann Shelton
Manteca, CA
Reviews, blurbs, genre, and reading the first few pages.

Vivian Shnaidman
Princeton, NJ
After genre (where i go to scan the 'menu'), I usually rely on a combo of jacket synopsis, jacket blurbs/reviews, and skimming first page. Plus, w/reading in particular genres as well as publishing news, many of authors' names are at least semi-familiar, as in, not unHEARD of...though w/mid-life brain drain just WHAT i've heard can be as much a mystery as my favorite genre--Mysteries.

Marilee Smith
Denver, CO
The blurb and genre are what most draw me. Of course I will usually choose a familiar name over one that is unfamiliar. I also tend to turn away from first person stories.

Erica Sonnier
Santa Fe, NM
Cover Art and the jacket summary influences me most because good taste in art can usaully define good taste in writing subjects.

Christina Spann
Huntington Station, NY
I think book reviews are the most influential for me, as well as the cover information and the endorsements.

Stan Stelter
Bismarck, ND
Author's past work; reviews for new ones

Anne C. Tomlin
Auburn, NY
I will check the cover blurbs to see if the book will interest me. If I can find a book review, I will also use that.

Thomas Walcher
Fairview Park, OH
If not familiar with an author, I go by cover blurb, and subject/topic. Of course a good rave/review is also helpful. Another influence is my friends.

Paula Webb
Vernon, TX
Poetic and compelling titles invariably attract me. For the same reason I bought songs like Dylan's "Empire Burlesque" or Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic", I will also buy a book like "Even the Stars Look Lonesome" or "Nobody to Accompany Me." I reckon if an author can capture the essence of several hundred pages in one intriguing word or phrase, perhaps her or his work is worth buying.

Nadine Witkin
Trenton, NJ
I generally go to genre first, which usually goes in order: mystery, detective, horror, fantasy, SF. I then decide if I want to read it based on the synopsis in the jacket copy, any blurbs by other writers I'm familiar with and the subject matter. Sometimes I have read a review or had a writer or a book recommended by a friend and I am looking for the book specifically. If I think I'll like it, I may buy more than one book by the author.

Ed Woodward
Booneville, MS