I’m not just a writer, but I’m also an avid reader. It’s safe to say most of my money goes to buying books. Recently, I began thinking about why I decide to buy the books I do. What catches my attention first? What puts me over the edge to click the BUY button?
So on my latest book buying binge (I joined Amazon Unlimited so I’m not breaking the bank anymore), I took note about what goes into my own buying decisions. (Note: I only did this experiment on Amazon.com.)
How does this help you? If you’re a writer, take note of these factors. More importantly, take note of the order they go in. I discovered there is a definite progression in what I look at when browsing books and deciding to buy.
1. Cover/Title: Both are equally important and go hand-in-hand. An uninteresting title can turn a reader off to a book just as easily as a cover can. However, I found that if a title does pique my interest, I’ll still click on the book regardless of what the cover looks like. But more often than not, aside from a good title, the book cover also had to grab my attention.
2. Book Description: Immediately after clicking on a book link I read the description. Any description that is too flowery, “mysterious,” or tries to be clever always turns me off. On the other hand, descriptions that are straightforward and get my imagination going usually have the most success. I just want to know what the damned book is about!
3. Reviews: I can’t think of buying any book without at least browsing the reviews. That said, a book doesn’t need a perfect five stars for me to buy. I’ve bought books with three stars. The more reviews a book has, the more weight I give the average number of stars.
Don’t be afraid of getting bad reviews because they won’t necessarily kill your book sales. In fact, if a book has all five star reviews, I start to get a little suspicious about the integrity of those reviews.
4. Price: This is the last thing I notice. Anything over $9.99 is off the table unless I’m really interested in the book and think it’s a “must have.” Ever since buying my Kindle in 2011, my price threshold has decreased. Most books I buy are under $5.
Then again, I since I joined Amazon Unlimited, price has no bearing on my buying decisions since I pay a flat $9.99/month. Hint: make sure your book is available in the Kindles Unlimited program! You still get paid as long as 10% or more of you book is read.
Final Thoughts On Book Buying Decisions
The evidence here is just my experience, so it’s very anecdotal. That said, it is pretty well known that a book cover (for example) can really make a big difference in book sales. Hopefully my own thought process that goes into purchasing a book is similar to most Amazon customers.
Use this as a sort of roadmap when getting your book ready to publish. I’d say if you want people to at least click on your book, make sure your title and cover are the best they can be. Then go from there.