...when you're selecting a book. I'm curious what influences you in the selection process. 1 being the most important, 7 being the least important. Rank the following in importance to you. So as to not unduly influence you, I've listed the choices in alphabetical order.

Is it;

Author (known or recommended to you)

Back cover blurb (what the story is about)

Cover art/design

famous author or review endorsement taglines


Publisher name/company

Sample--First couple of pages

David DeLee

A Cold Wind - a Grace deHaviland novella

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Great info. Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

David DeLee
A Cold Wind - a Grace deHaviland novella

1 Sample--First couple of pages

2 Back cover blurb (what the story is about)

3 Genre

4 Author

5 Cover art/design

6 Famous author or review endorsement

7 Publisher name/company

Hi all

Currently I'm chosing books by authors that will be at the crime writing festival in Harrogate at the end of July so I would say the most important thing for me is the genre.

Author (known or recommended to you) 2

Back cover blurb (what the story is about) 3

Cover art/design 5

famous author or review endorsement taglines 6

genre 1

Publisher name/company 7

Sample--First couple of pages 4


Best wishes



Interesting discussion.  (I'm new here.)  This is probably how I would be influenced.

1 - Genre (I tend to search out mysteries of a certain type)

2 - Author - there are some authors whose mysteries I will automatically read/purchase because I've enjoyed their previous work

3 - Back cover blurb (what the story is about) - I check to make sure it sound like my kind of book

4 - Sample--First couple of pages - Although a good start can be misleading, a bad one will definitely affect my decision

5 - Cover art/design - might make me take a closer look/might prejudice me against it if it looks like a romance or horror cover

6 - famous author or review endorsement taglines - might tip the scales if I'm undecided

7 - Publisher name/company - I used to avoid self-published books, but with ebooks there are some quality works out there by independents so that's no longer a major


Ruth Donald

Hunter Rayne highway mystery series (redonald.com)


Welcome to Crime Space, Ruth!

Welcome,Ruth. Glad you found the topic interesting. Thanks for the input.

David DeLee

A Cold Wind - a Grace deHaviland novella

no science to it for me really

usually the author will clinch though I'm running out of books to read by my favourites

the sample pages will often do it, especially now I'm kindled up, though I've been swayed by cover art and cool little blurbs before 

It depends.  If i have an author or topic in mind, then I go by that first.  Then, I would usually need to have not read it before, but there may be exceptions. 

Often:  subject, cover art, blurb on the back cover.  If subject is not the correct the statement then genre probably would be.  ...For example (for fiction)...It was SF, the cover art was great, the price was manageable - often I just use the library,...I'd heard of the author and liked one of his or her other novels - SOLD.

Like that. 

For nonfiction:  Topic of interest - I thought it might help if I would learn more about...covers of nonfiction books are often less exciting but they have a different 'feel' because they are about 'real life'.  Mmm, good information, decent price, decent cover...do I really want to know or need to know?  If so, then...maybe even really yes.  Sale, but different facial expression than one gets with flashy fiction covers....It's like buying vegetables instead of ice cream.

I'm in one of our large local libraries at least twice a week and in one or other of my favorite bookstores at least once. - After reading David's query, I realised that I've unconsciously developed a pattern- -

1 -Genre is always first, in my case mystery, followed by westen, sci-fi and general.

2 -Author is always 2, I know my best liked authors and go for them .

3 -sample

4 -back cover blurb

5 -Taglines by authors

6 -cover art/design.

7 -publisher

In conclusion, I should say that I consciously try to mix my reading, -2-3 mysteries, then a western or sci-fi, then historical, ( I love Cornwell's 'Sharpe' books ) -then back to mysteries. This was suggested to me by a teacher/author in my high school days and it works, giving variety and difference.  Maybe not for everyone, but it works for me .

And my 'tagline' will always be-" life is too short for dull books "

As for me:

Author (known or recommended to you) - Weighs heavily for and against. There are some authors I'll never purchase, others I'll always purchase.

Back cover blurb (what the story is about) - Pretty important. If the blurb interests me I'll read the first couple of pages.

Cover art/design - No

famous author or review endorsement taglines - No

Genre - More helpful in rejecting a book. I'm pretty open, but the simple fact is if your book is located in certain genres or categories, I'm just not likely to find it.

Publisher name/company -  No

Sample--First couple of pages - Yes. For me, this is the make or break stage in book selection. If it grabs me, I'll buy it. I like Robert Crais. I still remember looking at The Watchman in Barnes & Noble. I intended to read the first couple of pages and by the time I made checkout, I was four chapters in.

Yes, but for your example:  I had the same experience with Jeffrey Deaver's first book (though I got it in the library).  By the time I was done with it, I knew I didn't want to read another by him.  It simply had a great hook and nothing else.

That certainly does happen, especially lately. I have more unfinished books at my house these days than I care to admit.

Usually, if I'm uncertain, I'll try to pick it up at the library.


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