Let’s be honest. We all want to be that kind of reader who can afford all the books they want. Unfortunately, not many of us can. So, when it comes to book shopping, we want to get the ones that are really worth the money. But I believe we have all been in a dilemma. Say, you have your eye on a Barnes & Noble edition of the classics but you are not sure if the design is really worth it, or you have read mixed reviews about a book you planned to get and you’re not so sure about it anymore. How can you determine which book you are gonna buy and which you’re not?
Here are 4 ways to find out more about the books on your wishlist before you hit “purchase”.
1. Read an excerpt.
The easiest way to know more about the book on your radar is to read a few chapters of it. When you’re in a bookstore, that’s easy to do. But on Goodreads and Book Depository, we only get the blurb. What you can do is download the free samples on Kindle. You don’t have to own a Kindle to do this. Download the Kindle app on your phone and you can search for the title you want. It will not charge you unless you decide to read the electronic version and click purchase.
You can also use the web to do it. Go to Amazon and search for the book, if you see a “look inside” text above the book cover, that means you can click on it and have a glimpse at the first few pages in the book. I am not sure if the limit is the same as the sample you can find on Kindle (well, it’s an Amazon thing), but sometimes a few pages are skipped in the “look inside” view, so I recommend using Kindle more than this function.
Others websites in which you can find the first few chapters are the author’s and the publisher’s. Normally, they will put the excerpt up on the product page and sometimes there are extras on the author’s for you to read when you’re done with book. So, I recommend you check them out too.
2. Google the editions.
I know it sounds silly, but this tip is for the ones who are deciding which editions they should get, or who are just buying a book for its design but wonder if it looks as good in real life. What you’re gonna do is go to Google and type in:
The Title of the Book + Author (optional) + Hardback/Paperback + US/UK (optional)
I will take Caraval as an example.
3. Find it on Instagram.
I do this A LOT, because there is a variety of photos taken by the bookstagram community and you can almost see every angle of the book, plus the design of the pages inside. Using the tag function, you can search for any book you like, even the ones that aren’t released but have given out ARCs. Searching isn’t hard, but you gotta know HOW so you can get the results accurately. I’ll use Rebecca as an example.
If you just search #rebecca, there’s gonna be thousands of unrelated post because who am I kidding? Rebecca’s a common name.
The smart way to do this is to search by the author’s name #daphnedumaurier. You can already see one edition of Rebecca in the top posts. Also, for series or books with a long name, try using the acronyms such as #ACOTAR, #ADSOM and #FBAWTFT.
4. Read three negative reviews of the book.
If you know the book you’re trying to get is receiving mixed reviews, try to read three low-stars reviews. Take notice of the similarities in the reader’s opinions. Do they have similar negative thoughts about the writing? The plot? Is the book offensive to certain community? The point in doing so is to filter the reviews with absurd hate and to determine if the book’s flaws are major or minimal. If you still want to buy the book after reading the bad reviews, then do it. It proves you genuinely want to give it a try.
I’m gonna give you a real example of how this affects me. I did not purchase Stealing Snow after reading three negative reviews. I was really disappointed, because almost all readers said the same thing. The portrayal of mental illness is extremely faulty, and there is no plot at all. Despite the fact that the sample chapters are okay, I chose not to buy the book. I know it’s unfair to not give it a chance, but it will be hard for me to get into the book if the portrayal of the issue isn’t accurate, and I don’t want to waste my money on it.
These are my tips for you to find out more about the book you’re not sure if you should purchase. I hope it helps! Let me know if you have any experience related to that or if you have any questions!