As good old-fashioned bookstores become more and more yeti-like these days (i.e. difficult to find, smelly and temperamental when cornered) it can be tough to know where find a good book. You go to Amazon, scroll through the “other people also bought section,” but this yields results that are sketchy at best. Turns out that other people have eclectic tastes that are not good indicators of your personal preferences. Also, Amazon’s algorithm is a little wonky.
Want to find a good book that will expand your horizons and/or introduce you to a new author?
Look No Further!
This service is incredibly simple. Give them your email address. Set your preferences. Then they email you a selection of titles that match your interests as frequently or infrequently as you’d like. What’s nice about Bookbub is that they cut a wide swath across genres and popularity. A self-published Amazon indie author will be right next to a Pulitzer Prize winner. It’s all mixed in and jumbled together like some kind of delicious crazy cowboy chili. The best part is the prices are DRAMATICALLY reduced. Best sellers go for $2.99 while newbies are often free. All titles are only offered on Amazon or iTunes for e-readers.
I’m a big fan of Goodreads. There are lots of reasons for this, chief among them is that you can self-select a community of friends based on shared interest in literature, then share, comment on and discuss those books without the annoying gossiping, chit-chat, and politics of a living room book club. Another nice feature? Book recommendations. Because you are rating books Goodreads recommends new authors to you based on what you’ve liked in the past.
Record scratch. This might feel a little too obvious. Maybe it is. I’ve had a great deal of luck browsing through my local library one section at a time. I wander the stacks until I find a title that hooks my eyeballs and draw me in for a second look. Because I spend a decent amount of time in both home and in the car, I tend to prowl the audio book section first. This way I’ve found plenty of authors in genres I wouldn’t ordinarily frequent, and with a decent reader, the experience of the book is augmented quite a bit.
If you’re in the mood for a robotic sommelier to pre-select a list of books you might like, you can head straight to whichbook. This service let’s you pick from a series of 12+ basic criteria such as, “Do you want a book with an ending that is happy or sad?” all the way down to the physical setting and the age and gender of the protagonist. If this site can’t help you pin down pretty much exactly what you’re looking for, there’s not one that can.
I know I started off harping on the slow gasping extinction of traditional bookstore. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Go to your local awesome bookstore and buy books from them. They will be more than happy to help you find what you are looking for. These places often have events and are excited to help budding local authors. So, go make friends. Help a local business. Help yourself. Do the world some good.
Used books have already been broken in, that way you know they’re good.
Tell me where you get your books in the comments.