Last week, the New York Times had an interesting debate about blurbs (i.e. those words of praise from other authors that appear on the back of a book), asking: “If so many books are being commended, are they all commendable? [Are] blurbs on book covers still meaningful or have [they] become just background noise?”
I know from my days of working in book publishing that blurbs almost always come from the author’s friends (or friends of friends), or friends of the author’s editor or agent — which is why I rarely buy books based on blurbs. Instead, the main factors that influence my book reading are:
1) Recommendation from a friend.
2) Recommendation from a bookseller (in publishing lingo this is called hand-selling).
3) Book reviews (though sometimes reading a lengthy review is as good as reading the book).
4) Bestseller list (reading it weekly is a habit leftover from my publishing days; very rarely, I discover new authors there).
5) Cover (I admit it).
How about you, mes amis? Aside from word of mouth, how do you select the books you buy? Do you find new titles from blogs, the radio, TV, the bestseller list, or prime bookstore placement? Do you trust blurbs? I’m so curious!
(Photo via MorBCN on Flickr.)