How do you find a new book to read?

The Quiet Game


In the United States in 2014 readers bought about a billion books.

That’s with a B.

The question that intrigues me is how they found those books.

The answer can only be one of two choices, and those answers are not mutually exclusive.

Either the reader went to a brick and mortar store and bought the book, or she bought it online.

Five years ago I thought physical book stores were on their way out, that they would go the way of record stores.

You remember those stores.

Itunes did away with them.

So my thinking in the old days of digital (as I said, five years or so ago) was that eBooks would devastate brick and mortar book stores, leaving us with Kindles and whatever physical books we had acquired in times past.

Not so.

What we have seen is the parallel development of two streams of books. People haven’t forsaken paper books for eBooks.  Instead they have supplemented each with the other. Although I have done no statistical study to verify my opinions, I am fairly certain that most avid readers in today’s world utilize both book formats and switch back and forth as the situation demands.

If a person is going on vacation and wants to travel light, she throws her Nook or Kindle in her bag and takes comfort in the fact that she can read to her heart’s content with the touch of a button.  If the same reader is at home, she may curl up in her favorite reading chair, grab a paper book and flip through the pages, enjoying the feel and smell of the divine thing known as a book.

If she goes to the beach, she may carry a mass market paper back to the shore and drip suntan lotion on it.

So the methods of delivery are obvious, but the question remains: How does the reader choose her next book?

Here is where online trumps brick and mortar in my estimation.

A few days ago I received an email from an author friend recommending Greg Iles’ legal thriller, The Quiet Game. Although I am familiar with Iles’ body of work, I haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of it.

What did I do?

I went on Amazon and searched for the book.

That was a no-brainer because I live in the sticks where it’s a pretty good hike to a major bookstore.  Plus, I don’t know if the store will have a copy of that book in stock even if I make the drive.  But on Amazon the book is waiting for me.

Since I am member of Amazon Prime, I can have a paper copy of the book in my mailbox in two days and the shipping is free.  Or I can start reading right now on my Kindle (for $5.99).

Is that how you find a new book to read, or do you make the drive, browse through the stacks and see what you find?

Inquiring minds want to know.


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