Friday, March 4, 2011

How Do You Get Your Books?

Cricket McRae

1219898_old_books____2Between e-readers, the closing of Borders, and the surge of self-published authors there has been a flurry of discussion about where the publishing industry is going. Keith posted recently about the future of independent bookstores, an excellent examination of what’s been going on with e-readers and the instant downloading of ebooks.

I’m not looking to enter into the debate about e-readers or whether reading on paper is better or not. I don’t think print books will vanish altogether, and I love, love, love them. But electronic books and their green delivery (sans fuel oil) are here, and they ain’t going away. It seems it would behoove those in the publishing industry to figure out what comes on the other side of the current ebook trends in order to leap frog ahead instead of playing reluctant catch up. What that new thing may be is beyond my ken right now, though. I feel as if I need a workshop  class advanced degree in what’s already going on with different formats and new marketing before I could venture a guess about what comes next.

But looking at the various books I’m currently reading, I realized their sources are widely mixed. And note that I don’t have a Kindle or Nook or any other e-reader, so that influences where I’ve obtained these books.

  • 871147_paperback_booksI’m making a point lately of catching up with mystery series that I’ve fallen behind on or missed one in the middle. So when I saw our own Jess Lourey’s Knee High by the Fourth of July at the library, I grabbed it and headed for the checkout desk. What a fun read! At the library I also picked up Laurie R. King’s The Language of Bees .

  • And even though I don’t have a Kindle, I do have the Kindle app on my I-Phone. So when one of my critique partners who keeps an eye on YA trends suggested I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I downloaded it for $5.00. So far I’ve read the first two in the series, on my I-Phone of all the crazy unintuitive places, and am nearly done with the third in the trilogy. This is my middle-of-the-night, can’t-sleep, don’t- want-to-wake-up-my-partner-but-want-to-stay-under-flannel-sheets read, and I can easily see downloading another book when I’m done with this one.

  • 236506_earphonesAlso on my I-Phone is Die Trying by Lee Child in audio form. This I dip into when I’m cleaning, walking, or whiling away my time on the elliptical if there aren’t any good cooking shows on television.

  • In honest-to-God hardcopy, I’m reading Heather Lende’s If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name which is a collection of essays by an NPR contributor about living in small-town Alaska. I bought this book at Third Place Books in Seattle after hearing Heather speak. I’ve had it in my TBR pile for a few years but only got to it recently. Since starting it I’ve gone to her website and see she’s written another book. I’m enjoying the first, and will probably pick up the second, too.

  • And then there’s Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, which I’m rereading in part because I’m blogging on occasion about the series’ influence on my weird fascination with colonial home crafts. My parents gave me this book 37 years ago, and it’s gone through three cousins before coming back to me. Still in pretty good shape, too.

  • And finally, I’m regularly referring to three books I bought for background and research for my current writing projects. These I bought via Amazon because of ease, time efficiency and free shipping, despite the fact that I’m pretty unhappy with Amazon after they dumped all their Associates in Colorado over a tax issue. 

How do you read? A mix? How do you find books? Does the targeted marketing Amazon sends to your inbox or Google pushes at you work? Do you go with recommendations from friends, Goodreads, or particular websites?


Dru said...

I get my books from Amazon, B&N, and borrow from the library.

I discover books from Amazon, Goodreads and Facebook.

Beth Groundwater said...

I, too, get my books from a variety of sources--library, online, nearby bookstores (both independent and chain), loans from friends, as gifts--but I have yet to read one on an electronic device. I have checked audio books out of the library to listen to on long car drives, though, and it's a great way to pass the time. Recommendations come from friends, my book club, and Goodreads, primarily, as well as mystery books and authors I find out about by attending mystery conferences such as he upcoming Left Coast Crime. And Cricket, there's no way I could read as many books at once as you do!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

We're three for three here. My book recommendations come from all over, but most often I discover new authors at conferences. I also "read" e-books and audio books on my iPhone, get audio books from the library and pick up paper and hard covers from the library, book stores or through friends. Fortunately, we still have a choice of sources.

Darrell James said...

I'm a big fan of audio books. And the narrator has as much to do with my decision on them as the author. A narrator can make or break an audio book for me. As for reading, I still do it the old fashioned way.

Keith Raffel said...

I'm one of those old fashioned guys who reads book reviews -- especially the NY Times and lately the Wall Street Journal's review section that appears on Saturdays. There's nothing like dropping by Kepler's or M is for Mystery to pick up a book that's caught my eye and saying hi to the friendly booksellers.

Diana said...

Cricket - great post! I'm enjoying everyone's comments.
I love having books available from a variety of sources. I download audiobooks from the library to my ipod and laptop. I listen to my ipod while driving, grocery shopping, and cleaning house.
I buy the greater percentage of my books from local booksellers, at book events, conferences, etc. Amazon only gets my business for research-related needs.
I generally have two books going at once, one audio, one in print. I've never read an e-book (and really don't wish to).
Recommendations come from close friends, the many authors I know, book conferences, friends and family - usually via Facebook.
I never use sources such as Goodreads (although I must admit I often click on Dru Ann's links via Facebook to check out her reviews) and even tho I check out the NYT and LAT book reviews, I can't say I've ever bought a book based on their reviews.
I read bestsellers maybe 10% of the time whereas new and mid-list authors comprise 90%.
Diana James

G.M. Malliet said...

I never thought of using my phone to play audio books. I know, incredible. My mind hadn't made the leap.

Jody said...

How do I read? I read paperbacks, hardbacks, on my Kindle, and I have a couple of pdf books on my computer. I buy & borrow (from friends & the library) I've listened to audio books when I've been driving long distance by myself. I trade on

How do I find books? I have friends who read some of the same kinds of books I do, so get recommendations or loans.

I read DorothyL and lots of blogs. I too have learned about new authors at mystery conferences.

Cricket McRae said...

Thanks for all your detailed comments, everyone! Lots of different sources out there, and it looks like we're dipping into all of them. The important thing is we're getting our book fix!

Alice Loweecey said...

Library, Amazon/B&N, recommendations from friends and other writers.

Helena said...

I don't have an e-reader, so I do most of my reading from regular books. However, I'm a freelance editor, so I suppose you could say I read some books (albeit not final versions of them) in MS Word. :)

As far as Amazon marketing, their "people who bought this also bought..." thing sometimes works for me, but I generally end up just adding the books to my library hold queue rather than buying them. (I use the library a *lot*.)

Sometimes I get recommendations from friends or Goodreads, but my latest round of additions to my "to-read" list came from book reviews in the paper.

I actually just read The Dirty Life, and I found out about it the same place you did, and I also discovered your books through an ad on the Down to Earth blog, so apparently blogs I regularly read are another source for me.

Your mention of Lende's books reminded me of one other source, since that's where I originally learned of her first book. There's a company called Bas Bleu ("champion of the odd little book") that publishes a lovely catalog. Haven't seen one in a while, but my mom gets them regularly, and I always end up finding a ton of books I'd like to read in there that I wouldn't have otherwise come across.

Cricket McRae said...

Alice, I'm glad to hear many people still visit the library!

Helena, were we separated at birth? ;) I'll have to check out Bas Bleu as a source for book suggestions. Funny, we have a small theater company here called that, and they sometimes host author readings, too.