Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Blurbs-Do You Trust Them?


I've been thinking about book blurbs. Do you notice them? Do they make you pick up a book or not?

Many years ago, before I was a librarian and blogger, I was browsing in Borders. I came across a  book that was chick lit and was blurbed by an author who had written a couple of books I read and loved. I bought the book based on the blurb. As a browsing reader, the blurb helped sell me on the book.

Now that I'm a librarian, I read many, many review sources. I have a giant blog feed that I read various reviews on. And I love checking out Goodreads to see what a book is currently rated and what others have to say about the book. I also still pay attention to book blurbs, but I don't know that they carry as much weight for me as a reader anymore.

I still like what other authors have to say, but I also notice the dark side of book blurbs. I notice when authors become like Marshall in How I Met Your Mother and their Stamp of Approval and I start to doubt their blurbs. Or there are authors that I know share an agent or publisher and in the back of mind I can't help but wonder if they really love that book as much as they say or if it's just because they have a connection.

I have a hard time trusting glowing book blurbs now. I tend to trust book reviews more than anything else. I still enjoy reading the blurbs and what others have to say, but I don't hold them as highly as I used to. If anything, the blurbs may help my interest in a book (so they're still doing the marketing job they are intended for) but I'm still going to research reviews. Or pick it up based on the jacket copy and because it's a story I'm interested in. But for a casual reader who isn't constantly looking up books on Goodreads, book blurbs can be a great way to discover something new.

So I'm curious-Do book blurbs matter to you?

12 comments:

  1. Book blurbs have definitely helped me in the past (I remember picking up a chick lit book because Meg Cabot liked it) but now I'm much more likely to pick up a book based on a blogger reviews or just plain liking the cover.

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  2. I don't pay much attention to them one way or the other. :) Honestly, I probably don't even read them half the time! It's the cover and description that make me pick up a book...I don't think blurbs have ever persuaded me to buy a book.

    ~Kristin

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  3. the book blurbs that matter to me are the ones from Kirkus and the lot. other blurbs clue me into who they think the fans will be, but I would say that I'm the same as you in the sense that I don't trust the praise.

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  4. As an author, it sure feels nice to have them! ;) As a reader, they don't affect me much.

    I did once pick up a book I'd never heard of because it was blurbed by someone I admired. I loved it. Sometimes blurbs by trusted authors feel like recommendations from a good friend.

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  5. Book blurbs never sold a book to me at all. For me, before I was a librarian in particular and just browsing in stores or the library, it came down to the synopsis on the back, the cover image and paging through the book to see if it sounded good.

    But book blurbs, whether from an author or a review source, mean nothing to me at all, at least in terms if I am going to read the book or not.

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  6. I ignore book blurbs most of the time, but I will generally pick up anything with a Tamora Pierce blurb on it. She sells me. :)

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  7. I'll consider book blurbs when I don't know much about the book because usually authors who write about similar topics will blurb the book. For example, if I see an Ellen Hopkins blurb on a book I'm not familiar with, I might pick it up because I have so many Hopkins fans in my classroom. Otherwise I usually rely on reviews or recommendations from close friends.

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  8. My usual answer is no, but really, it is sometimes. There are certain authors that don't give blurbs often. So when they do, I know it is sincere and worth looking at. I won't buy the book just because of that, but I will look into it more.

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  9. Sometimes they do get me to pick up a book I haven't heard of, especially if the author is someone I really respect. I also check out Goodreads in deciding on the book.

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  10. Unless I know the writer of the blurb personally, I don't really trust them. more than a few times they have turned me off of buying a book.

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  11. I don't pay much attention to book blurbs. Usually, it's a friends-helping-friends kind of thing, which makes blurbs less than trustworthy IMHO. Like others have said, I pay more attention to book reviews in magazines/newspapers and on blogs. I consider those a more reliable source.

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  12. I tend to be skeptical about book blurbs and reviews when an ellipsis is employed. Book blurbs also help me notice a book, but I pay attention to who is doing the blurbing. Like you, I tend to rely more on professional reviews, trusted bloggers, and Goodreads ratings :)

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