I was looking through my book shelf (which technically isn't a bookshelf as I keep my books in my wardrobe) and noted how most of the books I have read was due to other people raving about them and good reviews. Going by other people's words and blindingly buying a book hasn't always worked out though. The Morganville Vampires for example are books I seriously regret buying. Not only did I buy ONE book from that series, for some reason, I was determined to buy SEVEN of them at the same time. Seven. And one in hardback. My dad's poor credit card. It was such a bad book that after a few pages I tossed it to the side in anger and tried to sell it on eBay asap. Unfortunately, I couldn't sell them and they are at the back of my wardrobe, gathering dust.
However, it's not all doom and gloom when it comes to getting recommended books. Thanks to some reviews, I brought books like the full set of The Inheritance Cycle, The Vampire Academy series and Divergent.
So basically, there are cons and pros to trusting others in spending ten pounds or so on a book but sometimes it can be worth it. Hopefully the tips that I shall provide on this post will help you guys not make the silly little mistakes I did with buying books.
1. Always read reviews.
This one is a pro and a con. If you just go by a blog's review on a book which, lets say, likes sci-fi and the book itself is a sci-fi then do NOT take their review seriously. I know that sounds weird as if anyone would know about the book it would be someone who adores the genre but, the thing is, their opinion of the book would be biased. I am not going to lie, I also can be quite biased towards sci-fi and fantasy books and can be really negative about non fiction books. I have read autobiographies myself and due to my mind thirsting for adventure and action, I don't even give the book a chance whilst when I brought The Vampire Diaries I was determined to read the whole book and exaggerated on how good it was just because it had witches and vampires and werewolves in it. Again, this tip is a meh one but when reading reviews, try to read a range of reviews, not just go by one singular bloggers review. Also, read profession reviews. Sites like The Guardian and New York Times have journalist and writers who read books and write their own review. Unlike a blogger, they get sent random books to review and they have to stay professional and non-biased.
2. Look out for the bad reviews rather than the good
Every book is going to have good reviews - its the bad ones you have to look out for. After the catastrophe that was The Morganville Vampires, I went online and looked at the negative reviews, and there was a heck of a lot of them. I WISH I could go back in time and save myself the disappointment but alas, a time machine has unfortunately not been invented yet. Sites like Goodreads and BookLikes (two of my most favourite sites) enables you to write a review and rant to your hearts content. These two sites have honest readers who don't mind writing what is on their mind, even if it is in a negative way.
3. Look at alternative shops/sites
Lets face it, books are expensive. For a 300 paged book it can cost someone up to 9 pounds which is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion and especially if you bulk buy, 6 books could cost up to 50 pounds! I, however, have found sites and shops which sell perfectly brand new books for a heck of a lot cheaper. For UK readers, The Works is a God send. Most popular books are sold there and even whole book sets are sold there for half of what you may have spent in a shop like Waterstones or WHSmiths. There is also supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco's that sell books for half the price. You also cannot forget the classic sites Ebay and Amazon who have provided people with pretty much everything discounted since I can remember. I, however, try and stay clear from those sites just because I am quite paranoid and think that there may be something fishy going on when a book which is nine pounds is two pounds on that sitebut it is a quite reliable site and saves you a heck of a lot of money. Lets take a popular book like Mortal Instruments for example and compare the prices:
The Works: £2.99
See what I mean? It may just be one or two pounds difference but when bulk buying, it comes in handy.
4. See a kink or a tear in your book before you have brought it? Ask for a discount
My dad, being the true Asian man that he is, uses this trick quite a lot *hangs head in embarrassment* I brought the Inheritance book in the Inheritance Cycle for £18.99 (which is quite ridiculous I must admit but hey, its a hardback!) and my dad saw the tiniest tear and demanded a discount. We were able to get 20% (I think, it's atleast 10% off in Waterstones) and we got £3.20 off which is quite good.The only downside is that if we did get the discount off that we could not bring the book back and get a refund so make sure that the book you want to get a discount for is a book you really want.
5. Keep the receipt
I WISH I did keep my receipt for certain books as I would have saved myself the hassle of finding space to put them and some money too! If there is a book that you did not particularly like and have kept the receipt, most stores/shops will give you a refund so you can buy another book or spend it on something else!
6. Write a review
It always bugs me when I see readers complain about not knowing how crap a book was or how good a book was before they brought it because nobody wrote a review. Well then, write a review yourself! You could stop someone from buying a horrid book or even persuade someone to buy it. Don't be a hypocrite guys. If you do not like the book write it down and tell others, if the book was good, write a complimentary review. Sites like Goodreads and BookLikes are good for that or even respond to someone's blog post and give your own opinion of that particular book.
7. Wait till the holidays or a sale is on
This made me cringe writing it down but hey, I'm writing it for your own good. As I said before, books are ridiculously overpriced sometimes and I unfortunately have to stop myself from grabbing a particular book and hurling myself towards the cashier. This rule would go hand in hand for clothes too. Most shops have seasonal sales where books are, thankfully, discounted or its within the whole "3 for 2" deal. By doing this, you can save yourself a lot of money.
8. Always read the blurb. Always.
This one is an obvious one (obviously) but the amount of times I have seen someone walk into a shop and just grab a book and then walk over to the cashier is absurd. You have all the time in the world. Do not buy a book if you're not 100% sure you want it. If someone who works there stares at you, egging you to buy it, just ignore them. Take your time guys and even read a few pages of the book to be 100% you want it.
9. Borrow books
My cousins are massive bookworms too which is a plus for me as I am able to borrow books from them without having to pay for them. There are books out there that I would want to read but just not buy, if that makes sense. The book Noughts and Crosses was on my wishlist but for a while, I just couldn't go and buy the book because it was, in my opinion, one of those books which were sighted as a "meh" book. Thankfully, my cousins owned the book and I was able to steal the book from them for a few days and read it. They also have borrowed books from me as they have borrowed my Jacqueline Wilson books and the Twilight books. Haven't got a family member that reads? What about friends? Only give your books to the friends you trust and also have books. A fellow bookworm would know how it feels when one of your books have a kink in them, it is one of the most heart wrenching feelings in the world.
10. Do not buy the whole set.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I have made when it comes to buying books. I get so excited about a book and buy the whole flipping series and then end up hating it. Buy the first book in the series and thn if you like it, buy the rest.
So there you have it, my top tips for buying a book. Hopefully this helps to stop you from making mistakes like myself. Have YOU ever made silly little mistakes like I have? What is your tip for buying books? What is a book you regret buying?