I was reading this article about online book discovery, which theorizes that “readers are likely to go online to buy a book after having learned about it elsewhere.” I think there’s even more of a disconnect—buyers read about a book in a review or see it on the Today Show or hear about it from a friend, and they don’t always immediately do anything with that information. It can take time between an initial recommendation and the actual purchase of a book—and the library can feature in this intervening period.
When I go about buying books, it’s the last step of a long process:
1. Discover book via recommendation (online, print, radio, word of mouth, or all of the above).
2. Read book from library.
3. Devour all of author’s backlist via library.
4. Purchase author’s next book in hardback at release via my local independent bookseller (having used their online ordering system—I am not a fan of Amazon).
5. Slowly acquire the author’s print backlist—the author goes on my mental shopping list for whenever I am in a bookstore, new or used.
I am now committed to this author, and will purchase, at list price, any new books that they release. Recent examples in my reading life are Gail Carriger and Lois McMaster Bujold.
I’m wondering how this compares to other people’s book-buying habits?
ETA: I have had many, many patrons tell me that they use the library as a “try before you buy” method of previewing books.