June 23, 2012

How I choose what to read

Last time, I talked about how I read both print books and e-books. The process by which I choose what books to read differs depending on the format.

The print books that I read are all traditionally published. A majority of them come from recommendations by friends or via GoodReads. I joined GoodReads about a year ago, and as I add more books to my list, I've been getting more and better recommendations. Of my favorite books read this year, about half came from GoodReads recommendations. I also visit my local public library every weekend. A few months ago, I decided that I would pick random books from authors I've never read and give them a shot. I've been trying to do this once a month. Most of the time, these random books have been so-so, but occasionally, I'll stumble across a gem. The remaining print books that I read are ones that look interesting when I browse the library or bookstores.

On the e-book side, my selections are based on electronic sources: blogs, forums, Twitter, free e-books on Amazon, etc. I tend to favor indie authors when I read e-books. One reason is that there are a lot of indie authors on the websites that I go to. The other is that I will only buy an e-book if its price is significantly less than the print version, and that tends to happen with indie books much more so than with traditionally published ones. As part of trolling blogs and forums, I'll also hear about books that are available for free on Amazon. I probably wind up downloading one free e-book a week, but they tend to go to the bottom of my to-be-read list and will bubble up only when I run out of paid books and previously downloaded free books on my Kindle.

I'd be curious to know how other people pick the books they read.

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