Asked

What makes you want to buy a book?

Hi all,

I'm a semi self-publishing author of books on different topics. I wrote about fitness (in a satirical way), about travel hacking (on how to find cheap airfare) and about (how not to kill your) houseplants. 

My current project is more of a philosophical work, exploring the concept of autonomy.

For every book I made a book promotion website, in order to convince/seduce/help people to buy the books. The pages (as well as the books) are all in 🇳🇱 Dutch and all kind of different:


I never really put much attention to what a 'good' book promotion page actually looked like and just checked out some pages I liked. Now I really want to figure out if there's a 'recipe' for a good book website, or if I should just create a page on my blog (which is regularly visited) to showcase the books and link to online bookstores / Shopify buy buttons.

My questions are: 
- what do you need to see / read before deciding to buy a book?
- which book pages do you really like?
- do you need to read a free chapter? take a look inside? need to know about the author?

I know how to make web pages, I'm just not really sure what kind of information is the most important.

It all comes down to the basic question: What makes you want to buy a book?


I'm usually prompted to buy a book in 3 different ways:
- I've got a very specific skill I'm working on and need the knowledge so I'll go looking for it
- I've received a recommendation while listening to something or while reading another book
- I'm walking through a book store looking for inspiration

When deciding:
- I don't read free chapters, but I might scan the table of contents
- Generally, I judge a book by its cover haha

Thank you for your reply @tomcnle ! I will make sure to create a nice cover :-D

It all comes down to the basic question: What makes you want to buy a book?

If I want to learn about the subject, I will buy the book or, if I know the author, support them. I listen to friends and acquaintances recommendations too, but I will never buy a book about a subject that I am not interested in learning about.

Assuming the book isn't self-published, I lean more towards audiobooks these days because it's so much easier for me to put my Air Pods in and listen after I have dropped my kids off or while I'm doing errands or walking.

Thank you for your reply @jefftriplett ! Interesting to read you're into audiobooks. I've been postponing taping my books because I'm unsure about the possible reach. Will look into this.

what do you need to see / read before deciding to buy a book?

  • Is the book written in a language I can read?
  • Who are the authors? Have they done something that I dream of doing?
  • Did someone recommend it to me? (much easier to buy - either by a friend or an author from another book or an authority on the subject)
  • Is it available on Kindle and Amazon?
  • Is it something that is going to help me with my current goals (like this month) or is it something for the future (I'll bookmark)

Thank you for your reply @gvrizzo ! So for you it boils down to: is the subject something that can help you improve yourself, right? You need a clear focus on the direct benefits for you. Are there specific books you've read recently that come into mind?

Yes. I'm currently reading "Positioning" (Al Ries and Jack Trout) which talks about positioning and good / bad names. It's going to help me because I'm in the midst of rebranding #csspro

I use goodreads to search / log all my books. Not much experience with promotional pages but things I look for (non fiction):

  • Who's the author?
  • What's it about? Does it cover what I'm looking for? No need for free sample but maybe table of contents or list of topic it covers.
  • Might do some research -> is this a classic book on the topic?
  • Ratings, but I don't care too much about them

Then I'd put it on a to-read list and come back to it later.

Hope it helps!

The most recent book I read because it was the “book of the month” at a digital art (NFT) community I’m part of. The topic was not only relevant to me, but because it was part of the book club it also was a way to connect with other community members and have a shared foundational understanding of a complex topic.

So for your book it might be worth thinking in terms of communities, tribes, and if there are any people/organizations/etc that could benefit from having their peers read your book.

As for the book’s website I would use a combination of looking at what other successful authors are doing (especially those with a analytical background as they are more likely to have tested different approaches), trying out different approaches yourself, and finally just doing what feels uniquely yours. You might come up with something new that works very well.

I have to admit that for me it is only about recommendation. The more often I see a book that is recommended, the more likely it is I will read it. And if a book caught my interest. I just buy it. Either on Audible, Amazon (physical), or Kindle. I neither download sample chapters nor look at reviews.

However, I only find books in communities that I'm in. So I don't just take any book that I get recommended. The book has to be about the niche that I'm interested in.

Are there no cases where you might yourself be interested in a topic and browse for books? Or read something and want to learn more about the topic or from the author? Only recommended by others?

Had to think about it, but no. I think the reason is that I'm not a reader just yet. I'm trying to build this habit. So if I buy a book, then it had to cross my way a couple of times before. For all the info that I'm interested in, I usually use Google and YouTube to get insights into the topic.

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