In Granville, Ohio, where I grew up, there was a store called the Granville Times Press. See that tiny portion of green stripped awning in the lower right of this photo? That’s the place! Wish I could have found a better image for you.
To me, that store was was pure magic—my Church of Creativity. It had office supplies, back-to-school supplies, art supplies and books.
A whole basement of books! A maze of books! More books than room in which to maneuver! And it had that cool book smell, too.
Some of my greatest pleasures were the times my Mom went grocery shopping and dropped me off at the Times so I could go browsing in the basement for my next book. There, I could be seduced by a cover, drawn in by the back cover copy, and pulled into a new world by the opening chapters.
I could put that book down and move onto another more alluring one.
And it was just me and the book, you know?
There were no stars to tell me how good that book was. There were no fifty million reviews that said it was a best seller.
It was just me and the book, deciding together if it was the one I was going to take home with me.
As a consumer, I’m just a wee bit tired of the way things are being marketed these days. It’s harshing my mellows. It’s all those algorithms and such. (Note: I’m an Amazon Woman, so I can’t say how other online bookstores do their book promotions)
Tags and flags and stars and dodads and whatnots.
I finished a book the other day…a Kindle read. And up pops a “rate this book” dealy-bob. I really don’t want to rate the book. I want to bask a little in Book Afterglow. Besides, I bought it. I finished it. Doesn’t that say enough?
I finished another book and on the next page, instead of an “about the author,” there’s a little thank you letter from the author asking me to write a review so that the book will get noticed and others can enjoy it. Don’t you think that’s sad that an author felt compelled to ask that? I’m not blaming the author, though.
It’s those bloody algorithms and ratings.
Reviews are my opinions. How can anyone make a judgment call to buy or not to buy on a reader’s opinion?
And yet…I am guilty of doing just that! I read a review and it puts me off the book. Or I read a review and buy the book and hate the book. And, since I’m being so honest, here. I’ve written reviews, too. But I only write reviews on books I like. It’s hard being an author and seeing a bad review on something that’s such a labor of love.
And…reviews can be handy. Especially for clothing. And I like reading movie reviews if I like the critic, even if those are opinions, too. And I’ll probably not stop reading book reviews, either.
But not as a shortcut. See? That’s what was happening to me. I was using other people’s opinions and algorithms as shortcuts to my book buying. I’m feeling a little sheepish right now admitting that to you.
However…I can change!
It’s back to browsing for me…even if it’s electronic browsing.
It’s still all there.
You can even Look Inside and download samples. You can still get seduced by a cover, you can still be drawn into the back cover copy. You can even be pulled into a new world by the first chapter.
Just you and your ebook, deciding together.
Oh….DON’T FORGET!!!!! Tomorrow night and into the wee hours of Tuesday morning…a full lunar eclipse!!!!! I’m planning on browsing that activity as well, unless the fog rolls in.
One thought on “The Fine Art of Book Browsing”
Okay, I get it, and I’m aware of countless other authors whose mellows are also being harshed by that very thing. I’m with you! Death to the feaking algorhythms! Or, to quote my friend Cammy… I speet on zem!
< Written on my iPad, which has a mind of its own, and a VERY strange sense of humor!