Do you read reviews before you buy a book?

I recently had a conversation with someone about how we always read reviews before we buy a book. I wasn’t always like this but, over the years, I found that looking into books further increased my chances of picking up something I would enjoy.

Many years ago, before I found YouTube and book blogs, I would pick up a book based on the synopsis only. Or, if I was in a book store, I would look at books that were recommended by the staff or I would find books that there was a large stack of the title, assuming that because there were so many, they must be popular! To be honest, this wasn’t a success. I kept finding books that seemed interesting but then I would hate them. So I basically stopped reading because I wasn’t enjoying what I was picking up.

After years of not reading, I found myself getting angry. I wanted to read so badly but I didn’t know where to start. So I sat down and looked at the Chapters Indigo site, determined that I would find something amazing to rekindle my passion. I found one that sounded good but I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I was SO fearful that I would be let down by a book yet again. So I played internet detective and searched for the thoughts of other book lovers to see if it would sway my decision. Boy did it ever! I ended up being spun into the world of blogs, BookTube, Goodreads and more. I found that, not only was I interested in this book, but there was a ton of other information that directed me to other books as well! I went from not knowing what to read to having a wish list 200 books long!

Ever since that day, I WILL NOT buy a book unless I’ve read reviews. And I don’t stop at one. Just one persons opinion is helpful but it’s not a rounded out opinion. I read the rants, the raves, the good, and the ugly. I want to know the emotions the book invoked and what could be it’s downfall. I haven’t spoiled myself yet by doing this – I’m very careful to make sure it’s not a spoilery discussion!!

Another weird thing I do – once a book has been deemed good enough to make it onto my TBR pile or wish list, I don’t read anything about it again!!! I won’t read the synopsis or anything about it! I have a very short memory when it comes to synopsis’s (is synopsis’s even a word? It just sounds weird!) so when I finally decide to read something I’ve forgotten what it’s about. That way, every little thing, even if it’s laid out in the synopsis, is a surprise. I normally hate being surprised but that’s the only way to enjoy a book! LOL!

This is a very short post but something that was on my mind lately. I know that it’s Thanksgiving in America so HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you! I live in Canada so ours was in October. Anyway, I didn’t want to do a heavy post today as most of the American audience will be feasting on turkey and preparing for the chaos of black friday…… which is a chaos I don’t ever hope to “enjoy” first hand lol.

So do you look for anything before buying a book? Reading reviews, word of mouth, or just stick to your instincts from reading the synopsis. I’m very curious!

Until next time, happy reading!

84 Comments Add yours

  1. foguth says:

    Unless the book has been highly recommended by a trusted friend, I read the reviews first.

    I suspect having reviews (and those that are verified notated) is why Amazon changed from being an on-line book seller to THE global book seller – people don’t have access to reviews with the books in most brick and mortar establishments. This is also why I have old titles listed on Kindle Unlimited and make sure each current title is set up with KDP, instead of just with the main press.

    The off side of KDP for a publisher is that the older titles are not available on Overdrive, thus they aren’t in many libraries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great point. I think a lot of the reason why book purchases have switched to mainly online is because people can read reviews. I try to buy both online and in store but I always read online reviews before making a store purchase. The overdrive thing makes me crazy! I look for certain things and it’s not there. I use overdrive A LOT lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. foguth says:

        I rarely think to use Overdrive, unless it’s the rare occasion when I’m dealing with a library. I love the concept of libraries, as well as the promotion of literacy, so have all current ebooks set up through them free for libraries.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I wish I could get into Ebooks (which the word ebooks keeps wanting to change to the word Ebola which would change my response dramatically!) but I only have my phone to read them on. Way to small and annoying for me to read a whole book on!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. foguth says:

            I don’t blame you for not wanting to read a book on a tiny screen like that. I have an app on my laptop, so read ebooks on that.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. The Spine Cracker says:

    For me to depends on who is giving the review and whether I can trust their judgement or not. I have read plenty of books with brilliant reviews that I ended up hating. Most of the time though I just buy a book because I like the sound of the synopsis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always check my trusted sources first! I think it’s very important that you have close to the same reading taste. I watch a YouTuber who loves the books I hate and hates the books I love. Her channel is great but I wouldn’t be able to go off her reviews 😂

      Like

      1. The Spine Cracker says:

        I follow a lot of Youtubers like that. There are very few who actually have the same reading taste as me, but I love when people talk about books so I watch their channels anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Do you watch ChapterStackss? She reviews a lot of horror as well.

          Like

          1. The Spine Cracker says:

            No, I havent heard of her. I will have to look her up.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Angela JC says:

    Over the years I’ve DEFINITELY come to depend on Goodreads and book blogs for feedback on books. I always look at the synopsis first (…and yes I shamefully admit the cover art plays a not too small factor for me a lot of the time…) and if it’s something that sounds interesting then I do my research haha I definitely read plenty of spoiler-free reviews whether one star or five stars because I agree with you that it’s important to get a well-rounded idea of the book. Assuming it has an overall good rating/reviews (and that what the negative reviews complained about aren’t things I really mind) then straight to the top of my TBR list it goes! My TBR generally fills with plenty of books I think I’ll like and then I do my research to have a list for whenever I stop in a bookstore! (:

    And Happy Thanksgiving!! (Although I guess I’m late saying that since you’re in Canada! Sorry!). This might be the first year I actually get up early and brave the Black Friday madness and all because I’m tempted by a stock of signed books that will be set out! But I’ve got my sharp elbows ready! Haha (I’m hoping most people will flock to the electronics and not the books!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok you don’t need to feel bad about cover art playing a role in your decision – I TOTALLY do the same!! 😂
      Ok…… signed books is probably the ONLY thing I would brave Black Friday for! It’s never been a thing here in Canada but now almost every store here participates. I’m short and used to play roller derby so I’m very good at getting through tight spaces! Best of luck with your shopping tomorrow and happy thanksgiving to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dreamy Reads says:

    Yup I was definitely like you until I discovered BookTube and then book blogs. I just used to read books based on synopsis but now I try to read each and every review about it. Though I try to not to get my personal opinions influenced by them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not being influenced is the hard part. Sometimes reviews can point out flaws that you never would have noticed if it wasn’t pointed out to you. I also have gotten very excited about some books and it was more of a let down if I didn’t read so many rave reviews. Reading reviews before a purchase does have its downfalls but I’ve found more great ones since starting this 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dreamy Reads says:

        You’re totally right. reading reviews before buying a book has both pros and cons. Though I mostly read reviews after I have read the book.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. In my case it will depend on the book or whether I won’t mind if something is spoiled or not… because spoilers are a problem… when I do go searching for reviews I try to read good and bad ones in order to give myself a broader picture of whether I will like the book or not…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard not to run into spoilers! Some people throw them around without warning and you’re like “WHY?!?!” 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly, and it really sucks when you were anticipating to know what was going to happen… it sucks the joy out of it

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Lisa @abookcalls says:

    I read reviews as well, but I also just buy books without reading any reviews at all. As I am trying to buy less books I usually take a photo or a screenshot and go back to it after a week. If I can’t remember anything about the book I won’t buy it. It’s my way of making sure I don’t end up with a huge TBR pile. Sometimes a book comes up again and again and I remember it and if I am still intrigued, I’ll buy it. But reviews are usually a way for me to discover new books not necessarily a way to decide whether I want to buy a book or not. Especially because every book is different to the person who reads it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I like that!! It’s a very smart and interesting way to go about it. I’m an impulse buyer sometimes and it gets me into trouble. Your way would most definitely stop that! Thanks so much for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I never used to read reviews but I always do now! I’m really careful too though, and if something seems a little too in depth I back out because I’m afraid of spoilers. And then some books I try not to read anything about, like The Wife Between us, because it seems like a book that’s best left a mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! There are most definitely some that I wish to be left a mystery that I can unfold myself. Especially when it comes to the horror and mystery genre. Even the smallest things can be a spoiler!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I usually skim some reviews first, plus read a couple full reviews. I always try to read a negative one and a positive one.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hearing both sides always helps 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Justine says:

    I don’t usually seek out reviews before buying a book, but reviews will absolutely make me want to buy one! Blogging has really changed the way I read and buy books. I hear about so many amazing books here that I wouldn’t normally pick up!

    Funny enough, I like reading bad reviews of books I am currently reading and really enjoying. I don’t know why!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahahaha it’s not weird to me! For some reason I like to read bad reviews of books I’ve read! I’m starting to think that you were my bookish twin and we were separated at birth!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Justine says:

        I really think we are bookish twins! Either that or we just have very, very good taste in books ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. J.W. Martin says:

    Yes and no. I skim a lot of reviews, looking mainly at the rating. I guess it’s more gathering opinions of bloggers and friends I trust. Other than that, I don’t want to read reviews. Even the ones that are spoiler-free are going to reveal things that I’d rather find out for myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. happy thanksgiving! and yes, i do read reviews of books i haven’t heard before. if there are spoilers marked, i skip them. but if the review is good and has me interested in the book, it’s on my tbr. and then the same thing happens to me. i completely forget about it and the synopsis and that’s a good thing. i know, that i liked what i read and that’s enough for me.
    i don’t read spoilery reviews of auto-buy-author books, because i want to surprise myself. but if the review isn’t spoilery i try to get a sense of the books. that’s what i did with “artemis” for example. it really depends on the book 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So many great points! If I liked it enough to add it to my TBR then I don’t want to read anything about it again!
      And same – with auto buy authors I read the synopsis only 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I always look at Goodreads for reviews and do the shame as you after buying the book. One thing I do enjoy doing if I’m not enjoying or dnf a book, is finding reviews that confirm my thoughts which helps me to give up sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now THATS something I need to start doing!!! I feel so much guilt in DNF’ing a book and when I’m done I see so many people that confirmed everything I felt!! This is amazing advice!!

      Like

  13. I’m always wary about reading book reviews, one because spoilers but also sometimes I then find myself going into a book with weird expectations. I do look at the stars a book has – mostly 3 stars or lower books I tend to not bother reading. But I don’t want to know too much about a book before reading it, you know? What tends to work for me is simply skimming the first couple of pages to see if the book grabs me right away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Skimming does help. I hope to get a kindle for Christmas so then I can check out the first few pages to see if it grabs me. This is great advice! Thanks!!! 🙂

      Like

      1. You can do this for physical books, too, on Amazon’s website just click on the look inside feature.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good to know!! I don’t go on amazon much but I think I will now! Thanks!

          Like

  14. Marie says:

    I’m just like you – I read reviews before putting the book on my TBR or before deciding if it’s worth my time, or not. Usually, since I don’t watch booktube, I rely a lot on Goodreads reviews and, most importantly, on my favorite bloggers’ reviews. This makes choosing my next read so much easier and I feel like I’ve been finding so many amazing books thanks to this 🙂
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad to hear that so many people do this. I was feeling like I was a bit obsessive about it for a while lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marie says:

        Ahahhaha you’re not – I had sort of a phase when I had to read all the reviews before buying, it was CRAZY. I’m a bit better now, 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I like reading reviews for books I’m not sure about, especially if they’re hyped books. I find sometimes reviews give better summaries than synopses do, so I read them for that. But if it’s a book I’m 100% sure I want to read, I generally don’t bother with reviews

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same. With auto buy authors I’m pretty much sold without a review! And sometimes the synopsis is so vague you have no idea what it’s really about!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I always read the blurb. Word of mouth is good too. But before I purchase a book, I always go on Goodreads and take a peek at the rating and read a few reviews of people whose opinion I respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Before I used to read the blurb and the reviews and make my choice based on it. Now I only look at the ratings other GR friends and bloggers give. I trust them as I know them by now. I know who has similar tastes as mine and I dive in blind. So much more fun! Once I’ve wrote my review I will go bakc and read all my friends reviews 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a fun way to do it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Beware Of The Reader says:

        Well I love surprises so 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m not overly picky as yet. Generally I’ll read the blurb, then check the amazon rating or goodreads rating. Most times I might check out a handful of the highest and lowest reviews. I really hate to get a book only to realize less than halfway in I don’t like it 😬

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly!! That feeling is the worst!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Sophie Li says:

    Hello Shanah!
    Your experience with books sounds very similar to what I’ve experienced. I used to buy based on the synopses (I think that’s the plural of synopsis haha) or even based on the cover, but this led to a lot of disappointment. Since I’ve discovered book blogs, book reviews and other book-related blog posts are often where I hear about a book first. Now other bloggers’ opinions about a book definitely affect whether or not I will read it! I also rely heavily on Goodreads ratings- I am much more inclined to read a book if it has high ratings (preferably 4 or more stars!)
    Love this post and thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment! And I still don’t know what the official word for the plural of synopsis is…. I was laughing about that the other day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sophie Li says:

        Hahaha… come to think of it, I’ve rarely heard anyone use the plural (if at all!) let me know if you ever find out 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I usually avoid reviews because I am so worried about getting spoiled. Sometimes I will read a couple but for the most part I go by the synopsis and that has worked out for me so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hey Shanah! Great discussion… ❤ YES! I read reviews before I buy. I do have sense even when I read mainly positive reviews if I won't enjoy a book… I feel a subtle drag that keeps me from proceeding to buy… These I get from the library now as that feeling has been spot on. A major part of that process though is reading reviews and seeing what readers thought they liked and what they thought they hated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do the same. If I’m interested but have a strong feeling it will be blah, I get it from the library. If I end up liking it I buy a copy for my shelf after

      Like

  22. Naty says:

    I think you’ve said it all, so I’m leaving a comment just to say – I totally agree. I hardly ever nowadays pick up books without reading reviews, GR ratings, etc… and most of my TBR are BookTube/Book Bloggers recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My TBR is full of booktube/blogger recommendations as well. I’m hoping that I can branch out a bit in 2018 and find some hidden gems…… but this may backfire 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Naty says:

        Right?? I feel like when I try to go out of the recommendations zone, I always regret it… hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

  23. While I do read reviews before buying a book, there are some whose synopsis is enough for me to get them. When it comes to the secondhand books I buy, I don’t take the time to read any reviews. Many of the books I find in secondhand stores aren’t very popular, so I simply read the synopsis and if I like it enough I get them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here! Second hand stores are where I branch out and try new things without feeling guilty about money spent

      Like

  24. Holly says:

    I don’t often read reviews online beforehand, but I do like asking friends about their thoughts on a book or if they have any recommendations before making a next bookish purchase. Also, Happy Thanksgiving! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Steph says:

    Ever since I started blogging I can’t go into a book without reading reviews- and I’m the same as you in that once I have a book on my TBR, I won’t look at anything about it again so that when I finally read it I don’t know what to expect, just that there was something about it that interested me.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. LairOfBooks says:

    Wonderful post Shanah! I used to be the same type of book buyer as yourself but since discovering the bookish community my habits have also changed. I enjoy writing & reading reviews with the exception of sequels. I’d much rather not even take the risk of spoiling myself on a sequel until after I’ve read it then sure yeah why not? lets fangirl about it lol. Also, I def don’t read synopsis as much & will sometimes leave them out entirely from my reviews when they are too spoilery & lengthy preferring to write my own. Not sure why reviews get little views though, I personally consider them my GO-To 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no. Reviews of sequels is a BAD thing!!

      Like

  27. Mia says:

    It depends on the author. There are some auto-but authors for me that I buy their books without even reading synopsis. For my non-auto-buy authors I check the ratings and reviews from the blogs I follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here. Auto buy authors I never need to read reviews before buying. I still read the reviews, but I’m going to buy it anyway! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Literally relate to this *so so much*!! Firstly, I also don’t add anything to my tbr anymore unless I’ve read reviews- otherwise I won’t know what to expect or if I’ll even like it- ever since I started blogging and reading reviews, the number of good books I’ve read has gone up exponentially and the ones I’ve disliked has gone down. BUT I also stop reading reviews once I’ve added the book to my tbr for definite or have bought it, cos after that point I’ve made my decision. I guess it’s cos it’s a hard fought position to be on my tbr, so I don’t want to change my mind again. And I agree- it’s cos it makes it more of a surprise when I finally get round to it. Awesome post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you said that you don’t read reviews once it’s on your TBR because you’ve already made your decision! Perfect wording for this 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much!! Glad you agree 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Oh interesting! I don’t go out of my way to read reviews first, but by being a bart of the book blogging community there’s a huge chance I’ve read at least a few reviews before picking up a book. Definitely understand why you do this though!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. The Other Weasley says:

    I still wander around bookstores and libraries and pick up books that catch my eye. I always try to get them from the library first. I don’t usually buy a book before I read it unless it’s a part of a series I am already in love with or I love the author.
    I read reviews for authors I have no knowledge of or books that get a ton of hype. I tend to read the 5 star and the 1 star reviews so I see the best and the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. emstoyles says:

    I love this! I couldn’t agree more with you! Sounds like we both have experienced that awful mood of wanting to read but never knowing where to start… I recently just started blogging and I’ve noticed that I tend to look for book review blogs, even if they aren’t the typical kind of read I’m usually interested in. I totally agree with you on reading reviews but not spoiling it for yourself. Sometimes I do try and take risks, blindly taking a book off a shelf and hoping for the best because sometimes those are the best surprises and worthwhile reads. I love that you cut yourself off from spoiling any surprises and leave it in your list for later, discovering the whole new sensation of reading a good book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m the same. I’m always reading reviews for books outside of my comfort zone in hopes that it will help me find something within a new genre.
      And you’re totally right! When you blindly pick up a book and end up loving it, it’s somehow more satisfying!! It’s like finding a hidden gem!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. pawprintsandmint says:

    I’ve never read reviews when it comes to picking out a book, some of my favourites were from picking something out from the book store shelf on a whim, and I often enjoy a novel that is long, sometimes I can get so absorbed in a story that I never want it to end, the longer the read the better 🙂

    M & Bear

    http://www.pawprintsandmint.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never used to be a fan of super long books. Until this year when I pushed myself to stop focusing on the number of pages and focused on what the story would bring me. Now I too prefer longer books!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pawprintsandmint says:

        Awh, yes! Longer books can also be less rushed in their story telling, I remember I read a book by an author, and I swear when I looked up information about the book (once I had finished reading it), it had taken her 10 years to complete… it had a lot of history in it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow! I can’t imagine writing a book for 10 years! But it would be much appreciated by the readers if she was that factual and in depth!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. pawprintsandmint says:

            Neither could I, I don’t know how she stayed motivated to complete it also.

            Liked by 1 person

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