Question: Could You / Would You Buy Books Blindly?

Posted September 18, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 107 Comments


Pre-blogging I probably would have been more open to this idea because if the ‘surprise’ turned out to be an unpleasant oneโ€”no big loss. Or, if this idea would have come to me back when I was a student, and I had TONS of free time, why not!? However, now that I’m a responsible adult (*BARF*), and that practically every single second of every day is already spoken for well, I don’t exactly feel like taking a shot in the dark. I have a massive TBR pile, ARCs that I’ve already committed to reviewing, and I read to ‘escape’ not to experiment. So, I have no patience for mysterious books. When the end of my shift rolls around, the dogs have been walked, #1 has given me permission to ignore him for the rest of the evening, and I can finally settle down to a good novel, the last thing I want to do is unwrap that nondescript package, and go WTF! I can’t tell you how many times just the mere thought of what’s waiting for me on my eReader has helped get me through the day.

Part of the thrill of being a bookworm is swooning over the covers, getting psyched from the blurb and counting down the days until the next release from my favourite author, or the latest installment in a beloved series. Let’s call it reading foreplay. LOL Half of the excitement comes from selecting which titles are going to make the cut, and end up on my coveted to-read shelf. All of my pretties go through a rigorous vetting process where I look them up on GoodReads, ask for fellow blogger recommendations, and my mood is usually a factor as well. Oh, and if there’s a wolf on the cover, that helps too. Haha! How can I form an initial emotional attachment to a blank paper bag? I can’t. The only time that I even come close to buying a novel blindly is when an author I already follow branches out into a new genre; I sometimes put my faith in their writing abilities, and hope for the best without doing my standard legwork. I can be adventurous in certain aspects of my life (cue dirty comments…), but when it comes to reading I like to play it safe.


Could You / Would You Buy Books Blindly?

Carmel Signature

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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107 responses to “Question: Could You / Would You Buy Books Blindly?

  1. I have been so disappointed by picking books by their covers. I go into some books without even reading the blurb even now that my time is so limited. I have discovered a ton of great book/authors by not knowing what I am in for. Truthfully I only do this when I am familiar with the author, or I keep seeing the book mentioned on facebook and/or blogs. I trust bloggers to be honest. I don’t think that really qualifies as blind, but it is as blind as I am willing to go.
    Karen Blue recently posted…HedoVibes Round Up #59

  2. Close to the same. Before Goodreads and being able to see so many different reviews of books I bought a lot of books blind. That’s how I found the Hollows series. Now unless I’m at the library book sale where its a bag for $5 I’m much more picky.
    Kristina D recently posted…Some Thursday Randomness

    • I can only imagine how long my TBR list would be if I read outside of the paranormal genre. At least this way, I am more limited, but the books still seem to accumulate somehow. That one-click button is killer!

  3. Mary from BookSwarm  

    I suppose this would work for some people but it definitely doesn’t work for me. What is one person’s super-hot paranormal romance is another’s tepid magical realism. I guess maybe I’ve gotten too used to vetting my books and being as picky-oonish as possible to keep my TBR at a manageable level but, other than looking at the display and trying to guess what’s actually inside, there’s no way I’d buy a book unseen.
    Mary recently posted…Pre-Squee: Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

  4. Nathan ( from reviewbarn)  

    It is not quite the same as blind but I grab books I know nothing about from our used book store all the time. And it has worked and failed. Glenda Larke is an example of buying purely on a whim.

    I think those with a minor description are something I would take a chance on occasionally as well.
    Nathan ( recently posted…Tough Travels – Witches

  5. Amanda from On a Book  

    Buy books, no. But I’m on an only-buy-with-gift-cards kick (a light book buying ban, I guess), so I only buy books from authors I love.

    When it comes to the library, however, I’m okay going in pretty blind. There’s little risk involved, except a waste time—but neither do I feel guilty throwing a book back to the library if I didn’t like it.
    Amanda recently posted…September 2014 Bloggiesta To-Do List

    • Self-imposed book buying bans suck, but sometimes they are a must. You bring up a good point about libraries; I don’t use mine, so that possibility went right over my head.

    • Now that you mention it, I don’t actually buy a lot of books either. Between ARCs, and Amazon affiliates, I rarely have to spend real money on my hobby anymore.

  6. Despite my towering TBR pile and rather short time on ocassions, I don’t think I’d mind too much to read a surprise book, as long as I know a lil bit about it. Going completely blank into the book and ending up with genre that I don’t particularly read much or a book with tropes I usually avoid might not work too well for me, but grabbing a fantasy book with little knowledge and finding a gem? That sounds like something I’d love to give a try when the mood is right!
    Pili recently posted…First Chapter First Paragraph #11: Winterspell by Claire Legrand & Polaris by Mindee Arnett!!!

  7. “Letโ€™s call it reading foreplay.”

    LOVE IT CARMEL!!! And I agree with you completely. Before the blog, I would wander the bookstore and pick up whatever sounded good, but now that I read on more of a schedule (which really doesn’t bother me, I don’t feel like it’s work, I just like to be organized), I want to pick up books that are going to wow me. And books like that take a bit of research and foreplay as you said ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hehe It’s funny what pops into your head when you’re struggling with a post topic. I don’t feel like a schedule is work either, but I do leave room for mood reads cuz ya just never know!

  8. That’s the only way I bought books before blogging but I research the heck out of everything now. It does take some of the fun out of it though and I’m trying to allow myself a few more impulse purchases where I just take the plunge and see what happens.

    • It’s definitely a balancing act; I usually read a few ‘just for me’ books that I don’t review, so that way I can be a little more adventurous. I always feel guilty about it though. LOL

  9. I have more and last few month than I ever had, luckily I’ve been pleasantly surprised, but most of the time I don’t buy books on the blind, I always look for reviews before I buy the audiobook, and I’m so glad and thankful that you the book bloggers are the ones that take a chance when you read all those ARCs, my are most of the time an educated guess.
    Lupdilup recently posted…Impulse Audiobook by Dannika Dark (Review)

  10. my wallet will not let me just randomly buy books. I’m only purchasing books by authors I really want to read. I was just blindly clicking last year (especially those freebies…)and now I have so many books on my NOOK that I know I’ll never probably get too.

  11. Jennifer from The Book Nympho  

    I’ve done this in a way. I’ve bought series of books on my Nook because they were on sale because of the covers not knowing anything about the series other than the genre.

    My library did a blind date thing that looks like the books in this post where there was a short description or hint about the book. You check it out without knowing what you’re getting and let them know if you enjoyed your date.

    I would do that since if the book sucked I didn’t waste any money on it LOL

    I’m hoping I’ve not wasted money on all those ebooks I’ve bought that’s waiting on me to read. We’ll see.

    • I love a good sale just as much as the next girl, but too many unread books on my shelves makes me depressed, so I’ve learned to resist those red tags. The library thing makes sense, and if my local one didn’t suck, I might be more inclined to go on a blind date occasionally.

  12. Jess1

    Based on blurbs and reviews, I’ve purchased blindly many books in an on-going series or whole (short) series. Although, the book series needs to have good reviews or a really interesting premise. It’s one of the reasons why I have a huge TBR pile on my Kindle. Sometimes, I will win or get a free book on Amazon/publisher etc and will want to get the sequel before reading the first book. Book sales are where I start buying the books. I guess publishers love me. LOL.

    Right now, I’ve started reading “Kiss of Steel” by Bec McMasters, after buying the first three books blindly.

    • I never commit to more than one installment in a series at a time, but once the author has a proven track record, then I don’t mind adding future books to my to-read shelf with minimal research. You lucked out with KISS OF STEEL, Bec McMaster’s Steampunk rocks!

  13. I don’t like buying books that I’ll never read. So it would be different if it was a borrow like blind date with a book, that you return. But to spend actual moneys on a book that I don’t know if I will even like, or hell, if I’ve even read before? Nope.

    • I have limited space on my shelves, so I only want books that I’ll actually read, the ones that collect dust are a waste of premium real estate IMO. And, I agree, it’s WAY easier to take a risk when it’s free.

  14. “I read to โ€˜escapeโ€™ not to experiment.” You’re so right here, Carmel! Though sometimes I do try something new, but not something totally out of my element. I know that MG novels don’t work for me and I’m not even going to try and read one no matter if all my friends adored them. And I don’t really buy books blindly either unless I’ve read the synopsis once, added it to my tbr and KNOW that I want to read it, but somehow (through some miracle) I can forget what the book is about? I’m a happy reader like that heh. But not 100% blindly like: woa! Great cover! I’m going to buy it. Um. NO THANK YOU. HAHAHA “cue dirty comments” LOL. You always crack me up, Carmel! I’m glad I’m not alone in my misery of not trying to branch out and sticking to the same old lol.

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    • I have yet to read a MG novel, there’s just something about that genre that scares me. I have a hard enough time with most YA as it is. I usually try to be objective in my reviews, so this weekly question post is when I get let loose. LOL

  15. Nereyda from Mostly YA Book  

    I would buy a book with a gorgeous cover, just because of the pretty cover. Does that count? Like Clockwork Princess. I have no desire to read it, but I had to have that gorgeous book on my shelves. I don’t do this often though because adult also means bills (double barf).

    If I want to read a book, I look st 3 and 4 star reviews only.
    Nereyda recently posted…Book Mood Board (9): The Start of Me and..

    • I try to resist the lure of cover candy, but I have been known to purchase books based on that fact alone. I usually check-out a wide range of reviews when I’m vetting a title; it’s important to know both the good, and bad before taking the plunge. Plus, one person’s 3-star can be your 5-star. You just never know!

  16. Mogsy from BiblioSanctum  

    I love the idea of “blind date with a book” which is something I’ve seen on other bloggers’ giveaways and at used bookstores. But I do have to have SOME description. And strictly speaking, I guess any time I take a chance on a book by a new author can be counted as a blind plunge. Have I ever bought a book solely based on the cover though? Yes, but I don’t do that much anymore, been burned too many times ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mogsy recently posted…Tough Traveling: Witches

  17. I was this picture a while ago and it’s a truly great idea. I’m like you before I’d browse the library shelves and pick up any book that seemed at least appealing to me. When it comes to buying, well I’d have to marry some serious billionaire to own all the books I want, so yeah. But if I had more money I’d pick one of these fur sure ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post, Carmel ๐Ÿ™‚
    Tanja recently posted…Cover Reveal: ReBorn by Ada Adams

  18. No, I have a specific type of book that I read these days and I don’t really stray too far from that because that’s what I happen to be into at the moment. I think the closest I could come to this is auto buying books from a favorite author. I do that sometimes with just a couple of authors that I know i’m most likely going to like what they write.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…Review: The Bouqs

  19. OMG reading foreplay! I’m using that in daily speech now

    This sounds like a fun concept, but like you said, being an adult is hard enough and we bloggers already had a massive TBR pile that seem never ending.

    And I’m a cover person. I want to look at it and imagine what greatness will be inside. I feel like blind reading takes the pleasure out of it. It’s more like a quickie. XD

    And yes, we have just come to the conclusion that reading=sex.

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

    • And, here I was thinking that my post was full of sexual innuendo, you totally kicked my butt with your comment. Make sure you say ‘copyright Carmel 2014’ after using my line. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. I still like to discover new authors, but I rarely go blind into picking them anymore. Before blogging there was more freedom with hit and miss books, now I have less time and need to be pretty particular on my reads. This is a great post Carmel!

  21. Well if I’d answered four months ago I would’ve said “no problem, I love a good mystery!” Now that I’m blogging on the regular, I completely agree: there just aren’t enough hours in the day to waste on a book that might be terrible. Basically everything that I read now is either 1) a book I already own 2) highly recommended by trusted blogger friends or 3) an ARC that I wanted really badly. So far it’s been mostly working out for me. I know that it makes people suspicious to always see good ratings, but in a perfect world I’d only read 4 star books and up! That’s the dream, anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Danya recently posted…Tough Traveling: Witches

    • My ratings average between 4-5 stars, but that’s because, as you said, I research my books to death so that I know I’ll like them. The occasional bad egg does sneak in, but that’s bound to happen regardless.

  22. Probably not completely blindly, though I do like a surprise so you never know. But if someone I trust recommends me a book I’ll get it without knowing what it is. But I have to really know them and know their taste and whether they really know mine. Like you, I don’t have time for all the books so buying ones I’m not totally eager for doesn’t happen often.
    Candace recently posted…Blog Tour: Book Review of The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas + Giveaway

    • My only exception is recommendations, but all of my blogger peeps know what I like, so I trust their judgment. And, if they steer me wrong too often, then I’ll ignore future ones. LOL

  23. Yun-A

    I don’t think I could, especially since my book budget is limited. My policy is to read the book or find a friend who loved the book before I consider buying it.

  24. I totally feel your pain! My days are slammed and my TBR pile is more of a tower but I have to say, I still blindly buy books. I love the thrill of it because sometimes books just speak to you even though you know nothing about them and I feel like I have to answer their call. Of course, I’m also a librarian so it’s my blood.
    Jessica Cooley recently posted…Afterworlds: Book Review

  25. This is pretty much how I pick out all of my books now-look at cover, read back cover blurb and into the bag it goes lol. But, I get all of my books from my local library so it’s not a big deal to DNF a book that’s a miss. Surprisingly though, since I started picking my books this way I’ve only DNF’d a couple of them. Everything else I’ve really enjoyed, and I’ve found lots of amazing books that I wouldn’t have given a chance if I was still doing my old system.
    Finley Jayne recently posted…Sunday Post (Friday Edition) I’m Back!

    • Being properly informed before adding a title to the YES pile really does go a long way. I have a difficult time DNF’ing a book which is why I spend so much time properly vetting them.

  26. Why am I even surprised you have a dog?? Of course you have one! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hmm, buying books blindly? I never do that. I like to know a title, cover and reviews + ratings about it before buying any book. Plus, it has so seem interesting. I do buy many books but wisely. Ones that I’m pretty sure I will enjoy and that is all. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lola recently posted…The #TenBookChallenge Tag

  27. I totally can’t buy a book without reading the blurb or seeing the cover. Now, I do have some author’s that are on my autobuy list, but I still love to ohhh and ahhh over the cover. I still need the blurb to let me know what the book will be about. It’s almost like buying a can of food without a label. You have no idea what will be inside. I mean it could be anything from dog food to canned milk. You can’t very well plan a dinner if you don’t know what is in the can. Same thing with the book. You can’t anticipate the right mood and setting if you don’t know what the book is about.

    • Your mystery can is a great comparison! Imagine having a limited amount of money, and being forced to eat whatever’s in it no matter what. Anticipation is a big part of reading.

  28. READING FOREPLAY is my favorite phrase of the day, Carmel! :)) To answer your question: absolutely not, not anymore. Pre-blogging days? All the time. Now there are too many books I hunt down because I want to read them, that I can’t waste my energy on unknown author. It only happens rarely with erotica if the book is really really cheap or free on kindle.
    kara-karina recently posted…Fantasy Audiobook Review: Heir to The Shadows by Anne Bishop

  29. I love books and like to collect lot of books from shop.But it is not always good to buy book blindly.You need to justify that book before buying it from market.

  30. I’m not going to love every book I buy; I’ve come to grips with that. Most of the books I’ve purchased I’ve heard about through the book blogosphere, and usually the books have been well-received. But, some of them still disappointed me. I think that’s almost worse than picking up a book blindly and disliking it because Why Am I The Only Blogger Who Doesn’t Like This Book?! I’ve seen these blind date books before, and I’m tempted to buy one. I haven’t found hints that pique my interest yet.
    Jackie recently posted…The Mood Reader

    • I always feel like a weirdo when I don’t like a book that the blogging community is buzzing about which is usually one of the reasons why I always hold off on titles like that. It helps cut down on the hate mail. Hehe