Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

How Does Social Media Affect Your Book Buying?

April 11th, 2012 by Debbie's World of Books

I’m in the middle of writing a paper for school about how social media forums such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. are affecting the ways publishers are marketing their books.  I personally feel like these social media apps have a huge impact on people’s book buying habits and opens up a whole new way for publishers to engage in more targeted marketing.  This may just be me since the closing of all the Borders stores and the closing of the only Barnes and Nobles store in my area I now have to drive 20-30 minutes and pay a $5 toll to go to the nearest bookstore to browse the shelves.  So now I rely almost solely on the recommendations I come across online.

Finding actual resources to back up my feelings of social media’s impact is a little more difficult but it still got me wondering…How does social media affect how you choose to buy books?

I would love it if you would let me know how the various outlets affect your book buying habits (if at all) and which ones do you think are most effective in getting the word out about books.  If you chose another social network please let me know which one it was. Are there certain publishers you think are particularly successful in utilizing these avenues?

How Does Social Media Affect Your Book Buying Habits
 free polls 

For myself I will be forever grateful for all the blogs that raved about If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  I had never heard of the book before and it isn’t a book I would have normally picked up off the shelf to check out because I’ll admit I’m a cover junkie.  The cover of If I Stay isn’t one that reaches out to me and says “pick me up”.  Once I did read it I was in love!

The flip side has also happened to me. One book that initially caught my eye (and in fact I accidentally bought 2 copies) but I struck off my reading list pretty much solely based on comments on Twitter made by Pam from Bookalicious, is The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer. It’s averaging a 3.54 rating on Goodreads so not terribly bad but even despite that after talking to Pam about it I have no burning desire to pick it up to read now.  Maybe I’m just easily influenced but I doubt I’m the only person to be swayed towards or away from a book based on conversations over Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.

Has a comment on one of these social media forums changed your mind against buying a particular book?

Posted in Books

7 Responses

  1. Lilian

    Well, I’ve always relied on recommendations and book reviews. While I am introduced to a world of books, I am also more reluctant to give a book a chance if there are negative reviews.

  2. melissa @ 1lbr

    You might be interested to read the comments on my recent post about how advertising affects reading choices. Nearly everyone said blogger recommendations were more important than publisher advertising. Sounds like an interesting paper!

  3. Patricia (Two Chicks on Books)

    90% of the books I buy are based on recommendations from my online friends. Whether they are from comments on Twitter, Facebook or blogs.

    If I see a book that is getting mixed reviews I might still buy but it may hang out on my bookshelf for a while. I don’t make it a priority to read.

    Good luck on your paper!

  4. Pussreboots

    Social media influences the books I read but not what I buy. The vast majority of the books I read come from the library.

  5. Danielle (The1stdaughter)

    Great topic! I wish there was some way to quantify this experience because I think people would be incredibly surprised. Maybe not so much those of us who are in the “thick of things” day in and day out, but I’d venture to guess that people are much more influenced by social media than they think.

    What’s unique about social media is that it’s the equivalent of being able to pick up the phone and talk for hours with a few dozens friends. By the end of that very long phone day you’d have a good list of books to check out and ones to avoid. With social media you can accomplish all of that without “paying the toll fee”. It’s fantastic! And I for one trust the friends I’ve made from social media because I’ve taken the time to know the books they like and how they match (or don’t) with my own.

    Good luck with the paper! I’m sure it’s going to turn out great and it sounds like a lot of fun to research at the very least. :)

  6. Debbie's World of Books

    Melissa-thanks for the link! That looks interesting and I’m definitely going to check it out.

    Lillian & Patricia-I am the same way. I rely on suggestions from online friends mostly and if there are lots of negative reviews it gets pushed down my list.

    Pussreboots-that’s a good point. With money getting tight I’m also relying more on the library but even then I find myself requesting that our library buy books based on reviews I see and want to check the book out.

    Danielle-you are so right. Ahh, the dream phone conversation talking about books and authors :)

  7. Natalie

    I’ve definitely been swayed to or away from a book based on blog or facebook reviews and mentions.

    However, the biggest source getting me to purchase new books right now is Goodreads. I found so many new books from that site it’s not even funny.

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