Bookish Ramblings: Book Recommendations – Who Influences You the Most?

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest pros of running a book blog and being part of the book blogging community is being among those select few who hear about upcoming titles a long time before the actual release date. By having access to NetGalley, visiting other people’s blogs, reading about their highly anticipated books and interacting with them on social media on a daily basis, one is guaranteed to come across at least one or two new titles each week. Not to mention the amount of book reviews one may read in one week. However, for whatever reasons, not all these titles make it onto our never ending wishlists or to-be-read piles. Which made me think.

When it comes to book recommendations,who do you usually turn to and how do you tend to find your next read? Who influences you the most? Do you regularly browse publishers’ catalogues and websites and see if there’s anything that might interest you? Do you listen to your “real life” friends’ advice, do you judge a book based on the reviews you read online or do you simply read each and every hyped book simply because that’s what everyone else is reading?

After pondering about this for a while I realized only two of these apply to me. I don’t know which one is more frequent so I’d say I depend on these two sources equally. And these two sources are publishers’ catalogues and book reviews.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while you may have noticed that I have quite an eclectic taste in books and I don’t tend to review the most hyped up books out there. I haven’t read the Hunger Games or The Mortal Instruments series, for example, or anything by John Green or Julie Kagawa, or any of today’s popular YA books. I will read a few of them at some point but I’m not in a hurry to do so. So I think it’s safe to say that popularity doesn’t usually convince or affect me. And neither do my real life friends’ recommendations. Mostly because they read half as much as I do and from genres I’m not really keen on myself and it’s usually me who recommends books to them, not the other way round. That leaves me with publishers’ catalogues and reviews.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one but I have favourite publishers and imprints for different genres. I regularly check these publishers’ NetGalley titles to see if there’s anything new I might enjoy and I also flick through their catalogues a few times each year, making notes of all those books that may be interesting to check out later on. And of course I read your reviews. I follow quite many blogs (okay, way too much, to be totally honest) so I get to hear about lots of different genres and books with different subjects. Which is great. I’ve come across so many new titles this way, I lost count a long time ago. Which book reviews are the ones that convince me that this is something I need to read is a tale for another day but let’s just say it’s probably other people’s reviews which have the biggest influence on me when looking for new titles to read.

How about you? Who or what influences you the most? How do you usually select your next read?

28 Responses to “Bookish Ramblings: Book Recommendations – Who Influences You the Most?”

  1. I get influenced by several things.

    1. Bloggers. There are some blogs I really trust & they have the same taste in books. If they love a book, I’m pretty sure I will love it too. That is the same way for books they dislike. I tend to stay away from them or read them after a long, long time.

    2. Publishers. There are some publishers I tend to choose for, because I’ve had great experience with other books. HarperCollins and AngryRobots are two examples.

    3. Goodreads. I love to look at GR recommendations, lists and on the shelves of people. It’s a great way to find new books.

    and I’m good at picking books I like (most of the books). I’m not going to read hyped books if I know I won’t like them :) I trust my own judgement :p
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted..Showcase Sunday 32.My Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Oh yes, Goodreads is great too. I love their “genres” feature actually, I always check it out when I know what genre I’m looking for. :)

  2. I find new books on other blogs and with Goodreads, when I see what others are reading and adding. And having a NetGalley account introduces me to new books as well. I don’t go on publishers’ pages though. But popularity does affect me, but I learned not to expect too much because I have been let down before.
    I used to read the books I missed on with my no-reading fiasco in high school; I missed out on a lot of series people still obsess about. I think I almost caught up though.
    Now I balance between ARCs I should really read and books I bought years ago but still never opened nthem and the ones I really want to read instantly after I get them. So I mix and match, and this summer I actually have a list because of that and I’ll try to stick to it.
    Ula @ Blog of Erised recently posted..You’ve got mail!/Showcase Sunday/Stacking the Shelves/Owl PostMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      NetGalley is great for finding new authors! That’s how I came across S.J. Bolton’s books and she’s been one of my favourites ever since. :)

      Having a plan (or an actual list) is great too! I’m usually quite bad at sticking with them, though. But I’m alternating between ARCs and my own neglected copies too.

  3. Blogs are definitely my biggest influencer – although I follow a lot of blogs (like you, probably a few too many and I can never keep up with all the posts!), there are a handful (10 or so) that I check constantly because I know our tastes are similar, or that they feature books that are not as ‘popular’.

    I like to think I’m pretty good at knowing what I will like and what I won’t – for example I’d never attempt The Mortal Instruments series because I’m almost 100% certain I wouldn’t like it. But I do like to push myself occassionally ;-)
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  4. Maureen says:

    most of my book influences come from shelf-awareness.com and blogs I read. Also librarything which has had huge influence on the types of books I read.

  5. Eustacia says:

    I haven’t read The Mortal Instruments either! (And I’ve only read the first book of The Hunger Games – I didn’t feel like reading the rest for some reason). Personally, the blurb of the book is the most important thing for me, that’s really what catches my attention. For a particularly hyped up book (although they don’t catch my attention that often), I pay attention to the negative reviews on Goodreads because I want to check if the book is as good as what the blurb/cover promises.

    ^_^
    Eustacia recently posted..Foreverland is Dead by Tony BertauskiMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      As odd as it might sound, I love reading negative reviews too. :) And even stranger is that instead of putting me off, they usually convince me that I need to read the book. Even if just to find out if it’s really that bad.

  6. I do pay attention to popular opinion purely because I figure books are popular for a reason BUT it depends on the book and where the opinion is coming from.

    With fantasy I listen to the forums I’m a member of and friend’s opinions. I’m only just starting to pay attention to fantasy bloggers, but their opinions tend to be the same as forumgoers so I’m pretty safe.

    Chick lit, I like to listen to chick lit bloggers and flick through the latest titles in publisher catalogues and on Amazon to make my own mind up. Generally, you can get a good idea on chick lit from the blurbs and the chick lit bloggers are lovely.

    YA of all genres I browse varied reviews because I know there’s a lot of 5 star squeeling reviews from all over the place so I like to read some average and below average reviews AS WELL to work out the good and bad points and decide that way, I’m pretty good at sifting through the points worth listening to. Plus, blurbs are a pretty good indicator for me.

    Everything else I just check reviews. Goodreads, blogs, Amazon.. wherever. These opinions are a great resource for choosing the good reads!
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  7. 1) I have a couple real-life friends whose book opinions I listen to and trust.

    2) There are bloggers whose opinions I’ve learned to trust, even when we don’t agree.

    3) I check Netgalley, publisher sites, and publisher catalogs.

    4) There also a few tweeps whose opinions I trust.

    I also browse bookstores, the library and Amazon and take a chance on books that look interesting.
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  8. Zoe @ Bookhi says:

    Brilliant post, Vicky! It is really interesting about the psychology of choosing which books to read. Bloggers mainly impact my reading – hype and recommendations usually persuade me to buy a book. Goodreads and Amazon are usually good for that too! Thanks for sharing :)
    Zoe @ Bookhi recently posted..Mini Reviews: Stung by Bethany Wiggins and The Pocket Scavenger by Keri SmithMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Thanks, Zoe! :) And yep, Goodreads is great too! I usually use it when I know what particular genre I want to read next – their “genres” lists are great for this purpose.

  9. Tina says:

    I usually find my books through reviews, looking at the bestseller lists online (or in local stores), through Netgalley, and through publishers websites. I don’t think one influence is my main go-to, but I generally look through everything and try to find something that might interest me. I read a lot of books that are popular because I want to see what the hype is all about. Generally, I read them long after they’ve become popular because, like you, I’m not in too big a hurry to read them. I often find that it’s not really what I was expecting and sometimes don’t really enjoy them, like the Life of Pi when I read that. I usually recommend books to my friends and my mom, rarely the other way around, mostly because I read so much more than they do. Every now and then my mom will find a book she likes from an author she read previously, and then passes it on to me, but not often. :)

    Great post!

  10. An says:

    Interesting question. I get reading inspiration from so many things. I think my main sources are as follows:

    – Publishing houses I pay extra attention to
    – Literary prizes
    – A few bloggers if they are really enthusiastic about a book
    – Random browsing (covers, blurbs,…)
    – New books from authors I already know and like
    – Literary magazines

    – Never from real-life people

    • Vicky says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who never gets recommendations from real life friends then. :) New books from authors I already know and like should have been on my list too, actually.

  11. kit says:

    1. Bloggers – particularly those whose taste is similar to mine, or who I have books/genres in common with. In the last year or so I think a lot of the books I’ve read I have picked up because I’ve read a good review on someone’s blog.

    2. My mum – my mum works in a library and reads a huge amount, so quite often she’ll tell me about new books, or books she’s enjoyed (we both like crime/thriller fiction in particular)

    3. Book reviews in the newspaper – I read The Guardian’s book pages quite often, which is how I find out about a lot of new adult fiction releases (I just found out that Curtis Sittenfeld wrote a new novel, and she’s one of my favourite authors so that’s gone straight on my library request list!)

    4. Library – I visit my local library most weekends, and quite often they set up displays, which I like to browse through – otherwise I just pick up things that look interesting.

    I have a few publishers who I like (Allen & Unwin, House of Zeus, Harlequin) so sometimes I go by publisher, but that’s more rare I think. And I agree, I don’t normally take book recommendations off my friends because normally I’m recommending stuff to them!
    kit recently posted..Showcase Sunday: The one where the butler definitely (probably) didn’t do itMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Me and my mum are the same! :) We both live crime fiction but it’s always me who recommends books to her not the other way round. (I had no idea yours worked in a library, though. That’s great!)

      Apart from encyclopaedias and dictionaries our libraries don’t really have English books so as awful as it sounds, it’s been ages since I’ve been to one. If I was in the UK, I’d be a frequent visitor, though.

  12. Like you, I have really wide reading tastes, and therefore I don’t think I’m often influenced by others. I’m always interested in reading about what others are reading, but will only add a few to my serious to read list. Mostly I like to browse in bookshops or my local library, and read whatever takes my fancy.
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  13. I get recommendations from all over…most of the ways everyone else has mentioned. Other blogs, goodreads, publishers, netgalley, and my Real Life Book club gals to name a few!
    Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf recently posted..Added to the Bookshelf – 6/23/13My Profile

  14. Shae Carcar says:

    Like you, I find that book bloggers have the most influence on the books that I read next. Of course, first and foremost I make sure to reviews the books that authors have come to me for, but when it comes to books that I want to read out of pure curiosity, book blogger’s reviews are the main instigators. I don’t regularly visit publisher’s catalogs; I’ve only ever done that a handful of times. Also, I don’t really listen to my “real life” (Lol that’s funny for some reason) friends only because I only have a few friends and most of them either don’t read or they don’t read the same genres as I do.
    And lastly, I do read books based on reviews, and I do read books if they are just hyped up by other bloggers. If I’ve been hearing about a book a lot but I’m wasn’t initially interested in it, I’ll get curious because everyone seems to like. There must be a reason why, y’know. I did that with Shatter Me, Divergent, and even Harry Potter so it’s not really led me wrong (sometimes it has, but most times I enjoy the books)

    This was fun! Happy reading!

  15. Catherine says:

    I love Goodreads, book bloggers I trust and friends. After that, I use Edelweiss to look for upcoming titles from imprints I enjoy.
    Plus, I spend a lot of time in the library and often find reads just by browsing.
    Catherine recently posted..Sisterland: A NovelMy Profile

  16. Fiona says:

    I have a fair amount of influences. There are several bloggers/booktubers who I realize I have similar taste to and will generally take their reviews pretty seriously. However, I’m also pretty good about figuring out if I would like something based on a review. If I know what I’m in the mood for, I can go through my TBR pile/Goodreads genre recommendations.
    Fiona recently posted..Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Summer TBRMy Profile

  17. What I love about Goodreads is seeing what people thought of books I was considering myself. My book club gets me into new things and having avid readers as friends also turns me on to new things. But I do look at reviews often mainly as a gauge. But primarily I look at copy to see if the book may intrigue me, especially for new authors or authors I just hadn’t been introduced to.

  18. Ellie says:

    I guess the majority of books I read are found through publishers, either in their catalogues, from requests or random books in the post! I’m all for reading books without knowing much about them but I’m strange like that.

    When it comes to picking books that I buy, I am swayed the most on Twitter as well as my favourite bloggers. Soemtimes when I see a book is getting a lot of love from a lot of sources, I’ll add it to my wishlist to buy later.
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  19. Petra says:

    For me it’s a combination of bloggers/booktubers, Goodreads, and browsing bookstores. :)
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  20. Sandra Danby says:

    I don’t have an actual to-read list, I am very impulsive when it comes to buying books so they just get piled onto an overfull shelf. I read book reviews in newspapers and magazines, Goodreads is good too. But there’s nothing to be browsing in a good independent bookshop, I spend much more that way!
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