For the Love of (Book)Hunting

Finding a new book to read should be fun, yet for so many it’s overwhelming and stressful. If this sounds familiar, I am here to tell you: all you need to do is find your North Star, your own personal go-to method of navigating all the choices out there successfully. Once you find something that works, it will open up the world of books to you in a new and meaningful way.

How do I know this? I used to work in a bookstore. Aside from the obvious perk of having thousands of books at my fingertips, the next best thing was when a customer would walk up to me and ask, “can you help me find something for my” insert name of significant other, niece, grandpa, best friend, teacher, etc.  Trying to get a feel for the personality of both buyer and intended receiver of the book, I would get a conversation going to gather important clues.

I learned that finding the right book is different for everybody. It depends on several things such as:

  • a person’s personality
  • what mood they’re in/will be in when reading the book
  • state of a reader’s physical/mental/emotional health
  • genre
  • writing style
  • hardcover/softcover/mass market paperback/e- book/audiobook preference.

To some, typeface, catchy front covers, width, length or weight of the book, and price are important as well.  I picked up on a few tried and true methods that seemed most successful in helping people with their book search. Although no longer working at a bookstore, I still feel immense satisfaction when a friend or family member takes my advice and finds the exact book they were looking for.

Though there are many unique reading styles and preferences, there are some general tips that can help anyone pick a great book to read, or at least narrow down the seemingly endless choices. 

  • Follow Bookstores on Social Media Accounts.  Feeling introverted? Struggle with social anxiety? Need a break from a job that requires working with people all the time? Try using social media for guaranteed good reads. Use the search function on Facebook to find Pages created for book readers by book readers. Make use of hashtags such as #BestBooks or #GreatReads. I like Instagram the best for this, since it’s visually popping and explanations are usually brief, with hashtags you can click on to find more great books. Once you see a book you like you simply order it online and have it delivered straight to your door. Or, you can go to the bookstore and know exactly what book to ask for since you’ve already done the online research. There are 4 Instagram book accounts that consistently post books that are getting buzz:
  • Sign up for Goodreads:
    • You can keep track of books you’ve read, books you want to read, give yourself a reading challenge and check out what other people are reading.  
    • Authors are on Goodreads and you can see what they are reading, what books they like, what books they’ve written or are writing. You find an author you like, chances are you’ll like the books they like too. Another great thing about authors on Goodreads is they’ve been known to answer reader’s questions!
    • Check out the “star” rating on good reads and scroll down to see if most people gave it a 5-star or a 1-star rating.
    • Read people’s reviews to find out how they reacted to a book and see if it lived up to their expectation. *WARNING: some reviews contain spoilers. Find GoodReads here:
  • Start a series. If you like book 1, you’re set. TIP: Make sure you buy the next book before you finish the one you’re reading or you may impulsively buy the entire series on your phone with your credit card, and stay up all night reading.  I speak from experience.
  • Ask a librarian. Librarians are a wealth of knowledge on books. They will take the anxiety out of finding your next best read by directing you to staff picks, popular books with a high number of check outs, and let you stay and read awhile to make sure you like the book you want to borrow. This is a great way to experiment with different authors and genres to find out what you really like before you invest in buying a book.
  • Check out Spotlight Sections in a Bookstore. You’ll find:
    • bestsellers
    • staff picks
    • what’s new and hot in almost every genre
    • bargain books
    • in the case of Indigo Books & Music you’ll see CEO Heather Reisman’s personally chosen book picks which rarely disappoint.

The important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. Make a day of it if you can.  Start up a conversation with a bookseller and let them find out more about you so they can help you find the perfect book to read. You’ll make their day.

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