How Do You Discover New Books?

Recently I’ve been wondering how it is that I discovered all the books that I’ve read and loved. I’m currently in the process of researching books that I want to buy myself, and it’s honestly been super difficult. Normally I rely on my library for most of the books that I read, but that’s not an option at the moment since my library has been closed for several weeks. So at the moment, I’m limited to my current TBR, and whatever e-books I get through my online library.

But I’m a mood reader, and I’ve found I tend to read contemporaries when I’m highly stressed (so basically I am only reading contemporaries and romances at the moment.) And I don’t have many contemporaries on my physical TBR. Those that I do have are certainly not light-hearted enough that I would want to read them right now. So I began my search to find some new books to buy for myself.

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Me searching for books to buy myself

The first place I looked, obviously, was my Goodreads TBR. I use my Goodreads TBR to remind myself that I was interested in a book, but I constantly add and get rid of books as I read ratings and reviews. Normally, whenever I’m unsure if I’d like a book or not, I just get it from the library so I don’t feel any pressure to read it. If I don’t like it, I return it to the library, remove the book from my Goodreads TBR, and no one is the wiser. But if I’m buying a book, like I plan on doing at the moment, I only want to pay for something that I have a very good chance of enjoying, so I was highly critical when I was looking over this shelf. The good news is that I found a whole bunch of books I would love to buy! The bad news is that they all are going to be published in May or June. This makes sense, since spring tends to be the time for contemporary and romance releases, but it still leaves me bereft of books I’m interested in reading for 2 months.

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That moment when you realize all the books you want to read are coming out in several months

But I wasn’t done with Goodreads just yet. I started looking up books that I had read and loved recently like What I Carry, Sick Kids in Love, and Get a Life, Chloe Brown, to see which similar books Goodreads recommended. But that was supremely unhelpful, for 2 reasons.

Firstly, I’m a rating snob. I know this makes me sound terrible, but if I see a book that has a low rating, and the rating distribution shows that most people gave it 3 stars, with a sprinkle of 4’s and 2’s and 1’s and 5’s, I’m not likely to reach for that book. That might be a book I’d get out of the library, although that doesn’t happen often. But when I’m buying a book, I only want to purchase something that I feel will become a new favorite. This means that ideally, I’d only like to buy my 4 and 5 stars reads. But before I read a book, I don’t know what I’ll rate it. So the only information I have to anticipate how I’ll feel about a book is the synopsis and other how other people enjoyed the book. A lot of the books that Goodreads recommended didn’t have very high ratings, so they weren’t useful to me in my quest to find a new book to purchase.

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Me to me about my focus on ratings

The second reason that Goodreads recommendations weren’t very useful to me, is that they don’t take into account what it is I liked about a book. Their recommendations are in no way personalized. They just compile a list of books that are in the same genre with some similarities. That’s why I usually value blogger or booktuber recommendations when I  search for the perfect book.

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What blogger recommendations have that Goodreads lacks

See, when bloggers recommend a book they usually give a little pitch or at the very least some sort of short explanation for why they loved a book and want you to read it. That pitch is very important to me because it highlights things that the synopsis might not mention or focus on. And since I pick my books mostly on content, having the insight from someone who has read and enjoyed a book helps me very easily decide whether or not a book is right for me. Many times I’ll read a wrap up and add a book to my TBR, just based on how a blogger is describing a book and how they felt. The only downside to this method is that I don’t always have blog posts on hand that feature several book recommendations in one place, and it can be a bit difficult to find said posts. But it definitely beats my final method of trying to figure out which book to purchase.

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This last method is lots of fun, but not very fruitful. You see, I tried looking on sites that sell books to see what they have to offer. So over the past week I’ve been on Barnes & Noble, Book Outlet, and yes, even Amazon, searching for a book that held my interest. And after weeding through the popular books that I already knew whether I wanted to read or not, I discovered that this particular method makes me a cover snob. Because I’m only going to look into a book more if the cover catches my eye first. So I’m sure I’ve turned down a few books based on the cover alone, that had I researched further, I may have enjoyed. And I do research these books further. As I mentioned earlier, rating distributions and the synopsis are very important to me and the only way a book can get around that background check is if they came personally recommended by a blogger I know and trust.

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Me to all the covers

Which is where you guys come in! I’m still searching for books to buy, since my research thus far hasn’t turned up anything that I’m interested in. You probably know what I like, you’ve seen my wrap ups, and tags, and discussions. And if you’re still unsure, I’m looking for cute contemporaries or romances, that aren’t angsty and don’t deal with super heavy topics. I’d love to hear your recommendations and will definitely be returning the favor with some recommendations in a future blog post, probably within the next week or so!

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 Do you have any recommendations for me? How do you normally find your newest read? Do you miss your library? What genre do you find most difficult to find recommendations for?

36 thoughts on “How Do You Discover New Books?

    1. Same here! The closer a book has to a 4/5 rating on Goodreads, the more likely I am to read it. I do find it interesting to look at the rating distributions though, because sometimes the book is just polarizing, so the average rating is close to 3 stars. But I agree, blogger opinions take top priority when it comes to choosing whether or not a book is right for me.

      Thank you! ❤

      Like

  1. Ahhhh a fellow rating snob! I always feel so bad because the book may be a Hidden Gem, but I just cannot get over what other people think.
    I have quite a few so I hope they are okay! Some may be a little angsty, but definitely not in the bUt I’m NoT pReTtY aNd I aM sO qUiRkY way.
    – Red, White and Royal Blue
    – Me Before You
    – Alex Approximately
    – Since You’ve Been Gone
    – Every Day
    – Simon vs.
    – Aristotle and Dante (quite philisophical and stuff)
    Sorry for the large list – I have no idea if you’ve read any of these but if not I hope they’re helpful!
    – Emma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! I’m so glad to have a rating snob buddy! I think the few times I’ve discovered hidden gems, I didn’t pay attention to the rating beforehand. Once I’ve already seen a rating, I’m pretty judgmental.

      Emma! You made me so happy with all of your recommendations! This is exactly the sort of list I was hoping to get! And you definitely were SPOT ON! Because I’m already read all of these and given most of them 4 or 5 stars! Red, White, & Royal Blue and Aristotle and Dante, are even favorites of mine that I purchased after reading because of how much I loved them!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you read Tweet Cute? That one has a tiny bit of drama, but it mostly just lives up to its title. So cute!

    If you’re a fan of 80’s movies, you might appreciate Pretty in Punxatawney and Freaky in Fresno—those are both light, breezy books without a lot of angst.

    Oh, and The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love was another one I found with a quick scan of my Goodreads!

    I totally agree with you about ratings, by the way. If it gets lots of three-star reviews it’s probably a no for me. And blogger reviews are definitely my top method of finding new books!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have in fact read Tweet Cute! I was on the blog tour, so I read it last year. I agree that it’s super cute!

        And though I honestly know nothing about 80’s culture, including popular movies from then, I’m still going to check out Pretty in Punxatawney and Freaky in Fresno! Light, breezy books without angst is exactly what I’m looking for right now!

        And I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone in my rating snobbishness!

        Nicole, thank you SO much for sending me that link! 💕 I saw so many of my underrated favorites on there, but more importantly I discovered some new books that I plan on buying now! It was definitely EXACTLY what I was looking for, so I appreciate that you took the time to come back to comment again and let me know about the post! ❤ Your comment and Sam’s post alone proves that blogger recommendations are the best way to find books!

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  3. I can completely relate to what you said about consulting Goodreads ratings for TBR recommendations– if a book has mixed ratings on Goodreads, I’m a lot less likely to pick it up than a book that has mostly positive feedback. With that said, I think one of the biggest ways I find books to read outside of seeing what books are popular around the book blogging community is the new reads shelf at my library. I’m usually unfamiliar with all of the titles there, but I’ll pick a cover that appeals to me most and see if it’s something that I would enjoy. :))

    claire @ clairefy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup! Goodreads is great at letting me know whether or not I’m likely to enjoy a book. Whenever I see a book with a high rating, I feel a lot more comfortable purchasing it, since I know there’s I good chance I’ll like it too!

      And I used to use my library to find new books. When I was in middle school, that was practicality the only way I found new books! But at this point I have such specific reading tastes, that I very rarely pick up random books. My urge to read the synopsis is too strong. So chances are if I see a book in the library, I’ve already heard of it and know whether or not I want to read it!

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  4. I do miss my library… except that now I get to keep all my overdues, haha. And I think I’m not going to feel the effect for awhile because I’m only reliant on it to get books I want that aren’t new releases. I largely rely on book bloggers and goodreads to find new reads, goodreads for their monthly suggestions from authors you’ve read before and bloggers particularly for any debuts and new authors I should check out. I think a genre that is hard to find recommendations for to me is the whole mystery/thriller realm, but for this I usually find new books by authors I’ve already read, as well as publisher email lists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m missing my library more and more, as I discover new books I want to read, but don’t necessarily want to buy. But the fact that I get to keep the library books that I currently have out for a few extra months, is definitely a plus! I just wish I had taken out a few more books beforehand!

      I’m honestly still not fully certain how I discover new books in general, but I think it’s mostly through bloggers. Normally, I add a book here or there to my Goodreads TBR when I see a book that looks interesting in someone’s post, but now when I’m specifically looking for new books, I’m surprised at how long it takes me to find something new that I’m interested in. I want a quick easy way to get all the recommendations possible, but that doesn’t seem to exist!

      I don’t tend to read mystery/thrillers. It’s funny though, because quite a few bloggers and booktubers that I follow read a lot of mystery/thrillers, so I get lots of recommendations for a genre that I never reach for!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. libraries are so good for books you wanna read but are unsure about buying! and haha it was fine for me but only because I always have way too many books out in comparison to the amount of time I have to read especially when you factor in additional reading like review copies/school. And that’s interesting, is there any reason in particular that you don’t really read mystery/thriller? I feel like for me I get a lot of YA contemporary recommendations that give me a sort of rom-com feel and while I think I would read them they’re less my thing than the tons of other books on my TBR so I don’t think I’ve really picked any of them up.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yup! I had only a handful of books out because I’m in school at the moment and was trying to be practical about what I could read in a given amount of time. For once practicality backfired!

          I don’t read mystery/thrillers because suspense makes me anxious, and therefore the experience of watching a mystery or thriller unfold is not a fun time for me whatsoever. Even on a small scale, I hate tense moments in books when you don’t know what’s going to happen, which is why I stick with genres that follow more predictable routes like contemporaries and romances.

          And I definitely do something similar where I prioritize the genres I love and adore, and only get around to the books in genres I don’t reach for as much every once in a while. Like right now I have quite a bit of fantasy on my TBR, and while I’ll probably get to those books eventually, I read them at a much slower rate. So while I read 5 or 6 contemporaries/romances each month, I only reach for a fantasy or sci-fi book every 2 or 3 months. So it’s much less likely that I’d read a recommendation from one of those genres.

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  5. love this post, malka! i think i mainly get my book recs from book blogs, goodreads reviews, or mentions on twitter. but i loved what you mentioned about the little pitch book bloggers tend to give when recommending books — it definitely offers more insight than what would be stated in the blurb! (i’ve also found that book recommendations from goodreads SUCK. the only good recs i’ll get from there are from gr reviewers i trust haha)

    as for some contemporary recs for you, i don’t know if you’ve read it but i love foolish hearts by emma mills! i just reread it earlier this month because i needed a fun happy book 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, May! I think I mostly get book recs from book blogs, and if I find a book I’m interested in from any other source, I verify with Goodreads ratings and reviews to make sure it’s actually something that I’d like. And yes! The book pitches are usually what sells me on a book! It’s why I prefer a blogger’s synopsis of a story to the publisher’s synopsis! I find that bloggers are much more creative and usually do a better job of making me want to read a book in just a sentence or two!

      And I very much agree! The recommendations page on Goodreads is absolute garbage. In my desperation to find new books I tried seeing if they had anything useful, but I found out pretty much immediately that their algorithm for comparing books is pretty terrible. I mostly spent my time on that page telling them I wasn’t interested in most of the books they thought would be something I’d adore, before I just gave up entirely and wrote this post!

      I actually haven’t read Foolish Hearts, even though I’ve read other books by Emma Mills before, I’ve heard from several people that this one is their favorite of hers! Now seems like the perfect time to actually pick up a copy and read it! I need something fun and happy! Thank you so much for the recommendation! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. omg, this post was incredibly relatable. I find it so disheartening when I buy a book and then I do not like it, because it feels as If I wasted my money. That is why now I usually do A LOT of research before buying a book. Also, I don’t easily trust Goodreads rating either. So many books I did not like had very high ratings and the opposite of that is also true.

    This was such an amazing post! ❤

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    1. Yay! I’m so happy to hear I’m not alone! That’s exactly how I feel! I get most books that I’m unsure about or haven’t researched much from the library, and then I usually only buy new releases from authors that I’ve previously read and enjoyed their books, or debuts that have great reviews and a synopsis I love! That way I usually end up loving the books I buy!

      On Goodreads, I tend to look at more than just the average rating, and glance at reviews and such as well. And while I’ve found that there are many books with high ratings that I dislike, there are very few books with low ratings that I love. But I know my reading tastes at this point, so I’m pretty good at judging which popular books sound like something I’d enjoy, and which ones will probably not be my cup of tea. So even for the books with high ratings that I dislike, those tend to be library reads, since I went into the book knowing there was a chance I wouldn’t enjoy it because of the synopsis.

      Thank you! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Malka, this is going to be HARD because I don’t do much fluffy. Even my contemporary preferences tend to skew darker. But I WILL TRY because you deserve some good books! I will also tell you, before I get to recommendations, that back before I knew about bloggers and such, I used to read the free Amazon excerpts of books, and that usually helped me- I hate excerpts now, but they helped a LOT when I was lost! (Especially since I could just buy the book right after if I was into it!)

    Okay some recommendations! Last night, I finished The Easy Part of Impossible and it was AWESOME. It was not dark, it dealt with some minor tough topics, but I don’t think anything that would be a total dealbreaker? The only trigger warning I’d give is that the MC’s coach physically harmed her, and while it is TOTALLY inappropriate, it wasn’t overly violent or anything. It is out a week from today!

    I’ll add: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers, Upside of Unrequited, The by Becky Albertalli, Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl, Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally.. actually it looks like I wrote a post about this once after I searched my blog for “fluffy” so here ya go! https://itstartsatmidnight.com/2018/04/fluffy-faves-for-the-non-fluff-reader/

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    1. I’m so appreciative that you took the time to recommend books to me! I feel like it’s so difficult to come up with books that aren’t in the predominant genre that you read, so the fact that you provided me with a whole list means a lot! 💕

      I think I’m pretty good at figuring out whether or not I’m interested in a book pretty much immediately, so excerpts aren’t that useful to me. My real struggle is discovering new books in the first place! Amazon kept recommending me popular books or books I had already read! Real people come up with way more creative options!

      It’s funny, because I’ve been following your blog for longer than I’ve been blogging, so I know for a fact that I’ve received some great recommendations from you in the past! And quite a few of the books I’ve read because of your blog involved water related activities, so I find it fitting that The Easy Part of Impossible follows a diver! Upon looking it up I think that cover is so striking! But since it seems a little darker, it feels more like a library book to me, so I put it on hold for whenever my library opens back up again. Right now I’m only buying books that are 93% fluff or more, since I already have a lot of books with tough topics on my TBR and need some cuteness to balance it! But the book sounds really good, so I definitely want to try it out eventually, thus the library hold!

      Truest looks perfect though, so I added that to Goodreads to remind myself to buy it whenever I make my next book order! I’ve already read Coming Up for Air and LOVED it, so you are on the mark with that recommendation! And when I looked at your Fluffy Faves, I had read most of the books there as well! (Although Lucky Few looked good, and I hadn’t read that one before!)

      Thank you, thank you once again for providing me with so many wonderful options! Just seeing how many books you mentioned in hopes that I’d find one I love warmed my heart. The fact that I’m actually interested in a few is a wonderful bonus to me! ❤

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  8. I love this post! ❤ I mostly find out about new books thanks to book bloggers and… well if a book gets lots of 3-stars ratings, I'm just like… meeeeeeeh. haha. You're not alone, let's be rating snobs together hahaha 🙂
    AH THE RECOMMENDATIONS oh god where to start, aerm…. I have a contemporary post recs coming up next sunday ahah, but off the top of my head I'd say emma mills' books are fantastic (foolish hearts is my favorite), small town hearts by lillie vale, anything morgan matson or jenn bennett writes, you know me well, it sounded better in my head, i wanna be where you are, heartstopper… hope this helps a bit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 💕 I’ve discovered so many great books from bloggers as well! And I’m glad to hear I have a rating snob buddy!

      I’m super behind at blog hopping, but I’ll definitely be checking out your contemporary recs post! I’m actually currently reading Foolish Hearts based on a previous recommendation! So far it’s been really good! And I’ve read about half of the other books you recommended! I especially love Jenn Bennett’s books, and I was so sad to hear that they pushed off the release of Chasing Lucky! I was really looking forward! And I read the first volume of Heartstopper, but I really need to catch up and read the other volumes! Those graphic novels are so cute! This was definitely helpful! Thank you! ❤

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  9. Where *don’t* I hear about new books would be more accurate… I do collections development at my library, so knowing about ALL the books is part of my job, but I’d probably be just as interested regardless 🤷‍♀️ Sources include: Book Riot (their newsletters are better than the site imo), NetGalley (I subscribe to their email blasts), The Millions and Literary Hub (websites), pub journals (Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus), Goodreads (I get the monthly newsletter), and also bloggers.

    And my recs are If I’m Being Honest (ya) and Waiting for Tom Hanks (adult).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always wondered how libraries discover new books to add to their collections! Your job sounds so cool!

      I’m on a lot of publisher email lists along with NetGalley and Goodreads emails, but I think I don’t pay them enough attention to actually learn about new books. I probably get a few recommendations from each source a year, but since I it’s not a consistent way for me to find books, I don’t think of those emails as a method of discovery. But now that you mention it, I have definitely checked out books because of an email I was sent! I think with those emails it’s usually about books that I add to my Goodreads TBR because they haven’t been published yet, and then another source such as a blogger, actually convinces me to get a copy and actually READ the book!

      I’ve actually read If I’m Being Honest last year and really enjoyed it, so that recommendation was spot on! And I’ve heard some things about Waiting for Tom Hanks, but I haven’t checked it out yet!

      Thank you so much for your recommendations, and for providing me with so many new sources to discover new books! 💕

      Like

  10. I’m a ratings snob, too! *guilty raise of hand*

    I tend to only truly enjoy books that have an average goodreads rating of over 4.4, so I’m very picky about what I buy. If it’s around 4.0, I might buy it, but anything under that has to be pushed by reviewers I trust or the author themself XD

    That’s also why I’m grateful for the joys of a library. Such a lovely low risk as it means I can immediately return books I hate.

    –Germaine ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in my rating snobbery!

      I’m a little more lenient, and I’ll take note of any thing above a 4.0. Anything below that cutoff, and even some books above that, I get from the library. I rarely buy books, but when I do it’s because it’s an author I love and/or a synopsis that sounds amazing, and of course, the ratings are good!

      Having a library for the books I’m unsure of is such a blessing! As you said, it’s super low risk, so I don’t have to worry about spending money on a book that I dislike from the start. I’ve had that happen to me a few times, and whenever it happens, I become even more grateful and reliant on my library than I was beforehand!

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