How readers choose books

“When it comes to choosing books to read, the majority of our decisions are based on heuristics of one sort or another, including:

cover design
imprint or publisher
friends’ recommendations
star ratings
whether it’s part of series
plot summary
endorsements from other authors
date it was published
quotes from the book
paper quality (for print books)
photo of the author
interviews with the author

The problem is, many of these heuristics are flawed.

Let’s get down and dirty with what really matters in a book: The words and whether they speak to us. The only real way we can choose between books is to begin to read them, and if publishers want us to fall in love with their books, they have to make at least the first chapter available for free online.”


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