This month’s topic was asking readers if they read book descriptions from authors whose books they blindly buy.

Louise: I read the description of every book I buy, not just those of favorites. Perhaps I shouldn’t since I’m sure I’ve missed some good books by being put off by the description. However, the description influences whether I choose to read the book or not. I have always done so, and I’m too old to change now.

MF: Yes, I always check the description and usually read the first chapter…they are expensive and I need to enjoy it and then re sell it

Loretta: I do not read reviews. I blindly buy the following authors: Kyle Mills/Vince Flynn, Lee Child, James Grisham, David Baldacci and Linda Castillo. I have a lot of favorite authors that I will check out and buy or sometimes wait for the paperback.

I have found a new author to add to my blindly buy list: Vince Milam – the author of the Case Lee novels. After reading the first novel, “The Suriname Job” I will read every one of his novels. It was instant like.

Laura: I read the descriptions of books even when I know I am going to purchase the book. I like the heads up on the story details. Sometimes it really makes me think about the scenario and has me wondering how the story will be fleshed out and looking forward to another chapter in a recurring character’s life. If a stand alone, it gives me a perspective of the world the author is building.

John: If it’s one of my favorite, favorite authors, e.g. Louise Penny, Donna Leon, Aaron Elkins, etc., then I don’t even read the description! I just need to know that it’s about the latest installment in the series. When I start the book In just begin cold, and allow all the events to unfold. I like finding out what’s happening at the same time as my characters. It makes me one of the squad. I also don’t watch the entire movie trailer, if I’ve determined that I want to see it. Inevitably, the studio will insert a scene that will give away too much! Stay safe, and keep the newsletters coming!

Christine: There are a lot of authors I’ll “blindly buy,” but the main reason I do it is that I know they’ll always provide me with a “keeper”–a book I’ll enjoy and want to add to my permanent collection. I’m much likelier to read the description if the author is someone I never heard of before!

Brian: The only time I read a synopsis of a book is if I haven’t read the author before. Authors I read on a regular basis I just read the book. I also never read the preview put in the back of a book of the next book in the series.

MBK: one author who’s new books I would buy blindly is British writer Tom Wood and his Victor the Assassin series. Wood doesn’t write often, but he is up to 9 in the series.

Two deceased authors I would buy blindly in the past were Hunter S Thompson and Michael Crichton. Crichton left us too soon. His books were always based on interesting, outside-the-box subjects (Jurassic Park, Westworld, Rising Sun, Disclosure, Prey), researched within an inch of their lives, and contained great story-telling.

And Hunter S Thompson, … well, he was just Hunter. –

Meg: The only books I have ever bought just because if the author are the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovitch. They are hilarious.

Otherwise, I’ve been burned too many times. Most recently, the latest Cleo Coyle Coffeehouse series 1-18 were great,
#19? B-O-R-I-N-G I can’t make myself go back and finish it….maybe I’ll try again at the beach this summer….maybe…

Kris: I usually do, because more often than not, I’ve had advance notice of the release that has had at least some hint of the plot. Some of them, I check the description to see if it is part of a series or is just revisiting characters from previous work. That said, I’ll also “blindly buy” a book because the cover appeals to me, even if I’ve never heard of the author. That happens most often in Sci-Fi and Fantasy books. Some of those covers are amazing. I am STUPIDLY excited for Guy Gavriel Kay’s new book next month, All the Seas of the World, because the cover is gorgeous!

Judi: Love your question – I was just thinking about exactly that yesterday. Some books, all I need to see is the author’s name and I dive in blindly, trusting that I will not only understand what is happening, but I will love it. There are a few authors that I preorder their books as soon as I hear about them. I don’t need to know anything else.

In case you are interested, some of those authors are, in no particular order
Todd Borg
Louise Penny
Deborah Crombie
Julia Sencer-Fleming
Spencer Quinn

Susan: In response to this month’s question, I have to say that I don’t read any book without reading a description first. I don’t read reviews, as too many spoilers lurk there. Even on the rare and delightful occasions when Jasper Fforde releases something new, I like to know the premise before I read, full knowing that I will read and love it no matter what I know in advance.

Cheryl: I don’t buy books but I do reserve or check out new releases of my favorite authors without reading the synopsis.

I too loved the Lewis Trilogy. I don’t know anyone else who has read it so am glad you are enjoying it.

I have other Peter May books on my to-read list. It is a very loooong list.

Barbara: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But more so yes after one of my favorite authors started writing in a genre I don’t much care for. I don’t much like fantasy, and I blindly bought the book but felt cheated when the book turned out to be fantasy. Now I am moreikely to read the description first.

Amanda: I always read the book description. Usually the blurb on a book by an author that I buy without question whets my appetite to start reading the book as soon as possible. But there have been exceptions to that rule of thumb. On occasion, an author decides to try out a new genre. More power to them! But I don’t want to be surprised that I’m reading a straight up fantasy novel when I was hungry for a murder mystery puzzle. Usually, I still buy the book, but put it on the TBR list. In the example, that would be my Fantasy TBR. On rare occasion, the description might keep me from buying the book, if it obviously has content that I am not a fan of. I appreciate trigger warnings for that reason. I want to know ahead of time and not be caught unprepared. (Thank you, authors who include them.)

Sean: Do you read the descriptions beforehand? For authors whose books you normally blindly buy – is the description ever going to change your mind and convince you not to buy the novel?

Sometimes… depends… There are a lot of authors I buy without reading the description. I loyally read all the books by the authors I really enjoy.

No, the description won’t change that. The description is a few sentences about the entire book, and like the cover, it isn’t the book.

Linnea: I will blindly listen to any Inspector Gamache book by Louise Penny. I may read the description, but it doesn’t matter what it says. I know that I will enjoy whatever plot is presented. I love reading about the history of Montreal and Quebec, and there is always background history and facts contained in every book. I’m on #8 of the series and can’t wait to find out “who dunnit”. The narrator, Ralph Cosham, is excellent, and we all know how important that is to those of us who listen to books rather than read them. I will step out of order with my next read, “State of Terror” by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny and then back to #9.

Jessica: I normally read books descriptions, but with Kent Wayne’s first book Approaching Shatter (Echo Vol.1), I had no real idea what it was about. He writes crazy ads for his books on his blog. But he had a free giveaway and I jump at the change to get it. I loved it and the other book in the series. But if I had read the description I probably wouldn’t have given it a chance.

AJ: For an author I blindly buy, I rarely read the description, because so many times I find it misleading and I read the whole book waiting for something that is never going to happen and it makes it hard to just enjoy the story. I greatly prefer books that are part of a series, so even if the book isn’t the greatest I’m going to read it to keep up on any developments that may be important in the next one.

Vince: Without question, whatever J.A. Konrath releases, I’m in. I especially love his Jack Daniels series but at this point, he has proven to me that whatever he writes, it’s gonna be a good read and I don’t think twice about spending my money on his work.

Linda: Somehow I missed out on the question about reading a book first or the movie. My answer would have been both. Most of the time I have already read a book and then they decide to put it in a movie. Sometimes I see a movie and want to go back and read the book, because in my opinion the book is always better than the movie. There was a book about a family living in a lighthouse that when I read the book, I could not wait for the movie version. Then I was disappointed, because there was no way the movie could convey what the book did. Can’t remember the name? Anyone? Now for this month’s question. Do I read books blindly without reading the description. Answer if it is one of my favorite authors, absolutely yes. I never question my favorites. Now every once in awhile I will see a book whose title alone interests me and I buy it without reading the description, but not usually. Now for my review this month. “Never” by Follett. What a terrific book. So timely and so good. I also read the Bree Taggert series by Melinda Leigh. As usual fell in love with her characters. I like her books, never too deep and always just a good little mystery. Now I am muddling through “State Of Terror” by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penney. Too much Clinton and too little Penney. Very topical and even funny in places as the Secretary of State trashes the former president. Think she is referring to Biden, not Trump as the character is not Donald but clearly Joe. Not saying it is a great book, but good. Worth finishing. Thanks for a good newsletter and happy visiting with your relatives. Happy spring.

Carole: If it’s an author I like to read, I may glance at the description but usually choose without much research. For new or unfamiliar authors I will read the description and may check out a few reviews.

Don: I almost never read the description first.

I also have never seen a Movie as Good as the Book. I would be interested if others have seen the reverse.

Pat: Regarding the question about whether I read the description on a book of an author I “blindly buy”. No, if I am blindly buying an author, it’s because I trust them to have a great book. I might read the description before starting the book, but it isn’t a prerequisite to buying the book.

Jerry: I will buy any new work by Thomas Perry, albeit some as e-publicaions only.

Kat: i dont read the description if its part of a series i like
but if i dont know the author, i will read enough to see what its about
i dont like to read too much of it

Renni: Without a doubt – I buy the author and the character. There are a few times I’ve been disappointed
with a new lead character (by a favorite author) and I have not purchased a subsequent book in that series.
But, I’ve rarely been disappointed when purchasing a book with a favorite character by a favorite author,
I do it blindly and I don’t read the description beforehand.

Vicki: Do I read the description of books of authors I blindly buy? It depends on the author.

I blindly buy Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs books and Anne Perry’s William Monk books. I don’t tend to read the description because I already know those worlds and don’t want to spoil my anticipation.

Others, like John Scalzi, I usually read the description. Although he writes science fiction, sometimes it’s space opera (The Old Man’s War series), other times it’s realistic current science fiction, e.g. Locked In, and sometimes it’s pure humor, e.g. Red Shirts. I like to know which way he’s headed each time.

With some authors I read the description because I’m waiting for the release and am excited to know what will happen – Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changling series falls into that category.

Of course there are those times when I don’t read the description, am immediately lost trying to understand the story, and go back to the book description to get a basic understanding of what is happening, like you mentioned. Of course that doesn’t always help, either. Cloud Atlas comes to mind there.

Mary: Do I read book descfiptions! I have to! I never remember titles. Usually could not tell you what I am listening to now, though I almost always do know which author. So I need to read the description before making a decision to purchase or borrow my next audiobook. As I write this it seems to me that having read the description gets me more comfortably into the story as well.

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Reading Descriptions of “Blindly Buy” Authors

2 Responses to “Reader Mailbag: Reading Descriptions of “Blindly Buy” Authors”

  1. Mimi: 2 years ago

    I keep a list of upcoming new books by author and download it as soon as it’s available. I think I’m going to be less faithful to my favourites because some of them to me seem to be writing just to fulfill a contract. Case in point: Dream Town by David Baldacci. Who do I see about a refund?


    • Graeme: 2 years ago

      You could contact wherever you purchased it from about a refund.


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