How do I decide which books to buy?

I was wandering my local Barnes and Noble on Sunday when I was asked this question. I thought about it. Then thought some more and realized I have no idea.

That’s only partially true. If I’m reading a series I’m enjoying, then I just continue. There’s the Amazon list of 100 books everyone should read. Sometimes there’s a ton of hype surrounding a book. Some are heavily recommended. And most rarely I’ll just find myself in the bookstore waiting for something to catch my eye. All this to say I have no set way of deciding which books to buy. This likely explains why I have so many books I haven’t yet read. I buy them in a moment of interest and then once the moment passes, so does my willingness to read them.

How do you decide which books to buy?

“The Hill We Climb” out today

During the inauguration of President Joe Biden Amanda Gorman just about stunned all of us with her inaugural poem. It was the first time (myself included) many had heard her name. As announced shortly after her reading, her inaugural poem is now available in book form today. Talking to someone last night I realized I don’t read poetry. But there’s no specific reason why I don’t. Amanda may just change that when a collection of her poems released later this year.

Do you have a favorite poet or poetry collection?

Amazon can sell whatever it chooses to

Last week there was a bit of “uproar” over Amazon’s decision to no longer sell certain books on its platform. Several US Senators had sent a letter requesting additional information regarding this decision. Amazon’s lengthy response stated rather clearly that the company would no longer sell books that label LGBTQ identity as mental illness.

Personally speaking, this is another great move within the book industry. Knowing books like that are being written reminds me of where we were as a society a hundred years ago when seemingly every ailment or condition was treated as a mental illness.

But that’s also not the point. The point is Amazon is a retailer. Retailers decide what they will or won’t sell on their platform. Every retailer makes this decision. So it should come as no surprise that Amazon made a decision about products listed on its site, though many would have you believe this is akin to censorship. If I own a bookstore down the street and decide to only sell romance novels or audiobooks or erotica, that’s my choice. Just like it’s Amazon’s choice here.

Dr. Seuss did what kind of sales numbers last week?

Last week it was announced almost out of nowhere that several books published by the prolific author would no longer be published because of racist stereotypes. I remember reading an article the following day that showed his books taking half the top 50 slots on Amazon’s charts. That’s insane.

Now I’ve just read an article that says his book sales quadrupled last week. I mean, what? It seems many people think there’s a possibility that this may happen to some other titles, so they’re buying and buying and buying his books before it happens. People can spend their money however they’d like, but this comes across as a bit tone deaf. Rather than acknowledging that he likely has other titles that may be problematic, it seems everyone is just buying the books as quickly as they can.