Lessons Learned: Finding Good Reads

Last weekend Jared and I were at Barnes & Noble and I had two books in my hands that I was eager to purchase, after having only read the back-cover-blurb and drooling over the gorgeous covers. Honestly, I'm usually the type of gal who buys books like some girls buy shoes. Anyways, digression aside. Jared asked me if I'd mind just hanging out in the B&N for an hour or so just so we could grab a table with two chairs and peruse through the books that we had our eyes on before throwing down some hard earned Andrew Jackson's on them.

I'm really glad we did too, because those books that were oh-so-tempting before...the ones that I was going to purchase on sight and blurb alone...weren't so tempting after I had read through the first two chapters of each book. I actually found that the writing style and story in both of the books really weren't what I wanted to splurge my monies on after all.

Tip #1 from J.T. Fisher

I clearly saved myself about $20+ on books by taking the time to sit down and read through the books that I was dead-set on purchasing. READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS OF EVERY BOOK, ALWAYS. Lesson learned. 


Did you know that you can log onto Amazon and read the first chapter of most books that are for sale? Yeah, I didn't really pay attention to this feature provided (graciously) for us on Amazon either until just recently, but just like plopping down in a chair at B&N, reading the first free e-chapter of books online can save you money and keep your bookshelf from buckling under the weight of books that looked enticing, but are ones that you'll probably never read if you're honest with yourself. Go. Check. It. Out. 

Tip #2 from Sarah Elizabeth:
BOOKS are an INVESTMENTSo why not treat them that way?

We really should research books a bit better before we purchase them. If we'd do this more often we'd save more time, effort and money. Believe you me, I cannot count the times that I've bought a book because I thought it was gonna be a good read only to take it to the used bookstore to trade it in a few months later. 

You can prevent bulging bookshelves by checking out your local Library, searching for FREE eBooks on Amazon.com for your e-reader and taking the time to read through books at any bookstore, used or not used, before buying them. Also, consider weighing whether or not you'd actually want to re-read the book you're looking into buying in the future before you do.

Tip #3 from Sarah Elizabeth:

Seriously, check out the author. You'll learn a lot about their writing style, their morals and "writing character/voice" just from reading about them on their website or blog. Try seeking to learn a bit more about the types of books that they write and whether or not they'd really be something (or someone) you'd like to support by buying their books. Reading customer/book blogger reviews on books is a great way to find out if a book will interest you or not. I love checking out book blogs for reviews on tons of fiction and non-fiction books alike. There are so many book bloggers out there too! 

Here Are Some of My Favorite Book Bloggers (in no particular order):

Tip #4 from Sarah Elizabeth:
Find a PUBLISHER and REVIEW BOOKS for them.

There are quite a few publishers out there who will gladly send you ARC (advance reader copy) books for FREE. All that is required of you is that you 1) have a blog 2) are willing to write a review about the book and post it on their website and on your personal blog, as well as a few different places online (think Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Goodreads, etc.) 

Here Are Some Publishers or Groups That Have Book Review Programs:

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing ((Blogging for Books))
Thomas Nelson Publishers ((Booksneeze))

*If you know of any others feel free to mention them in the comments section*

Tip #5 from Sarah Elizabeth:
Enter BOOK GIVEAWAY'S weekly.

I have won many books this way. All you have to do, typically, is find your way onto a book blogger's site. They give away books all the time, especially if they are voracious readers who review books for multiple publishers. They usually will require that you follow their blog via GFC or e-mail, leave them a comment, tweet/facebook about their giveaway or answer a question that they've posed to their readers. This is a great way to snag some great reads! Now, as a common courtesy I do not enter into drawings for books that I know I don't really have any intention of ever reading. I feel like if I did just enter into every giveaway I saw that it might take away the chance for someone to win the book that would have really enjoyed the book more than me, you know?

To Recap On This Post BELOW Are Some Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Even Consider Buying A Book The Next Time You're Out Book Hunting:

Did I take the time to read through the entire first two chapters? Is it worth my time?

Is this a book I know I'll want to read again someday for myself, or to my children?

What are book bloggers saying about the title I'm interested in learning more about?

Could I find this book at a used bookstore, or on a book bloggers book swap forum/post?

Could I borrow this book from a Library or a friend instead of spending oodles of cash on it? 

Are there any publishers that I could get books from in exchange for writing a review for them?

*note that all of the images from this post can be found via my all about story Pinterest board*


  1. I also am a part of the booksneeze program {Thomas Nelson Publishers}http://booksneeze.com/ And they are fun! Great tips!

  2. Thanks for the tips...I should definitely use that on the secular books I read. If I don't love the first two chapters, bye bye :) I usually only buy christian books, but this could still be applied to checking out books from the library ;) Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Because You Are!)

  3. Fantastic post! I would save so much money and bookshelf space if I held myself to these tips. And I think this would help get rid of the "I still haven't read that book I bought forever ago" guilt ;)

  4. Great tips! I usually shop used book stores and walk out with whatever looks interesting, only to get home and find I've spent hard-earned cash on a mediocre read. Disappointing. I will try to remember your suggestion to treat any future books like an investment. I'm sure my bookshelves and bank account will thank me!

    Thanks so much for sharing this post! :)

  5. Those are some great suggestions! I often shop at used bookstores and walk out with books that sound interesting, but turn out to be a mediocre read. Disappointing. I'll try to remember your suggestion to treat my future books like an investment. I'm sure my bookshelves and bank account will thank me for it!

    Thanks so much for sharing this post! :D

  6. Jarah tested, Jarah approved! Good to see people are picking up these tips and tricks.

  7. Thank you for mentioning me! :)