Thursday, August 29, 2013

If you read the following, would your curiosity be piqued?
"Spellbinding complexity.  Deep, dark & intense."
Does that sound like the kind of book you'd be interested in? Or does that sound rather generic to you?

What if I told you that those words were referring to coffee?  Don't believe me?  Behold:

I was in the break room at work the other day, waiting on my coffee to brew, and I happened to glance at a box of coffee next to the coffee maker.  And on the front lip, it said verbatim:  "Spellbinding complexity. Deep dark & intense."  (Coffee wasn't even mentioned on the box, though it is in the description on the website.)  And I thought to myself, that could be any number of books I've read.  In fact, it rather sounds like a blurb, telling you nothing but making it sound good all the same.

Well, that's how I personally feel about blurbs, anyway.  A book blurb means very little to me these days.  I used to be of the mind that my favorite authors would only blurb books that were similar to theirs or that would at least appeal to fans of their books, but now it seems like any and all authors' opinions are up for grabs, no matter the book's content.

In essence, a blurb is just further promotion for a book.  It's purpose is to entice the reader, either by what is said or because of who is saying it.  And that may work on some people, but I've never considered purchasing a book based on a blurb and vice versa.  If I had let a blurb effect my buying/reading decisions, I never would have picked up All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, and I would have missed out on a fantastic time travel story:

 photo e966eb04-da91-4856-88ed-69e99173a265_zps693ecbc6.jpg

Honestly, what the blurb says is pretty true, and I'll admit it, I read Becca Fitzpatrick's books.  And I liked them in the beginning, despite the stalker-like tendencies of the male lead.  But I know better now.  I'd like to say I'm much better read now, and that kind of story just doesn't cut it for me anymore, which is probably why I still haven't finished that series.  And I could have let the fact that this author blurbed a book that I was seriously interested in reading affect my decision to pick up the story, but I didn't.

Because blurbs mean zilch, nada, nothing to me.  They provide no useful service to me.  Their pretty, flowery words have zero effect on me and my reading decisions.  In fact, they kind of annoy me because it seems like they're trying too hard.

So, where do you stand on book blurbs?  Do you find them helpful when considering a new read?  Are they even remotely effective at selling you a book?


  1. I find blurbs helpful but often times the blurb focuses on such a small part of the book that once I read it it doesn't seem anything like the blurb.

  2. I mostly don't read blurbs, I'm more focused on the description/synopsis. If there's a tagline at the top, I mostly skip that without even realizing it (I tend to ignore headlines and stuff written in bold, and I know that sounds strange).
    If there's a blurb by an author I really like and respect, I might take a chance on a book that has left me unsure with only the description. But I'd never by one solely on the basis of a blurb, because as you said, mostly they mean nothing. Especially if they're just a couple promotion-sentences about the book that are not by another author.
    What I HATE though is if there are only blurbs/review excerpts on the back cover of a book!! I want to know what it's about, not what some person I don't even know thought of it!
    Also, these reviews/blurbs all sound pretty much the same and it's obvious they wouldn't put bad ones on there.

    P.S.: sorry for the long comment ^^' And I'd have some of that coffee ;)

  3. That coffee 'blurb' is hilarious because it is so generic that you wouldn't guess coffee. I honestly don't pay attention to author's blurbing on the cover of books. It's very rare if I do.

  4. I love the coffee blurb. What great inspiration for a post.

    I never read blurbs. I really couldn't care less about them. I'm more likely to read the summary, and check out reviews, even if they are like long, drawn out blurbs sometimes.

  5. I rarely read the book blurb because I don't find them extremely helpful. It doesn't make me want to buy it. The synopsis (and the author) is usually what makes or breaks the book for me. I want the book to speak for itself, not have blurbs that clutter the beautiful cover art.

    And most of the times, the blurbs are terrible. On the paperback version of If I Stay by Gayle Forman, the blurb actually says, "Will appeal to fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight." That's an extremely misleading blurb because it seems to suggest that If I Stay and Twilight are similar books when it is totally not. And, if I had read that blurb, I wouldn't have picked up If I Stay. A lot of the times, I feel like whoever wrote the blurb did not read the book at all and they're just grasping at really popular YA books.

  6. I drink Dark Magic sometimes. It's yummy. I also just don't care at all about blurbs and rarely pay attention to what they say or who is saying it. Fun post!

  7. I find I'm more likely to read the blurbs of YA books. There was one instance where I deliberately avoided a book because Veronica Roth had a blurb on the front cover, and I hate her books. I figured if she enjoyed this book, I definitely wouldn't.

  8. I find book blurbs helpful as a first step screening a book and I'll certainly use them when just wandering the library. The majority of the time I'll also read reviews though, since book blurbs can be misleading and obviously only share the good things :)


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