I remember when I was growing up that the books I read always had blurbs and spiels about other books in the back of them. Admittedly, this was at the time that I read such books as The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High and various Apple Scholastic paperbacks. It was also the time before the internet was for anything more than very special occasions and online shopping was non-existent. If you wanted to buy more Babysitters Club books, you simply ticked the ones you wanted, tore out the page (sacrilege!) and mailed it off with a cheque or money order. Sadly, as I was in Australia, this really wasn’t an option as most of these mail order books had American or UK addresses.
I did like to check off the books I’d already read though. It was also a good starting place for Christmas and birthday lists. As I lived in the country for some of this time (where the library was two shelves – I kid you not), there wasn’t a lot of ways you could learn about new books. I used to rely on Lucky/Arrow/Star book clubs (Ashton Scholastic) as my other source of reading about books.
Even now as an adult, when I get a new book I will read about it in the following order (even if I’m not planning to read the book right away):
- Back cover
- Front inside cover
- Back inside cover (not the ending, but about the author).
I realised recently that with many new books, there’s no ads/blurbs for other titles in the back of books. I love this – it’s a way of introducing me to new or old titles that I might have missed. For example, the Australian paperback of Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois (by Scribe) has a page devoted to Sufficient Grace by Amy Espeseth. I hadn’t heard about this title before and it sounds like something I’d want to read. Plus, it’s a good way for publishers to promote other books – I’m not certain of the cost, but it’s likely that the price of that extra page would offset someone buying the book advertised. Haruki Murakami’s books often describe his other titles in the back – as Murakami readers are often determined to read his entire back catalogue, is this preaching to the already converted?
Ebooks seem to be adding sample chapters and blurbs of other books at the end now. I notice that Destiny Romance often has sample chapters of other books by the same author and Escape Publishing has blurbs about other books they publish. Again, I find this a great way to find out more while moving very few muscles. However, a friend says that she feels ‘cheated’ when the eBook she bought ends at 95%. Do you feel this way? I don’t – there’s still words and I love reading about books as much as I enjoy actually reading them.
Are blurbs/advertisements for books in books redundant in the internet age or do you still love to read them?