Blurbs for other titles in the back of books – Yay or nay?

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):

  • Cover
  • 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?

 

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12 thoughts on “Blurbs for other titles in the back of books – Yay or nay?

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  1. I AGREE – LOVE TO READ ABOUT OTHER BOOKS IN BACK OF THE BOOK I AM READING – NEVER KNOW WHAT JEWELL YOU WILL DISCOVER!

  2. I LOVE reading blurbs for other books (and books by the same author) at the end of a novel. I’ve noticed they are missing these days but suspect it’s because I read so many e-books. Amazon recommendations after I’ve finished an e-book just aren’t quite the same…

  3. I had to have a long think about this question. I admit I do feel cheated with an ebook when I think I still have a certain number of pages to go and find that they are advertising another book or have an extract.
    However with a book I tend to look and see that the last 20 pages are an extract and it then doesn’t concern me.
    Therefore I guess I ‘sit on the fence’ to a certain degree.

  4. I remember the mail order form in the back of the paperbacks! I haven’t seen one of those in ages. I did use those lists to find other books in the series way back when.

    I was lucky to have a big library in the towns where I grew up. There were always plenty of books on the new arrivals shelf and rows of stacks to browse. And now that I have goodreads and other bloggers’ recommendations, I find out about more books than I can possibly read.

    As for blurbs for other titles on the back cover, I hadn’t really noticed that they went missing. I grabbed a couple of newer books on my shelf and find mostly praise for the book itself.

    1. I used to use those lists to work out which Sweet Valley High/Twins books I hadn’t read. Fortunately I got stuck into The Babysitters Club fairly early on.

      I like to read the praise for the book before I’ve read the actual book, puts me in the right mindset to read it I find.

  5. I definitely enjoy reading extracts of other books at the conclusion of my reading; you never know what else you will find!!
    Interestingly, I have been re-reading new versions of old Jaqueline Wilson books for children I tutor, and the publishers not only advertise other, similar books, but list thought-provoking questions about the just-read narrative for the reader to consider. It’s great, because they do “bookclub questions” at the end of these kids books, making the kids think a bit more about what they read and form opinions.
    Wish more novels had this!

  6. I always enjoyed that, I remember there were a lot of those in the science fiction books I read.
    When I saw the title I thought you meant the cover blurbs – there it really annoys me. If I’m reading Book A by AuthorX, I don’t want to see a blurb on the cover that says “A magical read, AuthorX is truly a master of this genre – Praise for Book B”. (Then again, I could live without cover blurbs completely. If I’m already holding the book in my hands, I’ll be more interested in the synopsis anyway…)

    But yeah, the whole “other works (by this or other authors) you might enjoy” thing has lead me to discover a lot of great books I hadn’t heard about!

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