Buying Books in the Digital Age

Sometime last week I read an article that made me think about my book buying habits.  The article, which can be found here, reports that "new research shows that frequent book buyers visit sites like Pinterest and Goodreads regularly, but those visits fail to drive actual book purchases."  While I can't speak for anyone else, as someone who uses both Goodreads and Pinterest, I know I contribute to the non-book-buying statistics associated with these two popular sites.  

I may browse the books my friends are talking about, but I don't necessarily rush out to buy them.  The reasons vary.  First, while I can appreciate their enjoyment of a certain genre or author, I may not share their enthusiasm. Sometimes, though, I am intrigued and I have every intention of reading the book, but I'm a little short on funds at that exact moment.  This is when I add the title to my Goodreads bookshelf entitled "want-to-buy".  Take "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" for instance.  I don't know that I would have added this particular title to my "want-to-buy" shelf if not for a friend's positive review

I also use this bookshelf to keep track of the books I'm missing in my myriad collections.  The screen shot below shows two such books.  While I have most of the Anne of Green Gables books, I still need to pick up #7.   The same goes for the Xanth series by Piers Anthony; I have a great many gaps there with #23 being only one of them.  

iPhone Screen Shot 
Now, I wouldn't track this information if I didn't intend to use it.  And use it I do.  I have pulled my phone out multiple times when visiting my local B&N store.  It has aided me in picking up something I know has already met with good reviews, making me feel as if I'm taking less of a gamble than I might have otherwise done.  It has also helped me fill in some of the gaps in my series collections. 

Of course, the trick is to make sure I keep the bookshelves up-to-date.  If I forget to remove a purchase from the "want-to-buy" shelf, I may unintentionally duplicate a sale, which may not bother the publisher but certainly irritates me!