Finding Books

I’m sure I’ve asked this before, and I’m sure many of my Bandita sisters have asked it, too 🙂

But… Where do you find books?ne books2

Where do you look for new authors, or to hear that books are out by authors you like?  In the dark ages, oh, you know, ten or so years ago, I relied on my bookstore.  A trip to the local bookstore was a family outing.  We’d hit those doors and scatter, all in search of books, books and more books.  I kept up with my favorite author releases either through their website (yes, they had websites in the dark ages) or in a notebook I kept in my purse. Whenever I finished a book by a favorite author that had an excerpt at the end or mentioned an upcoming release,  I’d note down the release dates in that notebook so I could get the book when I hit the store.  But even with favorites coming out, I’d still cruise those shelves.  I’d pull out the book, read the back cover blurb, look over the cover.  Maybe check out the inside excerpt (I never read the first page -I’d have to read to the last page if I did *g*)  and find new authors that way.

Now, I realize this was an imperfect method.  So many books didn’t make it to my particular bookstore, or might have been grabbed up and bought before my visit.  So I probably missed out on some great books or some possibly new favorite authors.

But in the new ages, lo and behold, my favorite local bookstore has closed (sob) and I’m spending way more time online than off. So this is where I find my books.  I always ask readers how they find theirs for two reasons.  One, their way of finding books and authors might click for me and I’d hate to miss out on a click.  And two, I’m an author LOL  And as an author, I really, really want to make it easy for readers who might love my store to find me.

The top Book Finding options I’ve heard are in the last year or so are:

  • Friend’s recommendations (in person, face to face, I know them friend)
  • An online ‘friend’ recommendation (this includes blogs, social networks and reader groups)
  • Favorite authors’ newsletters
  • Reader newsletters such as Fresh Fiction, etc
  • Goodreads
  • Browsing the genres in the online bookstores

I can get on board with a lot of those, although some have no influence on me at all 🙂

But now there’s a new app dedicated to finding Romance Novels.  The Novel Engagement app from Romance Writers of America


There are five main sections to the app: Books, Authors, Events, Reader Zone, and More.  It also has advanced search features, marking books as favorites, to be read, and read, and so much more!ne screen

I got so many kinds of excited about this, because I’m a geek from the word go.  So anything techie makes me go ‘oooooh’ and want.  I’m not good at fixing techie things, am not even great at installing or understanding the workings of them. But if it’s techie, I love it.

But that’s me. And as I’ve had to painfully accept over recent years… not everyone does things like I do. So as much as I love this  app and think it’s the next best thing since my (sob) now closed local bookstore, I figured I’d ask you…

How do you find books? What’s your top go-to way to get author news? Would you use an app like Novel Engagement?  

I can’t be the only one who gets giddy over this, can I?



  • Jane says:

    Hello Tawny,
    I still go to the library to browse the shelves or their online catalog, but I get most recommendation online from various blogs and review sites. I also sign up for many author newsletters and this lets me know when a new release is out from my favorite authors.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Hi Jane 🙂

      I love the library’s online catalog! Its my go-to for finding research material but I never remember it for finding fiction, though. Great reminder 🙂

      Awesome that you get so many author newsletters. Thats one of my favorite ways to share news with readers so it’s always nice to know people like them 🙂

  • ki pha says:

    I find books from Goodreads and Amazon searches, from blogs and author recs, and Reviews. Of course author newsletters is a huge one too, and from FB. Online friends has been huge in the recommended section and from reader groups. But then I also love going to the bookstore and finding new books down the aisle.

    Would I use an app like Novel Engagement? Not sure. I’m trying to lower my TBR list not gain more. LOL Just kidding.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      What? Lower your TBR pile? I don’t understand those words LOL

      You have some awesome go-to resources. I know a lot of people love Goodreads as a resource. and I love that you check out reviews. I often read reviews after I’ve read a book or watched a movie and wonder if we read the same book! Do you tend to agree with reviews, or have you found reviewers whose taste is similar to yours so you know you like their taste?

  • Helen says:

    Hi Tawny

    I have to say your list and mine are the same LOL and yes I would use this new app we were looking at it on the weekend after our romance reader get together coming home on the train and WOW I think it is awesome I must get it downloaded on my tablet although it does scare me a little LOL because of the massive TBR pile I already have and I am off to RWAust this weekend and I am sure I am going to come home with more books to read I have to retire the I would be so happy 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Helen – have a wonderful time this weekend! I’m sure you will 🙂 I hope your TBR pile is teetering with joy when you get home LOL

      One of the things I’m loving about the app (I put it on my iPad) is that it’s so easy to track favorites and to see if authors have upcoming events I could attend.

  • Mozette says:

    Wellll… I do have My Reading List blog which has the biggest list of official author websites around! And that list is growing every month! So, keep looking at it!

    I also hunt for books at my craft group – as the ladies read books like people change underwear. Then, I go out to ‘The Really Good Book Shop’ at Browns Plains… this place is amazing! It’s wall to wall, floor to ceiling books! When you go inside first time, your jaw just hits the floor and you’re not really sure where to look or what to do… but after a few visits, you get the idea… it’s second-hand and it’s got a great vibe too! The best thing is; this place is a book exchange!!! Very cool!

    I’m also a Bookcrosser… man, just when I thought collecting books was just a hobby… it got to be online too. I started off with about 100 books when I moved out of home… now, almost 13 years later and my home office is chock full of around 1,000+ books! I couldn’t tell you exactly how many books I have, because I keep losing count! 😀 But a lot of my friends tell me that I have a great resource library and I have loaned out some books to a friend for research purposes when he couldn’t find them anywhere else for his fantasy novel… he loves what I’ve come up with! 😀

    So, there you go… my resources for books and where I get them from… besides the usual chains of bookstores. 🙂

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Mozette that’s so cool that you have so many books right there at your fingertips 🙂

      But I have to say I’m having major bookstore envy reading about ‘The Really Good Book Shop’ It sounds like reader heaven. There’s nothing I love more than a huge bookstore.

  • sandyg265 says:

    I follow several blogs that feature new releases in genres that I like. But I also browse the shelves at the library, and we have a used bookstore nearby.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Hi Sandy 🙂

      Woot- a blog hopper. Its great to know blogs are still being read *g* I know I check them out daily so I’m always baffled when people say blogging isn’t the hot thing anymore.

  • Susan Sey says:

    I’ll admit, I have a totally unscientific process. Mostly it’s word of mouth & browsing. If I see an author name that rings a bell, I’ll be like, “Okay, let’s see what the hype’s about.”

    Or if I’m browsing & see a beautiful cover, I’ll read a page or two. If the internal quality matches the external, I’m in.

    But lately, I’ve been comfort reading, which means I’m not reading anything new at all. Just re-reading some old favorites. I just spent the better part of this past year re-reading JD Robb’s IN DEATH series. And man, it is still just as good as it always has been. That woman’s a damn machine.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Susan, I do that, too! The comfort read cave is so, well, comfy *g* A few times a year I’ll dive in and just remind myself of why I love romances by re-reading my favorites, and Nora is always at the top of that list. I haven’t started from the beginning on the In Death series in awhile, though. Hmm, that sounds fun 😉

  • Amy Conley says:

    Tawmy, is that a free app? OMG I can’t believe you posted that and didn’t tell us. No worries as soon as I’m done here I’ll be downloading that app.

    How do I find new authors? Well, since I’ve been an Avon Addict, I’ve found tons of new-to-me authors. Even thougb I was in group 1, we still get books, and our choice of ARCs.

    Before computers I would go to the library and before we had our library, the bookmobile. (See, we really do live in the boonnies.)

    But my number one place to get books, in the good old days…yard sales! And if I found an author I really liked, on those occasions when we would go to the city, forget clothes, shoes, purses, I just wanted to go to the bookstore.

    • Amy Conley says:

      Shared on fb 😀

    • Tawny Weber says:

      LOL I’m so glad you’re excited about the app, Amy! I was excited when it came out but was going to wait until it was available for the web but I couldn’t hold off sharing any longer. But there will be a version for online browsing and for the Nook/Kindle soon for anyone who doesn’t use smartphones. Yay, right?

      LOL oh yay on the bookmobile. I love yardsales, too – they were my favorite treat as a kid for finding tons of books.

  • catslady says:

    I don’t have a smart phone so the App is out. I find books everywhere. I go to review sites, blogs and enter contests. We have a store that sells used books and our American Legion just set up an area with some bookshelves. You take what you want and give back when you want. And then of course there is Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      The app will be available for website browsing soon 😉

      Awesome resources! I especially love that your American Legion has their own book nook share option.

      And, of course, Amazon and Barnes & Noble 😉

  • I don’t have a smartphone, but I do have a new tablet so I will be downloading the app to that if I can.

    I make certain I receive any and all newsletters from authors I already love. I check out Goodreads. I love stopping by blogs when new authors are appearing as I find new authors to read when they do. I get recommendations from friends. Sometimes Amazon (aka The Great Satan) actually recommends new authors to me that I actually like!

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Woot, yay Louisa 🙂 I have the app on my tablet so I’m pretty sure it’s doable. I hope you enjoy it.

      ROFL at The Great Satan… oh, the temptations offered, right? They do have an amazing way of tracking our purchases and matching us up with similar style stories.

      You have a great set of book-finding resources! Many of mine are similar, except I do avoid Goodreads in general because it’s hard to be on there as an author.

  • Tawny, it’s an interesting question, isn’t it? I think I’m probably nowhere near as adventurous in my reading as I used to be. Somewhere I would give a new author a try was at a library – if I liked the author, I’d end up buying all the books anyway. But these days, I’m nowhere near a library so that’s gone west. And as you say, bookshops are getting rarer than hen’s teeth. There’s a couple of people’s recommendations I trust – Janga who reviews for the Romance Dish and I seem to share similar tastes and she’s put me onto some wonderful mystery series in particular. My friends often lend me books by new authors and that’s given me a lot of new people to try. I have to say when something’s the latest craze like 50 Shades or Twilight, I tend to get so sick of hearing about the books that I never read them – still have never read either of those.

    • Tawny Weber says:

      Hi Fo 🙂

      Oh, yeah… I hear you on being less adventurous. I wonder if its because we write or because we’re busy with deadlines so often that our reading time is limited? Or is there some other factor at work… Hmmmm 😉

      Oh man, I’m so the same on the fad/crazes! Nor have I read those, and I’m sure I won’t. My daughter tried to read Twilight but it was so, um, not what she’d hoped, that she gave up.

    • Anna, we held off reading Harry Potter because it was such a craze. Only after a friend practically stood over us and banged us in the head with the book did we concede. And we loved the series, of course!

  • Shannon says:

    My friends at work read serious books, right now the favorite is about Boyd and OODA loops. They’re trying to get me to read Robert Gates book about being secretary of defense. So unless I want serious, I don’t go to them.

    My main source of books are probably Amazon recommendations based on my buying and blogs. Goodreads confuses me.

    There are times I am skeptical of reviews on Amazon. If there’s only 5-7 reviews and all of them are really good reviews, I am extremely skeptical. There was one book that that small number raved about. It was one step above awful. The romance made little sense, even in a historical context, in that they were together and then they were not and then together, several more times. It had a plot line that the hero was jealous but then nothing happened. Feeling. Done. Then there was the head hopping. And finally the typos; I am a terrible proofreader so if I notice errors, it’s pretty unusual. Tired of was tired off. There instead of their. I Need I continue?

    Blogs are my favorite way to discover books. I am especially fond of the what I read this month blogs where people don’t review the books but do put out a blurb of why they liked, say “great worldbuilding for a steampunk novel.”

    The most interesting recommendation I saw lately was a major writer (very major and auto-buy author for me) listing her three books for August reading. Yes, two more books for my TBR.

  • Hi, Tawny–

    I think this new romance app could be a good thing once more people learn about it. Right now, its reach is limited.

    I’m kind of entrenched in my habits of looking at RT or browsing authors’ sites to see what they have coming up. Of course, I didn’t used to text, either, and now I do. And I totally fell in love with the Dragon*Con mobile app last year. Have already downloaded this year’s even though it constantly flashes alerts that it’s incomplete. The schedule isn’t up yet, and featured guests are still turning up.

    So I expect I’ll be using apps more and more for such things.

  • Cassondra says:

    Tawny, I have been curious about this app since RWA announced it, but I have not explored it at all. I am still sort of a dinosaur when it comes to anything that is “app like”. I use Couch-2-5K for exercise, but I use it only to keep the time and tell me when to do what (run/walk, etc) I have bejeweled on my phone for emergencies when I’m stuck somewhere and all else fails (no book, no laptop, etc) and I have some brainwave apps that I paid for that I don’t use because they make me sick or give me headaches. That’s as far as I’ve gotten with apps (though I do want a Magic Eight Ball app and the one where you can punch the little bear in the belly or tickle him on the screen because hey…fun!)

    When my book comes out I’ll need to get a square, so that’ll be an app I’ll be FORCED to learn (not looking forward to the learning curve).

    If I approach an app knowing it’s going to work if I go through the learning curve, I’m generally okay with it as long as I’ve had good reports from people I trust. I’m almost never on the front end of learning this stuff, and with Novel Engagement, I feel like I might be losing out.

    I’m not one to just “go try it” because I don’t want to put the time into it unless I see a real benefit. As a reader, I haven’t been convinced but I think nobody has given me a solid understanding of what this thing does that I can’t get elsewhere.

    So I’m hoping (as both reader and writer) that RWA will do more reader education about this.

    I find new books here on the Bandit blog and on a few other blogs I visit now and then, and if I love love love an author’s books, I sign up for her newsletter. Then word of mouth from other readers.

    I tried Book Bub, but I got some real stinkers even with going through the Amazon reviews, so I’ve quit going there for my books.

  • Pissenlit says:

    I mostly find new books from Goodreads and here and I get author news from author websites and newsletters…and here. 🙂 That app doesn’t really sound like my kinda thing so I don’t think I’ll be getting it but it sounds like a pretty helpful one!