Lola’s Ramblings: Impulse Buys for Books

Posted August 25, 2016 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 34 Comments


Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

Today’s discussion topic inspiration is thanks to my latest impulse buy for a book. As that made me think about impulse buys. Obviously too much impulse buys aren’t a good thing, but for someone like me who overthinks everything it also can be be refreshing now and then to just buy something on impulse. Which made me curious about how other people thought of this topic. The impulse buy that sparked this topic was Pirate Bound by Carysa Locke.

How often do I buy books on impulse?

I rarely do impulse buys, which is probably why when I do purchase something on impulse it’s such a surprise to me and suddenly makes me think about why. The reason for my lack of impulse buys is my lack of money to spend on books. It’s a sad reality, but when you have very little money to spend on fun things you make sure that every dollar or euro counts and you want to make sure it’s something you will enjoy. Hence why I am very careful with buying books. On the other hand I do have impulse requests on netgalley, as it doesn’t costs anything (we could argue that point as in some sense of the word review copies aren’t free, but they don’t cost money). The risk is less and when I have a low moment when feeling bad or could use a mood boast and am on netgalley, a shiny new book on there can catch my attention and I hit request before I had time to think it through. It also doesn’t help that a lot of the books on netgalley are new releases and don’t have reviews yet. I usually read a few reviews before deciding if I want a book, so when those reviews aren’t there to hinder my progress it can make me more likely to actually hit that request button. Also part of the reason why netgalley is my weak spot and I know I will eventually read most of the books I get from there, so I don’t feel as bad about it as really impulse purchases. So real impulse purchases are rare for me as I explained above. The impulsive purchase that inspired this post was actually bought with gift card money, which I wanted to use entirely for books.

What determines which books I impulse buy

Most of the time the impulse buys are either next books in a series when I am currently reading the first book or books that I never saw before and somehow grab my attention. I can remember sort of impulse buying the rest of KA Tucker her Burying Water series when I was reading the first book. I also remember doing this a lot in the past when I had less books to read and more money to spend. When I read a good book 1, I usually bought the next book or two.
The other category impulse buys are books I never heard of before, they grab my attention and I read the blurb and/ or reviews and am hooked and get excited and want to have this book now. The first category probably has a higher change of getting books that I enjoy as I already am enjoying the first book, but weirdly enough it also has the risk for me to end up with books that stay on my shelves for a long time. I have a few series where I bought later books and they are still on my shelves waiting to be read. While the second category often leads to books I read pretty soon as I am still excited for them.

What I like/ dislike about impulse purchases

For all the negative things you might be able to say about impulse purchases I strangely enough also sorta like them. I am the type of person who doesn’t buy a lot of books and when I do I first spend time thinking which books to buy, read reviews for the book and then only the buy the ones I want most badly. I do have some auto buy authors and once I have some money to spend on books most of that money goes to those authors. This is also why winning a gift card feels like winning a jackpot for me. This year I won a few gift cards which lasts a long time, in fact I still have some gift card money left. The nice thing is that they all were amazon gift cards and as I normally can’t buy books there, having a gift card means those books are suddenly in reach. Weirdly enough they also have led to my most recent impulse buy. I knew I had still some gift card money left, cover caught my attention, the blurb sounded good and a second later I hit that 1 click buy button and it was mine. And guess what I read the book and it was really good and I am really glad I bought it on impulse like that.

It’s nice to not have so much thoughts and worrying about purchasing a book now and then and that impulse buy felt kinda nice as I just saw a book that sounded promising and bought it instead of adding it to my wishlist and maybe never buying it or thinking it through to much. I am a person who over thinks everything, but sometimes it’s nice to just let go and go with that impulse for a change. Ofcourse I also see the downside of impulse purchases in that you only should do them when you can afford to as else it might turn into a problem, and we’re back at the reason I hardly do impulse purchases. Also when the impulse purchase turns out to be a good book it’s great and emphasizes that positive feeling, but if it turns out to me a not so good one it can really ruin my mood and made me wish I had been more careful and didn’t just buy it like that. Or even worse when the book has one of my pet peeves of dislikes that I could’ve avoided if I had actually read one review or two. So yes there are definitely pro’s and cons about impulse purchases.

How often do you buy a book on impulse? What determines which book you impulse buy? What do you like/ dislike about impulse buys?


34 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Impulse Buys for Books

  1. I don’t impulse buy books nearly as often as I used to – we don’t have the space and I HATE the thought of all those books stacking up on my TBR pile never to be read… So I’m a whole lot more careful than I used to be! BUT I do buy books from authors I enjoy without thinking it through and I’m thrilled that NetGalley has given me a brilliant opportunity to try new writers and stretch my reading experience. I don’t get the reading slumps I used to, as a result…

    • I used to do much more impulse buys a few years ago when I still had the money and shelf space to spare. nowadays I am much more careful about what I buy. Although I still have a massive pile of books to get read.

      And netgalley is awesome for trying out new authors or sometimes continuing series you already started. I do impulse requests on there, although I’ve been trying to get better at that lately as I really want to get through some of my back log first without adding too many new books.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Cracked to Death by Cheryl HollonMy Profile

  2. I’m like you. I don’t have a huge amount of extra funds, so I’m very picky about the books I buy. I’m always checking to see if I can get it from the library before making a purchase. I also like to see if I can get it from a publisher. Most of my impulse selections come from reading other people’s reviews. The nice thing about reviewing audiobooks, is that I can see a few reviews even before the book is available for audio request. Publishers and authors don’t expect audiobook reviews to be on or near release day. We don’t usually get our ARCs until after release day (sometimes you can get them sooner. For example, I got two in the mail yesterday for 8/30 release, but I usually won’t have them reviewed by then). I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had an audio review post on or before release day.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Hammered Audiobook by Kevin Hearne (REVIEW)My Profile

    • It’s nice if you can get a book for review instead of buying it, especially if you’re going to review them anyway. Sadly the library isn’t as option for me as they cost money too and don’t have english books usually.

      I hadn’t thought of how that’s different for audiobooks as usually the other versions are already released earlier and you won’t get the audiobook months in advance. That’s interesting.

    • I usually put books on my wishlist or to-read list and then when I have money to spent I pick the ones I want most. Luckily I still have some amazon gift card money left so I can do an impulse buy now and then.

  3. I do impulse buys sometimes, if a book jumps out at me and I have to have it now lol. Although now that I blog I get less surprises since I see so much stuff coming out way ahead of time. So that helps. πŸ™‚ But every once in a while something flies under the radar and I see it in a bookstore and gotta have it. πŸ™‚ And good point about the cost. Books are expensive in hardcover especially so yeah that cuts down on impulse buys too!

    I’ve been known to go buy book 1 of a series and I end up buying books 2 or 3 too in case I like it lol. Paperbacks obviously since HC would be way too pricy! Kinda risky though cause what if I DON’T like book 1?
    Greg recently posted…Time SiegeMy Profile

    • Sometimes a book just jumps out at you and it’s nice to be able to just buy it sometimes. I do agree that with a blog you see more releases coming ahead of time, but not all of them.

      I have done that a few times too were I bought later books as well. I recently had an author who released some of her books at 0.99$ and I keep buying them when she releases a new one, even though I’ve only read one of them so far.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Cracked to Death by Cheryl HollonMy Profile

  4. I overthink everything too. It’s why I can never make decisions. I don’t even impulse accept review copies, so I really don’t impulse buy books since that actually costs money lol. (By the way, I’m opposite you about the Netgalley thing since I’m far more likely to not take the risk and request a book without having other reviews to read, and that’s why I pass up a lot of books there even though they look potentially interesting.)

    Usually, this is how it works for me. I’m interested in a book. I read the blurb and a bunch of reviews. I decide it sounds good… so I put it on my Amazon wishlist. Then it stays there for a while. Sometimes I kind of look longingly at it every day, wondering whether I should buy it or not. And then if I eventually reach a point in which I’ve decided I really think I’m going to like and I know that I’ll never be happy if I don’t just buy it already AND I’m in the mood for it *right now*, then I’ll buy it.

    The only time I really kind of impulse buy is if a book on my wishlist goes on sale and I think it’s probably the lowest price it’ll ever be and I really want it or the cover is gorgeous (but it also is SFF) and I can’t help myself. But does that even count as an impulse buy if I’ve already been thinking about it? Lol. Oh, but the comment above reminded me that I have, on occasion, impulse bought the second book in a series when I got the first one free and saw that the second was 99 cents. It is definitely risky because I might not like the first, but I kinda figure either I just wasted 99 cents on a book I disliked, or I just got two books I’ll like for roughly 50 cents each.

    Like you, I just don’t have the money for impulse book purchases. I get what you’re saying about kind of liking them though. If I ever do a true impulse book buy in the future, I’m going to make sure and let you know πŸ˜›
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: Shatterproof by Xen SandersMy Profile

    • Yes if you ever do a true impulse buy let me know. Impulse buys are kinda nice. It can be annoying to overthink everything, I also have trouble making decisions because of that.

      And that’s interesting you are the other way around for netgalley in that you are less likely to request books if there aren’t reviews for it yet.

      I usually put books on my wishlist or to-read list were they stay forever until I finally buy them or not. Just like you when I do buy a book I often know for sure I want to read it and am in the mood for it now.

      And sales are one of the few times I do impulse buys too, especially with books I am sure I want and can’t resit getting it when it’s finally discounted. I also have bought later books in the series a few times when they were 0.99$ even while I hadn’t read the first book yet.

      I am not even sure if I can call my impulse buy with amazon gift card money a real impulse buy. I have been doing a few sorta impulse buys more often later with the gift card money. Like the new sci-fi book i got this week, that was also bought on a whim. But most of those books are only 1 or 2$, if they are pricier than that I will think twice.

  5. Whilst I’m quite bad for impulse buying other things, like clothes and bags (despite not really having the money!), books is one thing I don’t buy on impulse much. Generally when I go into the bookshop I have a list of options in my mind (from my extremely extensive TBR list!) and I’ll buy one or two of those options. However, a few months ago I bought a book that I had never heard of on impulsive because I saw it on the shelf and liked the look of it, and it ended up being one of the best books I’ve read in a long time (it was Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marlier)! I think an impulsive buy every now and then can be good, just to mix things up.
    Great post! πŸ™‚
    Laura recently posted…Five Reasons To Read The ClassicsMy Profile

    • I don’t really care as much about clothes and don’t really go looking for them on blogs or sites, I do for books. So I guess that’s why I only impulse buy those if I impulse buy something.

      The impulse buy that inspired this post also was one of those books that was really good and I am so glad I grabbed it on impulse. I definitely think that an impulse buy now and then can be a good thing.

  6. Great post, I can definitely relate! If I had a lot of extra spending money I feel like I would be impulse buying a lot of books that were hyped up instead of getting them from the library first. But then again I might end up reselling/donating the ones I didn’t like, which still means I’m losing money. As of right now I rarely do impulse buys unless a family member offers to buy me a book right at the store and then I immediately go for hyped up book, haha.
    Alise recently posted…Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan MatsonMy Profile

    • I don’t read a lot of hyped up books in general, it’s often the indie books that are on sale or that catch my attention which turn into my impulse buys. And yes if I had more spending money I feel like I would buy more books, even though it’s not like I have time to read them all.

  7. Ooh, impulse buying is a really interesting topic! And I definitely enjoyed reading your thoughts on it, and reflecting on my own tendencies. I think you and I are very similar in that we overthink things when it comes to book buying (and maybe purchases in general? *laughs* I definitely can overthink most things), but when we have gift cards/specific money for books, then it’s something we can enjoy doing more freely. I’m also the same in that I’m quite conscious of how much I spend, so I hardly buy myself books, but when I do it’s after already having read it (from the library, say) and knowing how much I love it, or because I love the author. I think when I was younger I did it a lot more, because I was finding out about books (and wasn’t buying them myself!) because a lot of the books I loved, I didn’t really know much more than what the back cover told me. And I adore them to this day.

    It can definitely be a let down when you purchase something you know very little about and it ends up being a let down. Because for me? Then I can’t help but imagine the other thing I could’ve bought that I KNOW I would have loved. But I suppose that’s about learning, isn’t it, and sometimes we buy books that we end up not liking. I hope for the most part the books we buy, whether it’s after lengthy consideration or not, are ones we love, though. xx
    Romi recently posted…From me to you and back again -8-My Profile

    • I overthink a lot of things indeed and purchases in general as well. And when you have money specifically for books or amazon gift cards it’s easier to spend it without feeling bad.

      And sometimes it’s just fun to buy a book just based on the back cover and an impulse to buy it.

      And even though I like impulse buys, it also ends up not being a good book sometimes. And then you could’ve bought something else with that money instead that you would enjoy more. Mostly though the books I read end up being ones I enjoy, so that’s good, I only had a few 2 star reads this year.

  8. I’ve gotten to the point where impulse purchases don’t happen as often anymore because I have SO MANY BOOKS and I know it. So I have to REALLY want a book, otherwise it ends up on my wishlist. Even free books don’t get downloaded unless I really want them. I’ve reached critical mass for books! Lol. I think I have enough to keep me busy for a lifetime. πŸ™‚
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Heading To Japan!My Profile

    • I have so many books and still can’t help myself to add more to the pile. Maybe eventually I will reach that level were I don ‘t get new ones, even the freebies. But I am not there yet.

  9. I rarely impulse buy anymore. I used to be bad at it but finances got me for a while here as well and I started wishlisting more often. Now I only buy when I’m ready to read something right away or if it goes on a HUGE sale. Like a 10 dollar book going on for a buck or so. Those are ones that are on my wishlist already so not sure they’re really impulse buys or not. lol
    anna@herding cats & burning soup recently posted…Tasty Delights– Asparagus & Tomato “Carbonara”My Profile

    • Same here, I used to do quite a lot of impulse buys, but not as much anymore. I just add it to my wishlist or to-rad list now and when I have money carefully pick what to buy. Or a big sale, that’s always a good reason to buy a book right now.

    • I consider gift cards as different than normal cash as it was gifted to me or I won it. And indeed impulse buys can be a bit or miss, sometimes they work out well and others times not.

  10. I rarely make impulsive book purchases with my hard-earned money. But, I do receive bookstore gift cards for my birthday and Christmas, and every book I purchase with gift cards are purely impulsive. Especially since most of the time, I’m buying e-books. I tend to get carried away with one click shopping.

    I don’t usually feel the urge to buy books because I live so close to a library with a great selection of books.
    Jackie recently posted…This is Not a Cozy. I repeat! This is Not a Cozy | A Grave Prediction by Victoria LaurieMy Profile

    • Same here, with my own money I take a long time to decide what to buy and even with gifted money I am careful about what to buy. But with gift cards I am much more impulsive, which is nice.

      I guess having a good library close does help with the urge to buy books.

  11. I’m so fussy, it takes a long time for me to find books I want to read so when I find one, unless it is way overpriced, I tend to buy it there and then, and read it there and then.
    I look for books one at a time, hence why my TBR list is tiny compared to loads of people’s. I actually could do without a TBR…
    So I guess I impulse buy 99% of the time, unless it’s a book by an author I love. Though once again, there aren’t many lol.

    • I have so many books I want to read I wouldn’t be able to buy them all, so I have to be selective and only buy the ones I want most.

      I would probably freak out if I have nothing on my to-read list. But that’s interesting to hear how you look for books one at a time.

  12. I don’t do a lot of impulse buys. When I go to the bookstore I have a list of books I want to buy and I buy off of that list. I love to browse, but if I see something I’ve never heard of then most of the time I look it up on Goodreads and maybe buy it later. That being said, I have made impulse buys and some were really fantastic and some not so much. I just haven’t really done that in a few years. Great post!
    AngelErin recently posted…Music Monday- Rock Out With Me! #Kickass!My Profile

    • I mostly buy or order my books online nowadays. I do love to brose (online) and often add books to my to-read list or wishlist instead of buying them, but sometimes a book just really grabs my attention and it’s nice to go with the impulse sometimes. And yes some impulse buys turn out great and others not so much. It really can go both ways.

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