Opinion

How to buy a book… or not!

Cass Shan

Cass Shan started off as a copywriter tasked with understanding buying behaviour. She now immerses herself in understanding buy-in behaviour.

JAN 6 ― The recent Big Bad Wolf book sale was awesome. As expected. With three million books on sale, it’s no wonder I was spoiled for choice.

Alas, you can’t always get what you want.

Due to budget constraints, some books were left behind.

There was this one book that I took a liking to. All I read was the synopsis on the book cover and yes ― admittedly, I judged a book by its cover.

To protect the name of the innocent (and avoid getting sued by publishers for the following criticism), let’s call this book Z.

Like most people at the Big Bad Wolf sale, I was overwhelmed by the choices of books. Z didn’t initially stand out from the massive selection. I merely chanced upon it and read what I thought was an interesting outline of the book.

Due to its hefty (in relative terms) price tag, I quickly put the book down and continued my search for other books. However, time and again, I was drawn back to the section where Z was. For some reason, I was drawn to it.

The book was pricier than the other books ―  most of them going for ridiculously low prices ― and caused me to hesitate. There are a few factors to consider when choosing a book ― like how many pages it has, who the author is and how interested am I in the subject matter. Price is just another factor.

So even though I had moved on from that aisle, I found myself returning to the section and leafing through Z’s pages ― which, I might I add, is a bestseller ― and finding that there were some things that I found disturbing or discomforting… creating an unpleasant experience for me.

So I placed the book back and bought another book that provided a pleasing experience.

Now that the sale is over, I find myself thinking of the book again (I guess that’s why the intriguing author made it to best seller) but the book will only be available at its usual sky high price ― unreachable to a mere pawn like me.

Maybe I should try again next year when the Big Bad Wolf sale comes around again.

Here’s the question: would you work harder to get that acclaimed book everyone is talking about despite its high cost, wait for a book sale when an offer is made (and oh boy, you could be waiting for a looong time) or ditch the book because you didn’t like the bits you read instead of finding out what made it a bestseller in the first place?

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist

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