Why We All Buy Books

by Trish

(via Jaythebooknerd)

I love this picture! When people read, they really read.

This picture makes me hopeful for authors. Keep writing! People do read!

When developing your positioning as an author of a book, it’s always good to think about why people even buy and read books. I’ve included several reasons below. See if you can’t see yourself or your readers in some of the examples and use those examples to create quality content unmarketing that makes your readers feel cared for and understood.

So, what makes us buy books anyway? Because we’ll sound smart? Because it’s a literary tradition?

1. Books make us feel safe and secure. Really. If you don’t think so, ignore this and go on to #2. But if you’re like me (and somewhat like Jay in the picture above), you read to feel safe and secure. How? Books are very comforting to a lot of people. Introverts who do not get energy from hanging out with large groups of friends may feel safer with their books.

People like to read books to know they are not alone. They are safe within a book’s front and back, because they are not the character being hunted or working through a painful breakup. We read to realize that everyone feels like we do or others have been afraid of the dark at one time in their lives. We read to understand where other people are coming from. We read to be more tolerant with people we don’t understand.

2. We read books for approval. Yes, we do. When this friend tells about a book she’s reading, this other friend goes out to read it. Or entire book clubs read a book together. Entire neighborhoods pass books around. Bibliophiles read just to outread each other. We were conditioned for this back in first grade when we had reading contests. I still remember that I lost in first grade. Yeah, we read for approval.

3. Books make us feel we are in control. How many times do you read a book that ends satisfactorily, and you close the cover with a sigh and feel that all is well in the world. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy married. Charles Darnay lived a long and happy life. Lisbeth Salander survived and is finally free. It makes us feel good.

4. Books set us apart. Yes, we’re able to individuate when we read books. We can differentiate ourselves from other readers by the books we choose. It’s another form of control, but slightly different in that reading more, reading bigger, thicker books, reading books about certain subjects sets a reader apart. We like the feeling too.

So, what audience do you write for? Who buys your books? A reader who likes to feel individuated from his fellow man? A reader who feels safe and secure when reading your books? A reader who likes to be in control? Or a reader who desperately wants approval?

All those may be different audiences within your core audience. Or you may have a mixture of reader personalities in your audience. The key is finding out which is the majority and which will respond to you and continue to buy your books.

Disclaimer: This is very powerful content creation thinking. You will begin to brainstorm who your audience is and find that you may have been producing the wrong blog posts or Tweeting more about a different reason listed above than you thought. This is where you can truly set up a powerful platform by thinking through your reasoning on Twitter and on your blog and everywhere you interact with your readers.

The question again: Why do YOUR readers buy YOUR books? Are you rewarding them for doing so? How?

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