Sunday, December 10, 2006
Auto-Buys versus Stand-by Reads
The other day I was talking to die-hard romance reader. We were discussing favorite authors and when I named one of my absolute favorites, the reader said, “She used to be on my auto-buy, but now she’s my comfort read.”
I never made the distinction between auto-buy and comfort read before, so I asked what she meant. To her, there is more urgency in an auto-buy. An auto-buy happens because she’s heard the buzz, or the story sounds so intriguing, or she’s been waiting impatiently for these characters’ stories. Whatever the reason, she simply must have it and read it right away when it comes out.
A comfort read, on the other hand, is more of a standby. The reader puts the book to the side, and has it waiting until she needs a pick-me-up or if she just finished a book that disappointed her. What’s important to the reader about the standby is that she knows what kind of story she’s going to get, and she knows the author won’t disappoint.
That got me thinking. I visit the bookstore and library a lot, but I don’t often feel a sense of urgency about a book or author. I do, however, have quite a few comfort reads. I’ll buy a book and not read it right away because I want to use it as a reward, or I want to read it all in one sitting. There are lots of reasons why an author is a comfort read for me.
I should have asked the reader how many auto-buy authors—the ones that gave her the initial rush—became comfort reads, and how many have fallen off of her list altogether. I sense that auto-buys are like a flash of excitement, but comfort reads keep her happy as she waits for the next auto-buy.
Posted by Susanna Carr at 12:48 AM