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.


Cadbury said...

I completely get that. My favourite author's books are auto buys, I get nervous waiting for them to come out and then I read them obsessively so that it is finished as quickly as possible, don't ask me why.
And my comfort reads are very important. There's nothin better than coming home after a long day ro a relaxing, easy read and a large bar of chocolate.

An autobuy and a comfort read are from two different planets, I think.

Lee said...

Susanna, An auto-buy for me is like a fairly new friend. Someone that inspires me, excites me and makes me curious about wanting to learn more.

A comfort read is like an old comfortable and reliable friend. One who is always there and never ever lets me down ~ is very trustworthy. A sure thing.

A lot of my auto-buy authors have eventually become comfort reads!

Unknown said...


I never really though about these. There were times where I use to have books I couldnt wait to get my hands on because a certain author wrote it, but then after a while this "auto-buy" sort of turned into books I didnt want to read.

Therefore, now I usually look over the back blurb of a book whether it is from a favorite author or not before I make a decision.


Tammy said...

Hmmmmmmm, now that the holiday is over (Christmas) I have a few seconds to breathe again.

MY definition of auto-buy and comfort hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...........

An auti-buy for me is an author who's writing I've enjoyed so much, that I don't even care what the next book she writes is about I"ll order it or buy it as soon as it's avaiable. With alot of titles going to hardback, I've had to cut-back though on these due to $$. As for comfort read, I've got one book (that comes to mind) Summer Sunrise by Lee Damon. This book is a comfort read to me. Lots of action/adventure, romance, some sex, and characters you fall in love with. My copy is so old it's falling apart now, but every so often I have to pull it out and read it again, even though I know what' soigng ot happen and why and who does what to whom and why, it doens't matter, I fall in love with it all over again.