How I have found books through the years:
Library - Avid patron, both school and public library. If I liked a book, I would check it out over and over again.
Scholastic book clubs
- Ordered after reading the little descriptions and looking at the
covers. I LOVED those newsletters that we ordered from; the synopses
were an art in themselves. I invented my own little newsletters with
imaginary books, based on the Scholastic ones.
Usually I didn't buy a book until I'd already read it in the library
many times. I would make an exception for authors whose other books I
already knew and liked. For example, anything by Judy Blume, Lois
Duncan, Paul Zindel, Paula Danziger, Marilyn Sachs, I would snap up
without having read it first. Occasionally I would take a chance on a
new author. I only bought paperbacks.
Parents' bookshelves - This is how I came to read a first-aid manual, Shelley Berman's Cleans and Dirtys, Saroyan's Look at us ...,
a 1970s poetry book with a psychedelic cover (which I now own), my
mother's nursing-school textbooks, the John Jakes bicentennial series,
and various other assorted titles.
Gifts - This is how I got a good portion of the Nancy Drew series, the Five Little Peppers, a 16-volume series of classics, and Grimm's fairy tales. Most of these were hardcovers.
Library - As always.
As an adult, I discovered used bookstores. Philadelphia still has
several, but at the time I first moved here, was especially rich in
them. I rarely lived more than a couple of blocks from a used bookstore.
During my time in Atlanta, the Oxford Too was a weekly habit. I often
discovered authors in used bookstores, because it was easy to take a
chance on a new author for a quarter or a dollar. Then I would start
buying that author's newer books new (this is how I discovered Nora
Ephron and Calvin Trillin, just to name a couple).
I also patronized
first-run bookstores. In those days we had Doubleday, Encore, Barnes
& Noble, B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, as well as the independents. Then
Borders came, and its first Philadelphia location was unbelievable. So
many books! So much room! Indie or chain, I rarely left a bookstore
without buying something.
Free shelves - For a while, I lived
in a building with a "take a book, leave a book" library. A great way to
find out-of-print books B.I. (Before the Internet).
Again, people usually would buy fancier books for me than I would buy
for myself. Hardcovers. My parents even gave me a collection of the
Brontes' work with leather covers and gilt edges.
Library - The theme continues.
I now find out about most of the books I want to read online. I read
many writers' and readers' social media sites, and I am always seeing
recommendations and reviews. Before the internet, I rarely read book
reviews. I didn't have too many other friends who read as much as I did,
so I didn't get recommendations either. Now, I get so many
recommendations from my online bookloving friends that I keep a running
list next to my computer.
Bookstores - Sadly, the closest
bookstore to my house closed a year ago. The joys of browsing in
brick-and-mortar stores are rarer for me, but I appreciate them all the
more now. There are still wonderful stores out there.
Also, I do buy
books online--especially out-of-print books. I buy very few ebooks,
usually only if the book isn't available in print. I don't have an
e-reader but use an e-reader app on my computer.
One thing that's
different now is that I buy far more hardcovers and new books than I
used to. As an author, I know how important that can be to supporting
the authors and stores I love. But I'll still buy paperbacks and used
Book fairs and book festivals - I never went to
these before I was an author; I'm not sure I really knew they existed.
Now I'm delighted to have discovered so many live book events.
Free shelves - My train station has one of those "take a book, leave a book" cases, and so does my workplace.
Gifts - This is where I get books I've specifically asked for, as well as books I might not have heard of on my own.
How have your bookfinding habits changed over time?