11/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

How To Be A Socially Responsible Book Buyer

Say you decide to spend some of your discretionary income on a good, recently-published novel. (Note: I won't blame you if you want to use what's left of your spare cash on food or rent.) When you go into a bookstore to browse titles, what do you look for? Catchy title? Cool cover? Blurbs on the back from authors you like? Hot author photo? An intriguing first line? An Oprah's Book Club sticker?

Many of those are on my list, too, but I also look at a book's publisher and whether or not the writer is new to the literary scene. What's the method behind my madness? By practicing a simple, homegrown brand of socially responsible book buying, I can have a small impact--in my own financially strapped way--on the life of an author, the sustainability of a press, and the direction of literary fiction.

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