Mar 9 2011 9:00am

Author Binge Buys: Gluttonous Shopping Sprees of Epic Proportions

Stack of booksBinge buying is not like binge drinking. Gross. Another turn of phrase for binge buying would be a gluttonous shopping spree of epic proportions. You know the ones I’m talking about, so don’t try to deny it, because I see your credit card, and I know it matches mine.

Binge Buy vs. Auto-Buy:

A binge-buy shopping spree is based off of one or two books by a previously unread author. When you finished reading the first or second book, you knew two things: You loved it/them and wanted more. Auto-buy comes later, when the author has proven to be a consistent favorite.

I have plenty of auto-buy authors, many of whom started out on my shelves from my binge buys. The focus of this article, however, is binge-buy authors, and mine in particular. During my romance career I have had many books by authors start a binge-buy shopping spree. Here are the ones off the top of my head:

The Gamble by LaVyrle SpencerWhere the Gluttony Began:

LaVyrle Spencer / The GambleI read my mother’s copy and that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is the book that started my love for romance novels. My love for alpha heroes and flawed heroines started here too. I loved The Gamble’s rich descriptions for the time period and especially the heroine’s vulnerability set against her outward strength. Spencer is a wonderful author with a focus on historical American romances. Her books feel like home and adventure all rolled into one delicious package. From the binge buy more favorites flowed into my shelves: The Hummingbird, Separate Beds, Years, Endearment, and Vows.

Teresa Medeiros / Charming the Prince—This is the first warrior hero I remember reading, and boy was he hot! He fought his attraction to the heroine tooth and nail because he didn’t want any more children (and he has a lot from two previous wives who both died in childbirth, along with many bastards). The more he struggled against his emotions and desire, the worse it was for him. In fact, he even started an all out war between his heroine and children and himself. Can you guess who lost? Medeiros writes mainly historicals, and from the ones I grabbed in my binge buy I have loved: The Bride and the Beast, A Kiss to Remember, Yours Until Dawn, One Night of Scandal, and Breath of Magic. If you’re looking for a fun lighthearted historical romance, I recommend that you try Medeiros.

Jacquie D'Alessandro / Sleepless at MidnightMy love for bespectacled heroines didn’t start with this book, but it was around here that I noticed how prevalent my preference was for characters with poor eyesight. This humorous Regency-set historical had me thirsting for more of the same and so I grabbed what I could find from the bookstore. I really enjoyed Red Roses Mean Love and have other of her books in my TBR pile.

Prince of Dreams by Lisa KleypasLisa Kleypas / Prince of DreamsI love both her historicals and her contemporaries; I admit I was concerned about trying Lisa Kleypas in anything other than historicals, but this was one literary diet addition that I’m glad to have included. Kleypas’ novels are emotionally rich and beautifully composed, whether they are historical or contemporary. Some of my favorites from the binge buy are When Strangers Marry, Worth Any Price, and Because You’re Mine.

Jennifer Blake / Fierce EdenI loved Fierce Eden, which was recently re-issued. Prior to the review copy, I had never even heard of Jennifer Blake. I’ve only had a chance to read one book from her backlist since then, which was Triumph in Arms. Midnight Waltz is next on my list. Her books remind me a bit of LaVyrle Spencer’s, and not to go all McDonald’s on you, but I’m lovin’ it. It’s so refreshing to have American historical romances featuring French colonists instead of the traditional British colonists. These three books have taken place in Louisiana/Louisiana Territory.

Now that I’ve revealed my binge-buy authors, it’s time to share yours. Which authors have you consumed over the years? Did they lead to auto-buying tendencies?


Keira Gillett reviews romance of all genres at Love Romance Passion. She loves marriage of convenience plots and angst ridden breakups that ultimately end up in gooey happily ever afters. You can also find her on Twitter.

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gail frederick
1. gail frederick
Johanna Lindsey was the first binge. Julie Garwood, Jude Devereaux,Christina Dodd, Catherine Coulter, Jo Beverly, Victoria Alexander, Hannah Howell the Jane Austen sequels....The list goes on.
Liz Maverick
2. Liz Maverick
I had early Connie Brockway, Jo Beverly, Julie Garwood and Gaelen Foley binges. Which I now realize means I only binge in historicals. No, wait! I binged Suzanne Brockmann's category books, but only her category books.
Megan Frampton
3. MFrampton
Anne Stuart, across all genres; in fact, I found a 30+ lot of books for sale on eBay, and bought them all. That was a darn good day. Still have many I haven't read.
(Now she's an auto-buy).

Edith Layton's trad Regencies, Mary Balogh, Eileen Wilks' paranormals.
gail frederick
4. TonyaGentry
I realized I enjoyed reading only about 2 or 3 years ago. When I find an author I like, I immediately print their booklist & head to the bookstore. My first binge was Lori Foster. Then Madeline Hunter in the historical genre. Others are Lisa Kleypas, Stephanie Laurens, Linda Howard, Pamela Clare, Cynthia Eden & Carly Phillips. These are also the authors I will buy just b/c their name is on the book. There are other authors I love to read but some of them write in other genres that I don't read. So I don't buy every book they write, I buy all of the ones in the genres I like to read. I am currently binging on Erin McCarthy, Janelle Denison, & Bella Andre. I like to have all the books in a series at my house before I start the series.
Donna Cummings
5. Donna Cummings
Does buying more than one copy of a book count as binge buying? LOL I was doing some excavating in the "keeper vault" recently and was surprised at how many copies of the SAME Georgette Heyer book I had. Of course, I didn't have a chance to read it, because I found something else I'd forgotten about. . .
Keira Gillett
6. Keira
@gail frederick - Ooo the Jane Austen sequels! Have you tried Abigail Reynolds' Pemberley Variations? I love her books to pieces.

@lizmaverick - Looking back at the list I provided, I definitely have the same habits! I totally binge on historical romances too. :D

@MFrampton - Ebay is a gem. I once bought two lots equaling about 40 books that were all gothic romances.

@TonyaGentry - You're like my friend, Susan, who does a lot of guest posting and reviewing on my site. She likes having all the books in the series or trilogy. Finding out that she bought #2 or #3 pains her, especially if she can't find the previous books. Me? I only worry about it if it's a series like ABVH or Stephanie Plum or whatever. I hate starting midseries if I can help it. Usually though authors are pretty good about trilogies also working as stand alones.
Keira Gillett
7. Keira
@Donna Cummings - Yes! I'd count that. lol :) Magdalen of Promantica has been guilty of the same thing in the past. I believe she's started a list now on her computer to keep track of things. Goodreads can also be good for that if you're not on the site already.
Virginia Campbell
8. VirginiaCampbell
Hi, Keira! Earliest must reads were gothic romances, and works by Gerogette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, and Jane Aiken Hodge. Then later on, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss really started the ball rolling for me. Also: Sophia Nash, Sandra Brown, Gayle Wilson, Elizabeth Hoyt, Teresa Medeiros, Jamie Carie, Laura Frantz, Monica Burns, Annie West, Mary Kingsley, Donna Simpson, Deborah Simmons, Susan Mallery, Maxine Sullivan, Renee Vincent, Lorraine Heath, Loretta Chase, Paula Detmer Riggs, Maggie Robinson, Anna Campbell, Lila DiPasqua, Susan Kay Law---it's an endless list : )
Kiersten Hallie Krum
9. Kiersten
J.D. Robb In Death series immediately became an auto-buy (pre-HC) to the point that I once made a B&N sales associate go into the back and find the book b/c it wasn't on the shelves on release day (later realized I may have been a day off...).

Several years ago, I read an excerpt from Laurel K Hamilton's (then) new book and spent the next week buying up the first 7 or 8 in the series. A couple years ago I did the same bingeing over Tara Janzen's Crazy series, which immediately became an auto buy through that series and into the Loose series that finished those characters off (very hot guys in that series. Rowr)

About 4 months ago, I read Zoe Archer's Scoundrel and Jennifer Ashley's The Madness of Lord Ian. Both authors immediately shot to the top of the must have pile tho I am slowly accumulating their books (write faster, Jennifer!)

I wonder if this particular behavior - the binge to auto buying progression - is specific to romance readers/genre readers? Hmmmm.
Keira Gillett
10. Keira
@Virginia C - I've been binge reading Heyer ever since Sourcebooks opened the door to her with their releases. These Old Shades = to die for.

@kksquard - That's a good question! I know that I didn't buy nearly so many books back when I was reading mystery series like Bernie Rhodenbarr (about a burglar/thief) or the Cat Who (Fill in Blank) or Murder She Purred. I only ever read them if the library had them.
Jenny Schwartz
11. Jenny Schwartz
Jayne Ann Krentz and Dick Francis are my most recent binges, having discovered them last year. Before then, yup, I'm definitely a Georgette Heyer binge buyer, same with Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie and other Golden Age mystery writers. If they'd bring Phoebe Atwood Taylor back into print (and not just tease with a handful of titles) I'd binge on her mysteries, too :)
gail frederick
12. SharonS
My first in PRN/UF was Anita Blake. I bought the first one and then binged on the rest. That was my gateway series into what is now a full blown addiction. Books are my crack, the kindle is my pipe and is my dealer . JR Ward's Blackdagger Brotherhood series is another binge buy and let's not forget The Fever series (Say my name!- Barrons, the ulitmate alpha-male that all others will be compared to) I recently had a binge episode...I discovered m/m romances and The Adrien English Mystery Series and BAM! 5 books downloaded one right after the other.
I know what you are thinking..."she needs help!" No. I. Don't. you come near me with an intervention and I will go medieval on your ass, which is funny since I don't do historical often .
Jennifer Ma
13. Jen X
When I started reading romances in the 90s, I read everything by Judith McNaught, Amanda Quick & Jayne Anne Krentz. Then I fell in love with Megan McKinney & Jo Goodman's writing and glommed them.

Now my must-buy authors include: Rachel Gibson, Sarah Mayberry, Pamela Clare & Elizabeth Hoyt. I glommed Hoyt's Prince Trilogy & Four Soldiers series, back to back!
gail frederick
14. Janet W
Since my career as a romance reader started with the All About Romance Desert Island Keeper lists, I soon was tracking down B for Balogh and B for Beverley and B for Brockmann, either in a book store made of bricks or pixels and at Used Books stores everywhere I went. Everywhere! London, New York state, once a dumpster behind a Goodwill in Charlottesville Virginia ... but I think now I have read all books published before my obsession took off. Well, of course, not all, but that gnawing need to read has subsided somewhat. I just did buy Anne Stuart's Lord's Satan's Bride so I always have a list of books I'd dearly love to acquire somehow.

Something no one has mentioned though is buying books to give away. There are a few books I always buy if I find them for a great price: The Unsung Hero (Brockmann), Naked in Death (J.D. Robb), Lady Notorious (Beverley), More than a Mistress or A Summer to Remember (Balogh), Outlander ... you get the drift. I'm always looking to turn someone on to the joy of reading books that I turn to through the years. Oh, one more category: OOP Anne Stuarts and OOP Regencies -- I figure I'll always find people who like one or the other or both :)
Keira Gillett
15. Keira
@Jenny Schwartz - I used to read a lot of mystery but I don't now.
Which are your favorite Heyers? :)

@SharonS - Same here on the ABVH! Glom... glom... I read the first couple by borrowing from a friend and then I just couldn't wait for her to read through them so I got my own set. lol

@Jen X - I think in the 90s I was reading Animorphs and other YA series. It wasn't until around Y2K that I started in on romance.

@Janet W - In a dumpster? Haha! Used bookstores are great for grabbing the backlists. I find paperback swap is pretty good too, but it's harder to glom there if you don't have credits.
Charli Mac
16. CharliMac
I've read most of the Alex Cross series by James Patterson and many of his stand alone novels. I lost interest when I found out he uses Ghost Writers.

I've read all but two of Nicholas Sparks' books, can't seem to have the interest to by a book with Hannah Montana on the cover.

It's been a while since an author got me hooked on a series...but then again I've been buying single titles lately.
Jenny Schwartz
17. Jenny Schwartz
Keira, I absolutely can't choose an absolute favourite Heyer, there are too many. But in her mysteries, I love "Death in the Stocks". I love the glimpse of 1930s London, the middle class and the artist fringe.

There are so many great recs on this list! I'm in reader heaven -- and thank all reader gods for libraries, or I'd be bankrupt!
Keira Gillett
18. Keira
@CharliMac - That'd be a good subject for a post... are ghost writers a turn off? I mean look at Nancy Drew - love that series, ghost writers? Yes. On the other hand learning an author you liked a lot used ghosts that could be a "Hold on there just a minute" moment.

@Jenny Schwartz - I haven't delved into her mysteries yet myself. And yes hurrah for libraries! I use mine so much they notice when I'm on a reading binge and only coming up for air and bathroom breaks. lol :)
gail frederick
19. Magdalen
Keira -- Yup, I love OneNote - a free database program on the latest iteration of Windows. (If you bought a PC in the last year or so, check to see if this software is already loaded...) I have lists for historical, contemporary, urban fantasy/paranormal, mysteries, sci/fi, and one entire page just for all 134 Betty Neels. :-)

Best book buying haul -- one to dazzle even a pro like Janet W. -- has to be the local historical society's annual book sale last year. I'd just noticed that my collection of LaVyrle Spencer romances had mysteriously disappeared in some move or other, so I looked to see what they had. Nothing shelved, but when I started poking in the boxes they'd received but not yet sorted out, I found over a dozen of Spencer's romances. Total price: $2. And when I got them home? No duplicates with the few I still had.

Color me VERY happy!
Liz Maverick
20. Liz Maverick
@Magdalen I would die to be at that historical society annual book sale. I'd bet the research materials you'd find would be amazing.
Kelley Russell
21. KelleyR
I was taught the art of binge buying by my Mother and her best friend at the tender age of 9, begining with C.S. Lewis and Laura Ingalls Wilder. By junior high I moved to Anne McCaffery. By college it was Nora Roberts and has since exploded to Christine Feehan, Sherylin Kenyan, Yasmine Galenorn, Richelle Mead, JR Ward, Laural K Hamilton, Christina Dodd, Julie Garwood, and so many more. When extremely broke I go to the library, but I feel a compulsion to actually own the book. Money poor, Book rich!
Louise Partain
22. Louise321
Oh yeah count me one! I periodically have to almost blindly go through my old book stacks and trip over to the Once Read bookstore (although my contributions are usually dog-eared and water damaged cause I read in the tub) or the library drop box to make room for the newbie binges. Recent binges include Connie Brockway, old Suzanne Enoch, and Elizabeth Thornton (sadly missed). I suppose I come by it genetically cause my grandfather had every book Agatha Christie ever wrote (I could always tell who done it because I learned the formula she used) and my grandmother had every book ever written by Emile Loring (so where did you think I got my love of romances?).
Keira Gillett
23. Keira
@Magdalen - I just checked my newish laptop and le sigh... no OneNote program for me. That would have been nice. lol Guess I just missed the mark having bought it about 2 yrs ago. As for your Spencer haul color me jealous. I'd avoid Forgiving, that one was just too weird. I didn't like it. I actually gave it a 1 star even though she's one of my fav authors.

@KelleyR - I am adopting your slogan! lol

@Louise321 - lol I bet those hoards of books smell good. I too have to drop off to the library a lot to make room for new books. Between 2008/2009 I gave a haul of 500+ books to the library. Some were from my collection, some were from a friend's mom, most were romances and some were not romances.
gail frederick
24. Cathy B
I would have to say that my very first binge-buy was Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I fell in love with her after reading Ashes in the Wind. After that I went to the bookstore and found everything on the shelves that she had in print and I also had the manager look her up and tell me if there were any books that she had published that they didn't have in stock. I then ordered the books that were out of stock and that is how I got interested in historical romantic fiction. I own everything Woodiwiss has ever written.

Other authors that I did the same thing with are Judith McNaught, Catherine Coulter, Karen Ranney, Johanna Lindsey, Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Lauren Dane, Lora Leigh, JD Robb, Jayne Castle, Jayne Ann Krentz, Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Sharon K. Butcher, Vicki Pettersson, and many others.
25. 16torie
Yes I am a binge buyer this is the author I started with VC Andrews, then it was Maggie Shayne, Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Marjorie M Liu, Ronda Thompson, Rebbeca York, Nora Roberts, Jennifer Ashley, Sandra Brown and many more others you should read some of they're you will definitely get hooked
Wendy La Capra
26. Wendy La Capra
I binge-bought all of Meredith Duran after reading the Duke of Shadows. I'm still working my way through, one beautiful page at a time.
gail frederick
27. ChristinaRae
I binge-buy constantly! Gabaldon, Laurens, Dodd and Carr come to mind most readily.

I remember my first binge-buy, not romance-related, was when young and first read the Dragonriders of Pern. Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew. Gah, and so it began. It's so much easier to do now with ebooks, but I'm always happy when I can find series bundled together.

I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing. I think it's a good thing at the time, but later on as I watch my dwindling checking account I have my doubts. For a second. :)
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