They obviously won't do it as a favor. 

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Because the premise is intriguing. :-)

Agreed.  That's what's so tragic, in my opinion, about the decline of bookstores.  It's so much harder to just sweep your gaze across a shelf and have something jump out at you.  Online searching feels like it has to be so much more targeted, and what's popular has a huge advantage.  On a shelf at a bookstore, new writers stand more of a chance.

Also, I like certain genres that I don't see too many books written about, and if I see a book that covers that genre, I'll want to snag it.

I agree and I think they are first caught by the title and cover of the book.

Maybe because of the sheer thrill of reading someone who might turn out to be a good writer! Or most probably because of great marketing strategies, a compelling premise....I read new writers all the time. Some of them are wonderful. Some, not so great. 

But since I've just signed a contract for my novel with a literary agent, I'm hoping that people will ignore the fact that they've never heard of me and simply read it for the enjoyment of something unique. 

And too...I could be entirely wrong!

I'm very new to this site and am enjoying the questions and replies.  Inasmuch as I'm an 'unknown and as-of-yet unpublished writer' - my hope is that once I'm published (I hope I'm not jinxing myself) perhaps the title would make the shopper stop and pick it up to learn the reason for such a strange title.  They could hone in on the chapter titles, see that it looks interesting, and bring it to the register!  We'll see.... 

I used to book to buy books of favored authors only, but then I started seeing patterns in the stories and endings, so so the outcomes became predictable and boring.I stopped shopping by author years ago. Let's face it if you write 5 books a year you're going to get sloppy.

I know people who read 2-3 books a day. They don't care who writes a book as long as it keeps them entertained long enough to reach the point of no return.

I sometimes shop recommendations, only if they sound interesting.

I most often turn to the cover and blurb (author known or unknown), I'll see movie previews and get the book first, or if there's a black out, I'll reach out blindly and grab something to read by candlelight.

So, I think if you put something in front of someone, and it looks and sounds like something they'd like, they will buy it.

Good marketing and visibility gives books the best odds of success regardless of the author.

I bet if I set a book (author unknown) in the tabloid section by the register it would be gone by the end of the day.

Other than the classics (assigned reading in 8th grade) I don't know more than a more than a hand full of today's popular writers. Therefore known and unknown writers alike must appeal with a good blurb about a intriguing premise or have a really eye-catching cover.

Curiosity I suspect is a  prime driver. I write in a once very over crowded area of fiction, the Napoleonic Wars, but right now their are few new works coming out so there is hope for us all.

This is an interesting question.  In my opinion people are interested in finding unknown great stories out there.  Another way to say it is there are more great musicians playing coffee houses and wineries then the polished musicians we see splattered all over the news.  It could be a treasure hunt for some readers. 

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