Monday, December 6, 2010

The Next Best Thing: All About Hype


Original here



Confession: my to-read pile is ginormous. Offensive, even. And it only keeps getting bigger. *face palm*

While looking at said to-read pile the other day, I realized I have a healthy balance of genres, all targeted for a YA audience. BUT I also noticed that some books I'd been hearing about for months, while others... not so much. 

I started thinking about a word that gets thrown around a lot in the blogosphere: hype. Particularly, its effect on book sales and reviews. You know, the stuff people are always worried about?

Well... wanna know a secret? *waves forward* Books will be good if they're good

Whether they're hyped about or not won't affect the quality of the author's words. It just means his or her sales will *probably* leave people's jaws on the floor. Or at least hanging inches away from it. :D

I don't know about you, but I get really upset when book reviewers/bloggers/readers/whoeverhasaccesstotheInternet start mouthing off against a book because it's been hyped about. Not because he or she read said book and didn't enjoy it for legit reasons. Why would I trust someone who hasn't even done their research? Who brushes off a book simply because the majority likes it? *shakes head* That's a huge no-no to me.

Then there's the opposite--those who ignore works of lesser known authors simply because they're not on the NYT Best-selling list. Because bookstores don't have them placed front and center, easy to find as soon as you walk in. Because nobody's fighting over film rights and blowing up screenwriters' phones for the movie adaptation. 

I have one question for both groups: seriously?

Like I said, books are good if they're good. Hype does not equal quality, nor do hyped-about books suck. At least, not to me.


Now fess up: are you easily swayed by hype when purchasing books? Or do you mix it up with un-hyped-about ones?

16 comments:

  1. Don't feel bad about your TBR pile, mine is insane! I read books that appeal to my tastes and what I enjoy. I use Goodreads a lot to make out the list of must haves.

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  2. My pile is insane too. Fortunately I stick with YA, so that helps an itty bitty bit.

    I used to fall for hype, but not so much now. I'll often buy the books least hyped about, and end up loving them even more. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't buy the hyped up books. I'm a sucker for them too. But I'm really careful which ones I'll buy.

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  3. I'm working my way through my pile now -- I had a library moratorium because books with a deadline kept pushing aside the ones I bought months ago, even if I really really want to read them.

    I rely on buzz and word of mouth, which is sometimes the same as hype and sometimes different. I do tend to like the same kind of books as reviewers, so I rely on reviews too, and the opinions of friends whose taste is similar to mine.

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  4. Yeah, I hate it when hyped-about books are badmouthed by people who haven't even read them. Often, they have some sort of principled refusal to read them, too. Ridiculous. That said, I probably tend too much toward the hype. I've found a few times that I bought a book my friends loved and I felt only lukewarm about it. But that's actually rare, and I'm learning how to predict when that'll happen so I can focus on the books that will resonate with me personally.

    I think there are good books and bad books, but there are also good books that just weren't for me. Hype is the majority's way of saying that a book fits most readers of the day. Sometimes that includes me. Other times it doesn't.

    But hype also influences the WAY I read, whether I go into a book excited (which makes the reading that much better), or whether I start one tentatively, and keep putting it down because it really does take most books several pages to get me totally hooked.

    Great post, Amparo! Fun to think about. (As opposed to just Baa-ing and buying whatever gets reviewed the most!) :)

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  5. Hype does nothing for me. In fact, I usually am wary of anything that's hyped up. "Avatar" would be a prime example. Still haven't seen that one...

    In the book world, I tend to browse and see what's behind the covers of what's hidden on the shelves. Sure, I hear about the new ones, the best sellers, and some even turn out to be surprisingly wonderful. But I usually find something little jewel hidden between the spines on the dusty shelves that blows me away.

    Cheers!
    Jen

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  6. For me, I just need two things:

    1) I need to hear about it. So, there needs to be enough hype about it that I hear about it. I don't often go digging through to find something.

    2) there needs to be an audiobook. preferably for download. I have ADHD and dyslexia, and hearing books is much easier for me.

    As long as it's big enough for those two things to be true, I judge it by merit.

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  7. The opposite of hype: Morris Award short-list for debut YA announced, and I havent' heard of any of them! Glad that has changed...
    http://bit.ly/f0hNPU

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  8. Hype will sometimes affect what I buy. Usually I buy books based on recs by people I know, but sometimes I'll buy a book if it's receiving enough hype on the internet. Often this is a great decision, because books are hyped for a reason, but sometimes it leads to significant disappointment. I'll be excited about a book only to discover that it's not really for me. This is why I prefer personal recs... from friends who know and share my taste!

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  9. I'm with you on the TBR list - mine is HUGE!! And I'll admit, I'll pick up a book that's been hyped about, just to see if it's deserving of it. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't. One of my favorite authors (Shannon Hale) isn't uber hyped about, and she's FAAAR better than some other hyped up author I've read. I guess I don't let it sway my opinion - if I like it, I like it. I'm the same with movies - some that critics bashed to pieces are my absolute faves! (The Pirate Movie, anyone?) :)

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  10. It depends on the author and the book. If I like the author, I'm more than willing to give the book a chance despite the hype. :)

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  11. There's nothing better than finding an unexpected gem in a bookstore or library, or being passed a book you've never heard of by a friend.

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  12. While I do listen to the hype, I tend to know what will appeal to me or not. Luckily, the recent hyped books have been ones I wanted to read before I heard the hype. lol.

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  13. Ug, my dh does this. He hates any book or movie that is raved about, simply *because* it's popular. Now, I can understand that under no circumstance would he have ever been a Twilight fan, but I bet if he had read Harry Potter, he would have liked it. But no, because the masses like it, it must be crap. Oh so silly.

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  14. I'm not a hyped-up book buyer. If it interests me, I'll buy it. If I like it, I'll let people know. Writers work hard to get their work published. Just because I might not like it doesn't always mean it's not a good story or well written.

    My TBR pile is stacking up, too! :)

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  15. I wouldn't say I'm easily swayed, though I do tend to add a lot of books I've seen all over the blogosphere to my list. But, I've learned which readers to pay attention to, and which ones usually don't feel the same way I do (by checking reviews on books I've already read). That helps. =)

    Jessica

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  16. Yay for huge to-read piles!! *wipes sweat from brow* Thought I was the only one...

    Glad to know there's a healthy balance all around!

    Kelly--That list does have some unfamiliar names, but I've read GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD and loved it. Definitely a must-read :D

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