On a + note


Why do folks choose a book? Part 1 – #32 2010

Posted in on a + note by kendal0 on September 20, 2010

I am still thinking about the reader this week. What makes folks decide to read one book over another? I’m sure we talked about this in library school, but times have changed, and so have our customers. In 2010, what makes folks decide which book to read?

Awards: Public scrutiny, expert reviews, and international recognition are tried and true ways to get the reader’s attention. Awards, including the following, have a huge impact on readership:

For example, when Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for The Color Purple in 1983, sales and library reserves for the title jumped exponentially.

Competitions/Events: Special events raise public awareness and encourage reading. For example:

  • The Big Read inspires entire American communities to pick up a good book.
  • Canada Reads annually celebrates five Canadian books at public events and on-air. The promotions culminate to a week-long title fight, in which celebrity panelists defend their favorite work of fiction. Books are voted off the list, until one panelist triumphs with the book for all Canadians to read. It has a huge following.

Marketing: How often have you picked up a book off the library display rack because of the cover art? Design and slick marketing have a huge impact in the book industry and on what we read. Remember those orange Penguin books, all with the same cover? How did usage change when Penguin added a slick photo to the cover?

Literary awards, public reading events, and marketing definitely impact our reading choices, but there must be other reasons why we read what we read…….

Kitty Pope
kpope @ alliancelibrarysystem.com #32 September/10

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One Response to 'Why do folks choose a book? Part 1 – #32 2010'

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  1. Diane said,

    I just read a good article in Library Journal about the new reviewers – the public. Now with bloggers, facebook links and tweets as well as amazon, J Q Public is sharing his/her opinions on books that they have read and purchased more and more. The article also stated that print reviews such as NY Times Reviews (Bestsellers) are not doing so well, just like many other print formats as compared to Internet locations…


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