Friday, May 27, 2016

Weres Wanna Know: Is Book Hype A Good Thing?

Weres Wanna Know is a new discussion feature where we share a topic that's been on our minds and invite you to share your thoughts as well.

I've been thinking a lot about Gretl's Weres Wanna Know post from last week. She discussed the things that keep her from picking a book up. When I read her post the first thing I thought of that keeps me from reading a book is book hype.

Yeah. I said it. Book hype, for me, is a double-edged sword. On one hand, hearing tons of good things about a book makes me excited to read said book. On the other hand, book hype can kill any or all of my desire to read a book. I don't know about you but to me it seems like book hype is getting to be a more prevalent thing than it used to be and it's something that seems to more prevalent in the YA book community than any other. It may just be that I notice it more now because social media lets me see what's popular in the book community at all times. So I want to ask:

Does The Book Hype Make You Want To Read A Book?

When I first got seriously involved in the online book community, I took book hype seriously. I would end up hearing of a hyped book that everybody loved and I'd immediately feel inclined to get my hands on it. So I bought several of the really popular and hyped YA books and I read them. The thing was I didn't like them as much as I thought I would. Don't get me wrong! I loved several of those books and I still love them. But the hype that had built up around those books had raised my expectations so high that some of those books didn't even come close to meeting them. I became the black sheep and I feel betrayed when I don't love a book everyone else does. Unfortunately, it took me a year and a not insignificant amount of money to accept that I'm not going to like a lot of books others are loving and that being the black sheep was not a bad thing.

The biggest thing I've learned is how to deal with book hype in a way that lets me read for myself. I curate the hell out of the books I choose to pick up. I know more of my likes and dislikes so I don't give in to the book hype as much any more because there are some books that no matter the hype I KNOW that I won't like them. For the ones I'm on the fence about, I've learned that the best possible thing for me to do is to wait. That way I can see whether the book hype disappears quickly or if it just keeps picking up momentum. There are some books that the hype dies as soon as they come out and in those cases most of the time my interest dies with it. It's the books where the hype doesn't die the first six months after release that I find myself gravitating to. 

I have also come to realize that there are different kinds of hype: publisher hype and reader hype. I deal more easily with one than I do the other. Personally, I hardly ever like the books that publishers decide to push hard. It feels like there's more of a push to promote certain books these days but it seems like each publisher chooses just one book out of all of their upcoming releases to throw all their money at. You all know what I'm talking about and probably can think of a book or two that has been heavily promoted in the last couple of months. I've tried so many of these books the last few years and I can count on one hand the ones I've liked. One of the most disappointing books I read last year was one where the publisher pushed it hard.

The other type of hype is reader hype. This is the hype I don't mind as much. There are still books that get so overhyped that I feel no desire to read them, but I find that I enjoy the ones I do pick up more often than not. I have several book and blogger friends who have almost the same taste in books that I do and they're the ones that I let persuade me instead of trusting the entire capslocky "OMG! READ THIS NOW!" part of the book community. If 85% of my friends love a certain book, I know that I'll be more predisposed to love it too regardless of how much hype it has gained. There have been some exceptions to that. *tries not to glare at the Throne of Glass books*

I will admit that most of this post applies to YA books because I just don't feel the same way about the hype around adult books even though it's there. The hype doesn't feel as urgent or as big as it does in the YA community. It's probably my YA burnout talking, but that's how I feel. I'm much more willing to pick up a hyped adult fantasy book than I am a YA one. My expectations are still high with the adult books but they're not set as ridiculously high as with YA. I really have no idea why I feel so differently between the two age groups. Maybe I've just been burned too many times by similar plot lines and love triangles in YA. Your guess is as good as mine at this point.

So how do you feel about book hype...

Does it make you want to read a book? Why or why not? 
How do you deal with the hype? Let's discuss!

If you have a topic you'd like to see discussed in a Weres Wanna Know post, let us know in the comments, send us a Facebook message, or email

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