Over on Facebook, there’s a group called ‘No, I do NOT have too many books’. I don’t remember which of my friends found it but, when I saw it, I knew it was one I had to join. Even though I do (kind of) know that I DO have too many books. But there’s always room for one more. And I am trying to release them through BookMooch. Incidentally, I’m OldFashionedGirl over there. If I’ve reviewed a book recently which you would like to read then it’s worth checking my inventory as it may be available for Mooching. But I digress.
The owner of the ‘too many books’ group asked:
So tell me, if a book is popular, do you find yourself having slightly different expectations of it?
It’s an interesting question and rather ties in with the current debates about bloggers accepting review copies of books from publishing houses which I wrote about recently. As we now know that some of the hype surrounding books is artificially managed by the marketing people, what expectations do we have when (or if) we finally read it for ourselves?
In all honesty, I’m not sure that hype really affects me as a reader. It’s true that I acquire books under influence of reviews – whether in blogland, magazines, or wherever – but it’s usually so long before they reach the top of Mt ToBeRead and I start reading that I’ve long forgotten what the reviewers said. All I know is that I heard about the book, wanted to read it and now so shall do.
There are a few exceptions – if a book is part of a series (think Harry Potter) then the hype is so much more and much more long-lasting. People may be talking about the fourth volume when I pick up the first. And I guess that does alter my expectations. I may be sick of hearing about it and skip the reading altogether. Or I may expect ‘great things’ from the volume in my hand and, perhaps, be disappointed.
But, really, we’re all individuals. Someone else liking or not liking a book doesn’t mean you will or you won’t. A reviewer may flag up something you feel strongly about and that will influence whether or not you read the book. But, at the end of the day, you’re going to have to make up your own mind. And you’ve got the pleasure of reading while you do.