With all the focus on the media and the restructuring of newspapers in Australia where do people find out about books now?
In the US when they restructured their newspapers it was often the book pages that were cut first and of course if the newspaper disappears completely there is no more book reviews either. At Pages & Pages we used to religiously go through the Saturday newspapers to make sure we had all the books reviewed in stock but over the last ten years the demand stemming from the weekend newspapers has slowly diminished. But in saying that I would hate to see the demise of the book sections in the Weekend Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum section or any other newspaper.
One reason I think there has been in a decline in readers reacting to newspaper reviews is that the internet has enabled people to access more than just their local newspaper and The Guardian and New York Times book reviews have increased their presence amongst readers. But there are also a variety of other sources for book reviews. The big growth has been in blog reviews. Every reader can now blog their thoughts on the last book they read a share it on the internet. There are some fantastic blogs out there covering every imaginable subject and reading taste. You have blogs from readers, authors, publishers and booksellers.
There are also some fantastic podcasts out there that review books, discuss genres and what is happening in the book industry at the moment. Some of them run monthly or quarterly book clubs as well for even more in depth discussions about books. And of course traditional radio book segments are also readily available as podcasts so they can be accessed at more convenient times and like newspapers readers can access international radio podcasts about books like NPR.
There has also been a growth in online reading communities. The biggest being Good Reads but there is also a locally based one called The Reading Room. These sites allow you to catalogue the books you’ve read, rate them, review them and share all this information with other people within those communities. They can then generate recommendations based on what you’ve read (although your local bookseller is always the best at this)
My favourite place for recommendations is twitter. I follow other booksellers, authors, reviewers, bloggers and publishers and discover lots of great new books through social media (and recommend back of course).
So, where else do you get your book recommendations from? Let me know in the comments!