So I went on goodreads to rate a book I just finished and I see this.
I’d like to thank my corporate overlords at Penguin for this very attractive advertising campaign on goodreads.
I’m obsessed with goodreads because writers have never before really known much about their readers, or even about readers’ responses to their books. (Like, I know that most of the people who choose to write me like my books, but that’s obviously a self-selecting bunch. I also know a lot about what nerdfighters think of my books, but the vast majority of people who read my books do not know that I make videos on the Internet.)
Goodreads’ user base is so broad (The Fault in Our Stars has been rated almost 27,000 times) that it gives you a much better snapshot of the collective response to a novel than anything that came before.
This kind of data can help us to understand—really for the first time—what people actually like reading, instead of just what they like buying and/or checking out from the library. (For instance, way more people have bought Twilight than TFiOS, but on average, readers prefer TFiOS to Twilight. In the future, we’ll be able to learn even more interesting stuff, like which of the two readers of both TFiOS and Twilight preferred.)
Obviously, writing novels isn’t and should never be driven by market research. But one of the oldest questions in publishing is whether books succeed on their merits or whether they mostly succeed because they have a lot of marketing money behind them (to pay for goodreads ads, for example). Goodreads can answer that question pretty effectively, because marketing may make people buy a book, but it will never make them like a book.
The thing about goodreads though is that people are really weird and different in terms of rating. Like I’m a superharsh rating bitch who doesn’t give a damn whether or not the author is a GoodReads author or not before giving something a critical 1* scathing review while other people would say 3*** is a harsh review. Equally, even if I love something, I’ll often give it a 4**** unless it’s truly exceptional (like tfios and The Bell Jar and any audiobook narrated by David Tennant!) in which case it gets the 5*****, while for some that just means they enjoyed the reading experience. The thing where you hover over a star helps a bit, but yeah, idk, it doesn’t take into account the time passed since you read it and how that affects the review etc, but I think it does a fairly good job of expressing whether readers liked or disliked a book on a pretty basic level sort of kind of depending on whether you think 3*** is good.
[but yeah a great snapshot, as you say]
READ IT TODAY!