Let's Talk: Book Hype

Friday, February 17, 2012




Let's Talk is what I like to call a semi-regular feature here at i swim for oceans. Does it happen every week? No. Will there be weeks when it happens more than once? Probably. Can you set your calendar by it? Heck no. Here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.

And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!

Question: Does the hype of a book make you more, or less inclined to buy it?

I've been thinking about this question for a while lately, after speaking to a few bloggers about the overwhelming hype that some novels seem to have these days. There are two sides of the picture for me. 

1. There are books that have no hype whatsoever, and I simply stumble upon them later and am blow away by just how incredible they are. 

2. There are books that have ridiculous amounts of hype, build up my expectations astronomically and then let me down. 

I'll be honest. Overwhelming hype deters me a lot these days because I'm tired of being over-excited and then disappointed after finishing a book. I think the last book I stepped out and bought simply because the hype was killing me, and I just had to see what it was all about, was Matched by Ally Condie. Was it a good book? Sure. Was it a great book (for me)? No. 

Just a few examples of this:


Then, however, there are the exceptions to the rule. You probably remember the hype surrounding The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. That one's launch was touted ad-nauseum, and I was scared to actually open the book when I finally got it for review. However, that one totally blew me out of the water. Truly, it was one of the most engaging novels I've enjoyed in a good while.

Just a few examples of this:


Then, there are books that have virtually no hype - a prime example for me being Between by Jessica Warman - that stun me. Yes, that one was a bit predictable, but I devoured it in a day. It was searing, soaring and powerful, and it spoke to me. And yet, for some reason...no hype.

Hype, for the most part these days, deters me from reading a book right away. I'm so scared of the disappointment I might possibly feel, so I look for hidden gems, instead. It's not a hard and fast rule at all...trust me. I read hyped books, but I think there's something to be said for finding the book nobody knows, too.

Please bear in mind that these are solely my personal opinions, and none of what I say is meant to be derogatory or degrade any authors or their books.

What about you?

36 comments:

  1. Most of the time I won't read a book that's been hyped beyond belief.  That's does not mean that I won't eventually read it, but I just like to wait a while.  I like you enjoy finding the books that no one is talking about or that other bloggers I admire recommend.

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  2. It depends on the book. When I first started blogging, there was a blog tour for Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk. I didn't want to read it b/c it was everywhere. Finally read it last year. It was good, and I was mad I hadn't started the series when it first came out. However, recently I caved and bought Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox b/c on the blog tour all my go to bloggers loved it. I was mad for caving-it was good, but not great.

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  3. I am guilty of buying books surrounded by hype. I have 'book guilt'. (I stumbled upon this phrase by another fellow book blogger.) One such book was Carrier of the Mark. And boy was I disappointed. 

    I think I will be doing a post on this. :) I love your Let's Talk. 

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  4. I hear what you're saying...CotM really felt like Twilight all over again for me. I wanted to adore it, and I just couldn't. I don't think there's anything wrong with hype, but I just can't trust it across the board.

    I'm glad you like it! I'm thinking of making it a more regular meme that people can link up to and see topics in advance...thoughts?

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  5. I think it depends on the book, too...some work, but some just fall short!

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  6. I know what you mean...there's something about those hidden gems!

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  7. I really like this post! I often find my attention drawn to books that get a lot of hype (of course), but I never really buy them unless I personally think I'll enjoy them. And even when I do, I often read them months later, just so it's MY impression of the books and not the impression mixed with what I've read in reviews.

    For the most part, I think it's more fun to discover books that are hidden gems since they get barely any hype and to highlight those! It's really fun :)

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  8. I love this post! For me, hype is definitely a factor in my purchasing a book. I tend to be drawn to the ones that get advertised heavily and are raved about. I’ve actually been known in the past, to buy a book solely based on the hype, sometimes without even reading the synopsis(Ooops.) 
    So I would definitely qualify as the kind of person who is way more inclined to read a book based on the hype.

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  9. I actually rely on hypes a lot. I always figure if so many different people loved it then it's bound to be interesting. But just like you said, sometimes it does not work out. An example is Nevermore by Kelly Kreagh, MANY people told me it was amazing, when I finally got to it, it was one of the worst book I'd ever read.( just my opinion)

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  10. I talked about CofM as being Twilight too! The entire insta love and family and such was just like it. It was so disappointing. Hype is incredibly hard to trust. 

    I think you should definitely do that! If you need help coming up with topics, let me know!

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  11. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that! It felt like an exact duplicate.

    I'll be sure to let you know if my ideas run dry ;) thank you!

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  12. I like hype. It puts things on my radar.

    But I feel ya.

    PS LOVE the little fishy icon!

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  13. I haven't read Mara Dyer yet because I am too terrified that I will hate it because of all the hype, and then get disappointed. I do generally read hyped books but I also try and make my expectations realistic by reading some negative reviews as well. Hype, in general, does work well with me and it brings a lot of books to my attention.

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  14. I know what you mean - sometimes I'm not sure if a book is ACTUALLY good, or if it/the author just has a super amazing publicist. For the most part though, I tried to read the super hyped books b/c I want to be familiar with the titles that my kiddos are going to be asking for.

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  15. Hype is a dual edged sword for me. Sometimes, hypes lead to great books such as those by Kristen Cashore, but most often than not, I get left hung out to dry. I go in expecting something great and am met with great disappointment. So yeah, I listen for what's big in the market, but I also like to search out for the diamonds in the rough. It makes it that much more great when I do find an obscure gem :)

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  16. I'm with you on here. For me, Unbecoming didn't work for me at all and I couldn't understand what all the hype was about! I use hype to get books on my radar that I read AFTER the hype has died down so I can see if it lives up to it or not. But lately, and I made a post about this as well, all these over hyped books aren't as good as people claim them to be and I find that to be extremely sad. 

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  17. If something is HYPED all the time as amazing, I tend to steer away from it for a while. Like Daughter of Smoke and Bones-- I wasn't a fan. But there is always an exception. I have Shatter Me, and I've been afraid to open for it because of the hype.

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  18. I find that it's touch-and-go for me when it comes to hype. There are certain hyped books I won't touch with a ten-foot pole even if J.K. Rowling herself hands it to me, and I have yet to come across a "quiet" book that didn't impress me. I trust myself to know when a book, despite being on everyone's wishlist, isn't going to be right for me.

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  19. I think this is not easy to answer. I tempt to say that I don't care about hype at all. Meaning, I read what I think I might like instad of following a hype, or simply reading a book because it's hyped all over the internet. 

    Because you are perfectly right, sometimes you go into a book expecting so much just to end up disappointed. Then, a book might surprise you and you end up loving it much more than expected! 

    Nevermore is one example of a surprise for me. I didn't noticed the hype to be sure, I just read it and was blown away. Mara also blew me away, although I was a little cared not to like it simply because of the hype. 

    I rather trust myself and try not to notice the hype surrounding a book too much! 

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  20. I'd say I totally agree with you. In the beginning, I wanted a piece of the hyped books, but they really just let me down time and again. I felt the same about Matched as you did. I liked it, but that was it for me.

    Lately, I'm more deterred than anything. And to be honest, I kind of just wait for those who have similar taste as me, to read them and see what they think. LOL!

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  21. It does make me want to read it more, I think. Curiosity is a powerful thing after all, but I tend to be wary about them. I get so happy when they live up to the hype though! 

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  22. I'm usually wary when the hype starts getting insanely positive, so it takes me awhile longer to read those books - It took me forever to read Nevermore (which I ended up loving), and I'm still trying to convince myself to pick up a copy of Mara Dyer! 

    Nice post :)

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  23. Such a great post Melissa! I agree that hyped books often let me down. I make a point of not buying them, unless they are by an author I trust. And even then I am sometimes disappointed. Love the hidden gems!

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  24. Yes. This. Too much hype means I get excited and then sad when the book isn't the second coming of The Hunger Games. This doesn't mean the book isn't good; it just isn't omg-holycow-lovelovelove. There are, of course, some that ARE hype-worthy, but usually not as many as are pushed (darned book pushers!).

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  25. i guess it depends. i think it's all about managing your expectations. i find that often when i go to a movie with no expectations or hope that it will be awesome, it actually ends up better than i anticipated. i think books are the same way. put too much stock into the hype and you might be setting yourself up for a letdown. but a lot of amazing books get good hype because they are really good. so for me, i guess, i notice the hype but i won't read something just because of it. i have to want to read it for its own sake as well. hope that made sense.

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  26. i agree, sometimes the book lives up to othe hype just because it is that good of a book, but sometimes it's a let down :)

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  27. Dude Loved Nevermore! So dying for the next book!

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  28. Book hype makes me SO inclined to buy the book! Well, if I'm already interested in it. However, it gets my expectations sky high, and I end up disappointed. SHATTER ME was good, but didn't blow me away. Same with UNDER THE NEVER SKY. Very hyped, but they fell short to me. Then again, there are the books that completely deserve the hype, such as DIVERGENT or TFioS. In the end, I do buy the book because of the hype, even if I end up being disappointed.

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  29. I kind of go both ways. Book hype can definitely make me want to read a book and look into it more, but I don't tend to actually go out and buy them unless I was kind of already planning to do so anyways. Granted, there are always exceptions, but most of the books that end up on my wishlist shortlist (yes, I have a short and a long list lol) are ones that caught my attention from the very beginning! 

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  30. (Just outing myself as a silent reader, so it's time to finally say something! :D)I always had a little problem with hypes -years ago, I didn't even want to read Harry Potter because basically everybody loved it and I never trusted that. It really needed my parents to want to go to watch the movie until I realized this story is worth it.
    Also today I find mysef rather suspicious when a book is hyped. But it also makes me aware of those books - of course - and when it sounds interesting I often keep it in mind, reading reviews and if those convince me I more than happily give it a try. There are still those books then that aren't that good as I expected them to be, but that's kind of logical.

    And of course, there are always those "hidden treasures" that are absolutely stunning. I love discovering such ones the most. :)

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  31. I am always a bit hesitant about hype. I tend not to trust it. I do take chances on books that do get a lot of hype if it's sounds like something I'm interested in. I will not read a book that's been really hyped up just for the sake of reading that book. 

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  32. Hype is a huge turn-off for me. I remember when everyone was obsessing with Twilight. It took me over a year to finally submit to reading the series. The first two books were fine. Then book three happened and it took me over a year to finish because...I really, really disliked it. I've been on book four for almost a year. I'm determined to finish it because I already have so much time invested in it, but it's proving to be a really difficult and daunting task.

    Hype can also be frustrating to deal with as a book blog reader too. I subscribe to...close to 100 book blogs through my Google Reader. Recently, I discovered over 30 book reviews for Everneath, and they're still coming. If I ever decide to read this book, it won't be for several years because I'm so tired of hearing about it/seeing it pop up everywhere.

    Occasionally, I'll buy into book hype, but 90% of the time, the book just doesn't resonate with me like it does with the people who've hyped it up (read: the books leaves me feeling disappointed/the book doesn't live up to my expectations).

    Two book (series) that lived up to the hype: The Hunger Games (well, so far. I only finished book 1) and Harry Potter. Although, honestly, I read Harry Potter when I was way young and was unaware of the hype. I bought the second book first since I'd never heard of it, and I didn't realize it was a series.

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  33. Book Hype makes me check into a book...but not necessarily buy a book.  Only after I've ascertained that either:
    1. The author is known to me and I love his/her work, 
    2. The blurb would have caught me at the library/bookshop anyway or 
    3. Bloggers/reviewers that i trust and that I know have a similar taste to mine have liked it
    then will I pick it up!

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  34. Hype tends to turn me off books, and it's for that reason that I try to avoid reviews of books I know I'll be reviewing until after I've written my own. It's hard, in the blogging world, to be both well-informed and to try to stay impartial. If you can. It's not easy!

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  35. Looking back, the explosive hype generated from a book made me turn away from it. It took me until movie 4 to even get me to start reading book 1 (my insistent book friends never failed to break down my resolve  - haha) and even since then I've been very choosy with my book choices. I usually let all the spotlight pass before I pick it up a book :) But if it's known author and I've read his or her works before then I'd definitely but their latest.  

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