Looking for something new to read - ask your bookseller!

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, September 3, 2013
How do we find the books that we read?
Traditionally, we find new titles through the literary review pages of weekend newspapers. Getting a mention on these pages is almost a guarantee of best seller status. I read the literary review pages, however I'm always disappointed to see the same titles reviewed in all the newspapers - which makes me wonder about the new titles they are missing. 
Studies show we trust recommendations from friends more than reading any review. I know there are particular friends who I will listen to when they rave about a new book. With others, it's like religion and politics - I know we will never agree.
Goodreads is hyped as a reader-to-reader review site. However, I think most of us use it as an output for the passion and angst we feel after finishing a book rather than an exercise in learning what to read next.
Amazon's 'You liked ..., you may like...' has been hugely successful, and many friends say they use it as a prompt to at least read about the book Amazon recommends to them.
Personally, I still use the staff at my local book shop. They know the new titles that have come in and, through the years, they've grown to know me. When I ask for recommendations, I'm usually presented with at least three book covers and an enthusiastic appraisal. Ok, you might say they would do that, they are selling the books. The point is, they could try and sell me any book but they don't. The service they give is personal, and I always go back for more.
Many readers don't use their book shop in this way. Which is such a shame - matching books to readers is their expertise. And like the trade shops we used to have on the high street - the butcher who recommended the best cut for stew, the baker who recommended a bread for Uncle Albert with no teeth, and the fishmonger who knew not to sell us fish with bones - we must use our local book seller or lose him!


Tags: "book shops" "book sellers" book reviews" "books are my bag" 
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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