Now, whether or not your patrons will like any book from any best list is another story, and probably best saved for another post because just because a book makes a best of the year list that does not mean that it is right for every reader.So today I will take up that promised topic by explaining myself further and giving you better tools to help your patrons.
The problem with most of the "Best" lists is that they are skewed toward literary fiction. Now I happen to love literary fiction personally, but for the vast majority of my patrons, literary fiction is NOT their preferred leisure reading genre.
Take the most popular yearly best list, The New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books List. There are great books here, but where can a hard core genre reader find their best books?
People think they should be reading the books on this list because someone important [The New York Times] said they were the best. And while they are very good books, they might not be to everyone's taste. Sometimes a genre reader just needs their own best list to look at. They need someone who likes the books they like to make a list of their shared best.
That's why a resource like the Goodreads Best Books poll is perfect for a wider group of library patrons. Goodreads polls their users, who are just regular readers [just like your patrons] and asks them for their favorite books in many categories. Click here to access the 2013 winners and longer genre lists. So now a romance reader can get a detailed list of the "best" books in their favorite genre. So can a memoir lover, and so on.
This Goodreads list is where the vast majority of your patrons are going to find the right "best" book for them.
Now if you want to ditch the best list idea completely and just look for critically acclaimed books released in 2013 and search through them by genre as well as appeal factors like "rather short" or "the dark side," then the brand new NPR Book Concierge is for you.
Click here for NPR's explanation of why they ditched the traditional best list this year. [Hint one of the reasons is that they published 20 different ones last year, and really when you have 20 best lists, are your really making useful best designation?]
I think this Book Concierge works well because it mimics a true reader. Yes, you might say Mystery is your favorite genre, but you may also want a funny mystery or a sexy one. How do you find a more specific "best" option? Well, with Book Concierge, you can trust the critics to have narrowed the whole pie down to about 200 titles worth your time and then you, the reader, use their tags to find a very specific option for yourself.
Color me impressed.
More of my reviews coming soon.