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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Best Books of the Year....So Far

Today I want to remind you of the joy that are “best" lists. When other people make “best” lists, we have another resource for our patrons, one that requires no work from us. Why? Because all our patrons want to know is that someone thinks a book is worth their time-- it does not have to be us making the lists.

Using resources to help patrons is something we don’t do enough. We put too much pressure on ourselves to create original content. Original content is fine, but honestly, we often don’t have the time. And patrons simply want a list of some books that someone thinks they might enjoy. They need something to help break down the huge mass of choices into more manageable chunks.

Hence the joy of the “best” list. I have posted in detail about how to make “best” lists work for you better many times using this “best books” tag. Click here and look through the posts for more ideas, links and details.

But today, I have this link to the Amazon.com Best Books of the Year So Far lists for you. These lists are wonderful for two main reasons.

1. There are over a dozen categories, so you can narrow things down for your patrons and provide a wide variety of choices for our wide range of readers.

2. Visiting the landing page for the list also reminds you that the editors of Amazon make these lists, in the wide variety of categories every single month. That’s right, even I forget that we can have a new list of “best” books to peruse every. single. month.

And of course, like the Library Reads lists, we can easily go back and see this month 2 years ago, for example, to find titles that are still great reads but not brand new, so therefore, probably on the shelf. It also makes it easy to book talk in a conversational way with your patrons. "Hey, let's find you a great read you missed from this time last year."

Trust me, I have done this with many patrons, some of them of the absolute hardest to please/help ilk, even as they were running out the door to go on vacation. It works. One person wanted three books and gave me minutes to gather them. I literally did this. It was July and I used Amazon’s monthly lists and pulled up the July best book list from the three previous years and convinced her to take one from each list. She came back after and loved them. She then continued to use that strategy whenever she went on vacation.

Honestly, I think she liked telling the story of how she picked what to read more than the books. But guess what? That is the response we are going for-- them liking their overall experience. There are thousands of books any given patron would probably like at any given time, but how they find the books often leaves more of a mark. By starting with a “best” list, no matter who said it was best or why, primes them to be positive toward the book before they even open it.

Well, except for those patrons who like to hate everything we give them. But then, that makes them happy too, to hate the books other people like, so we still win.

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