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Monday, April 23, 2018

PW Best Summer Books 2018 is Live

I know April isn’t even over, and for some of you there is still snow on the ground, but one of my favorite year round tools is now live... The Publishers Weekly Best Summer Books database.

Notice I said "year round tool” about a summer reading list. That was not a typo. I love using this annual database to find sure bet suggestions for readers all year long. Why? First, because in general editors of “best” lists are more willing to take enjoyment into to consideration when designating something to be “great” for the summer as opposed to those they give end of the year honors. Therefore, these books are much more in a “sure bet” range than the ones we find in year end lists.

Second, you can help everyone in the family with the Best Summer Books lists since they have all the genres, age levels, and even comics in one place.

Third, because all of the backlist lists are there, right at the top! We all now have 7 full years of wonderful suggestions with this one click. And, those older titles will be on your shelves...right now! They are still best summer books, just not this year’s ones.

And fourth, because they don’t think that a book has to be set in a sunny place or on the beach to be a “great summer read.” Heck, they even picked the new Paul Tremblay [which I have read and loved; review will be in 5/15 Booklist] which is about the worst vacation ever-- and even that statement is an understatement.

Click here to see this year’s version, but see my post from April of last year [here and below] to get more details from me on WHY this annual list is so wonderful.



Best Summer Books WITH BACKLIST! [Or, why Becky Hearts the PW Best Lists, Always]

It seems like every April I gush about how much I love how Publisher's Weekly displays their best books of summer. Case in point, last year's post. But I do love it. Here's why. They think about every type of reader when they make this list:  Kids, teens, adults, genre readers and literary fiction readers, people who want the newest books, and MY FAVORITE, people who want any proven good summer read, even if it is *gasp* from the backlist.

That's right, they include the backlist, and it's front and center too.  See for yourself:

This is one of the "Staff Picks" titles, in other words, one of the "Top 10" titles for summer and it is 100% genre. There is also a kids' graphic novel, a debut novel, nonfiction, a blockbuster bestselling author, a collection of Proust's letters, and more. I wasn't kidding when I said there was something for everyone.

You can click here to access the Best Summer Books 2017 page directly to see for yourself.

But the best thing about this site is how they truly put the reader first. Yes PW is the main professional serial for the publishing and bookstore world. They are there to promote and sell books, BUT I am always pleasantly surprised how reader friendly they are-- more so than the publishers tend to be. [You can read this rant I had in October about why the publishers do not help us in the ways we need to be helped.]

We know that people read more in the summer, which also means there will be more variety in the tastes of this increased number of readers. We need the widest net possible to help all of these readers. PW understands this and gives us a wonderful variety to use as our RA conversation starting point.

This is important because when we are helping patrons who only come to the library a few times a year, we really need to shine, but we also have to do it quickly. Resources like the PW "best" lists are a way to do that.

Let me explain in more details by paraphrasing what I said about the 2016 list last year here.

As you can see you have this year’s best summer books on the front page.  On the aqua bar across the top you can then choose to see more by genre. AND, you can do the same thing for summer books each year back to 2012!

But wait, there is more. You can do the same thing for their BEST of the year lists too.  ALL FROM ONE PAGE. They have both bars right at the top for super easy navigation and quick access.

Do you all realize what a treasure trove of information this is? Do you realize how happy you will be able to make a patron with just a few clicks?

And, each book comes with an annotation. You can do everything from identify a good book AND book talk it all from one resource.  You will look like a book wizard-- because you are if you use the site to help readers.

Yes, it is great for us to know about the big books of summer ahead of time.  We can make sure we have them ordered, we can start preparing “while you wait” readalike lists for some of the more popular ones like the new Lincoln Child [which is a werewolf story by the way], and we can talk them up to patrons in advance and enourage them to place holds.

However, these books are not going to be on the shelf now, both because they are not released yet AND because this advance buzz will mean people may have to wait.

But, never fear, Publisher’s Weekly has your back. Yes this list of Summer 2017’s best are not going to be available ASAP, but last year’s, or the year before’s will be.

wrote about this at length here in regards to end of the year best lists, but the advice holds true for summer reads too:

Again, you need to remember that they just want a “best” book. Most of them do not care when it was “best.” Trust me. I have done this switcharoo dozens of times over the last 15 years. People love it. They often feel like they got a “secret” best book when it is one I found from a previous year’s list.
Most patrons will be happy with any "Summer" book. Yes, many will want to read the new Lee Child Jack Reacher novel, of course, and they should, it is going to be good, but while they wait why not give them the hot Summer Mystery/Thriller from 2014, I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes- also very good and still a great suggestion three years later.

Speaking of Mystery and Thrillers, again I want to point out how AWESOME it is that PW gives specific lists of summer reads for genre readers and kids. This makes the site so much more useful to us as we help actual readers and doesn't worry as much about what the critics say are the best books we should be reading.

So right now, use the page to make sure you have these hot titles ordered. If they made the PW site it means that the publishers will be going all out on these titles.  Your patrons will see and hear plenty of media buzz on these books, so get them on-order now.

But then, bookmark the page for use all year long, to find patrons a “best” book.  Between this backlist trove and the Library Reads lists, you have hundreds of sure bet options complete with a quick book talk right at your fingertips. You have years and years of proven titles and they are only a click away.

Anyone who can click a mouse on the Internet can turn these pages into effective service to leisure readers.  Give it a try.

Finally, I think it is important to not that I have all this love for PW and it is one of the only review journals I do NOT write for, meaning they have never paid me a dime, meaning this is true best list love.

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