Thursday, February 16, 2017

Discussion Post: Is Hype a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

So lately I have been reading a lot of super hyped books that I haven't been loving and it's got me thinking, is hype good or bad?

One thing I learned being withing the blogosphere almost right away is the fact that there is always going to be some super popular book that everyone seems to be talking about. It doesn't matter if it's a book that just came out, one that's coming out soon, or one that has been out forever there is always going to be a book that is almost universally loved that you feel left out if you haven't read it. The hype is real with so many books. But, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

On the one hand I have found some absolutely amazing books because of the recommendation from bloggers and because of the hype surrounding them. I probably never would have found Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Rainbow Rowell, or Brandon Sanderson if it wasn't for the hype around their books. I had heard basically everyone talking about the Throne of Glass series, the Grisha trilogy, Eleanor and Park, and Mistborn when I first started blogging. These are now books I consider to be favorites and I never would have found them if it wasn't for the hype.

Even more than that, I feel like hype around upcoming releases like debuts can definitely help me diversify my reading. When I first started blogging and even up until a few years ago I had a much narrow focus on my reading. I read pretty much only genre fiction and was even picky about that. Then I started to see the hype around other books and ended up deciding to try some books I wouldn't have read if they weren't super popular. I definitely think hype can be good in that it causes people to break out of their comfort zone.

I also think hype can be a good way to build community. The book blogging community is surprisingly big. I am constantly finding new blogs because people are just starting out or I just never interacted with them before. And sometimes it can be hard to start up a conversation. But if everyone is talking about the same book and you loved it, it makes it easy to gush along with them. In that same vein, if you do a review of a super hyped book it brings people to your site because they want to see your thoughts. It can definitely brings people together.

But it can also be a bad thing. I've gone into books with super high expectations because a book was so hyped up and popular that I thought it was going to be the next great American novel and then been disappointed in the book. If everyone is raving about a book you can't help but assume that it is going to be mind-blowing. I have been burned many times by books that everyone was raving about, which I didn't love. Sometimes they were good but not as good as I expected, and sometimes they were just not good and I didn't get the hype at all. And in cases like this you feel like such a black sheep and don't want to talk about the book at all because everyone seems to love it but you. You wonder if it's you or the book.

And if I am being entirely honest, sometimes I wonder if the hype surrounding a book is actually genuine. It could very well be just that a book has really good marketing. You know what I mean, right? There are just some books the publishers are doing a great job hyping up. You see the cover all over Twitter and there are blurbs and previews, people are talking about it in their WoW posts, and even a few early reviews are coming in. I can't help but wonder in those cases if the book is really worth the hype or I'm just seeing the book everywhere. These are instances where I wait for more reviews, especially ones from trusted reviewers.

But after all of this, do I think hype is good? Yes. And do I think hype is bad? Yes. There are definite benefits to the hype. It helps you find books that are amazing, it helps you diversify your reads, and it builds community. But there are also downfalls like you can have really high expectations, you can feel like a black sheep, and it can be disingenuous. I think the key thing is to just be aware that hype doesn't always mean that the book is right for you. Try and suspend your expectations and like every other book you will love it or not like it.

What do you think? Is hype a good thing or a bad thing? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Interesting post! I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I normally stay away from hyped books because I think a lot of the hype comes from the publisher’s marketing department. You hardly ever see books from small publishers getting a ton of hype because the publisher can’t afford it. I do read and review hyped books, but I prefer to use my blog to support books that don’t get much attention.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I agree with all you said! I too have picked up books I probably would never have otherwise because of the hype. Some I have liked, some I didn't. I don't go in with high expectations because I know not every book is for me. Sometimes I'll even wait until they hype dies down before I read it.
    I agree with AJ in that I also look for books with not much hype, so many hidden gems out there!
    It's really like restaurants, you of course hear all about the big chains but not really about local ones and yet, some of those small local restaurants are so much better than the chain restaurants.
    I think it's important to just acknowledge that you might not like that book. It's OK! :) It is OK!

  3. Great post. I completely get what you mean about hype being bad and good. I feel like originally it's a great thing because it helps me to find books I know I wouldn't of without it. But after I've found that book I normally try and wait until the hype has died down a bit so my expectations are lowered. Occasionally I'll read them despite hype and not be disappointed but it's rare. Really interesting discussion!

  4. Nice post! I completely agree that hype is both good and bad. I definitely would never have read Sarah J Maas or Rainbow Rowell if I didn't have my blog and Fangirl is definitely one of my favourites now. However, I'm nearly always super behind when it comes to reading hyped books (TBR mountain problems haha). I always try to go into hyped books with lower expectations now though, because I have been so disappointed by a few in the past.

    Lauren @ My Expanding Bookshelf