Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

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Nathan Bransford
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Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Nathan Bransford » November 18th, 2010, 12:09 pm

The National Book Awards were announced last night, and it got me to thinking. Are you more likely to buy a book that has won a major award? Do you factor that in when thinking of what to read next?

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by charlotte49ers » November 18th, 2010, 12:16 pm

Yes, but my answer might be a little skewed. I don't really pay as *much* attention to awards in regards to the young adult or adult novels I buy, but I'm an elementary school teacher and I try to have as many Newbery and Caldecotts in my classroom library as I can (which I also read before bringing them into the classroom).

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by longknife » November 18th, 2010, 12:36 pm

Well, I'm probably opposite of most here. I definitely DO NOT consider buying a book or watching a film/tv program because of awards. IMHO, they're mostly people of the same persuasion who're trying to soothe each other's egos.

I've even found that reviews sometimes turn me off. You've got a bunch of "professional reviewers" who are trying to tell the average reader what's good or bad.

I've also got to admit that I mostly buy books by writers I know but will occassional buy books based on the blurb in the back or inside. Same holds true with films - depends on the trailers - and even then, I find myself disappointed by some.

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Nicole R » November 18th, 2010, 1:06 pm

Nope - doesn't matter to me at all. I buy books based on the author, the cover and/or the back cover copy. Plus any good word of mouth.

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by HillaryJ » November 18th, 2010, 1:44 pm

I look at award winners the same as I look at "Top 10" or "Year's Best" lists, to see if there's anything out there that I missed. But even an award-winning book still has to past the blurb/first few pages/flip through test, just like all the other awardless books, before I'll purchase it.
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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Robin » November 18th, 2010, 5:12 pm

Nope... Awards typically don't influence my purchasing habits. I usually don't even notice the round emblem until after I purchase it or one of my kids try to pry it off.
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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by sierramcconnell » November 18th, 2010, 5:20 pm

Actually, I might be less inclined if a book is popular or won an award. Because it has been in my experience that lately a lot of 'omg super awesome' award books are not that great. Back in the day, when I was growing up and before, it used to mean something when a book had a Newberry sticker on it.

Now, if you're a New York Times bestseller or something, it usually just means people didn't want to belong to the out crowd and had to buy the book for their coffee table\shelf to make it look like they read it.

I know my view seems skewed, but there's been a lot of crap lately that I've gotten to the end of and been like O_O and yet nothing satisfies like an old paperback from the used bookstore.
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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Paolito » November 19th, 2010, 8:14 pm

I admit it. I make an effort to read award-winning novels, and those nominated for the award. I know, I'm running against the current here, but I believe I can learn a lot by studying really good writing, and books nominated for the top literary awards such as the Pulitzer, the Orange, the Pen/Faulkner, the Giller, the Canadian Governor General's Award, etc., tend to be extremely well-written.

I don't always love the book, and I can always find flaws (wish I could find them as easily in my own work), but I always find passages or scenes that humble me. I study those to learn how the author created the particular effect.

The awards I find less interesting or worthwhile are those that seem, to me, to be affected by the sales figures.

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Down the well » November 19th, 2010, 9:38 pm

Paolito wrote:I admit it. I make an effort to read award-winning novels, and those nominated for the award. I know, I'm running against the current here, but I believe I can learn a lot by studying really good writing, and books nominated for the top literary awards such as the Pulitzer, the Orange, the Pen/Faulkner, the Giller, the Canadian Governor General's Award, etc., tend to be extremely well-written.
Yeah, I'm with you, Paolito. I usually like the prize winners. Sometimes the National Books Awards don't meet my expectations, but they're usually worth checking out. Anyway, I think when books win awards it gets them on my radar quicker. Then again, I like literary fiction in general.

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by ps3v » November 20th, 2010, 9:47 am

Some awards--the Pulitzer and National Book Award mostly. The best way to learn is to study the masters. Which is not to say there aren't many, many great books and writers that never win awards. Sometimes when I'm stuck I pull a favorite book off the shelf, open to a random page and read. It always inspires me to do better.

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Sommer Leigh » November 20th, 2010, 1:24 pm

Yes, I am more likely to check a book out that has won an award, specifically the Michael L. Printz Award. The judges behind the Michael L. Printz award seem to have a direct line to my heart. I've loved almost everything I've read that was honored or won the award. They really know young adult books. The William C. Morris YA Debut Award has also started out being as spot on as the Printz award. Hype doesn't seem to have anything to do with these two awards, which I appreciate. As for the Newbery Medal, it has always been hit and miss for me. Last year's winner, When you Reach Me, was genius, but of the honored books only The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate was one I could get through and enjoy.
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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Margo » November 20th, 2010, 6:13 pm

I stopped reading most literary fiction a few years ago, so the major literary awards are never on my radar. However, when a book I have not read wins a Hugo (or other genre-specific award), I am more likely to see if I can find an online excerpt. If not, I might make a mental note to see if there's a copy at the bookstore the next time I'm there and thumb through the first few pages. So my response is I'm more likely to take a look at a book that has won an award.
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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Bernie Brown » November 22nd, 2010, 10:04 am

The award would draw my attention to the book, but it wouldn't make me buy it. It still must have other things that appeal to me such as a great title, subject that interests me, cool cover, and recommendation from friends helps, too.

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Mira » November 24th, 2010, 5:10 pm

For YA or even kids books, definitely.

For adults, if a book won an award, then it is most likely beautiful, thought-provoking and tragic, dealing with heavy subject matter. It will definitely earn my respect, and I might mention it in a conversation to someone who reads that type of book, but I'd stay far away from it.

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Re: Are you more likely to buy a book that won an award?

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » November 24th, 2010, 6:01 pm

Winning a prestigious award is certainly a mark in the book's favour if I'm considering it. It's not the be all and end all, but I certainly take it into consideration. I also scan award winners looking for books that appeal to me. I still need an interesting premise -- it needs to be my kind of book. But certainly I find award lists helpful as a reader.
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