Let’s Discuss: Book Hype

When Harry Potter was released, the internet was in its infancy. Fansites were hosted on AngelFire, Dumbledore’s quotes were used in away messages on AIM, and website graphics were a horrible mixture of neon and glitter. Sure, we chatted on message boards and played on Neopets, but we weren’t as connected then as we are now. Because we have this constant access to the opinions of others, there seems to be more bandwagon hype than there had been before.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The internet has made it easier to find books and to discuss them. More exposure is rarely a true negative. However, there’s this hype surrounding certain titles and with that hype comes disappointment. With disappointment comes a degree of distrust.

I’m always hesitant when I see new books receiving 5 star after 5 star review. After all, herd mentality is definitely real. We’re more likely to view something positively if we see our peers viewing something positively. So I have to wonder: is this book really that great, or are readers caught up in a whirlwind of enthusiasm?

We’ve seen it happen before: books that are incredibly popular at the time do not stand the test of time. Books like Twilight and The DaVinci Code were incredibly popular at one point in time. People loved these books. But overtime, less-than-favorable reviews started flooding in, and they sank in popularity.

So what is it that makes a book instantly popular and then later become the book that’s always bashed? Is it because there’s something in it that reflects a current cultural need and desire, and once that need is gone, it does the opposite? Is it because our friends like it, so at some level we feel like we do too? Or is it because we are caught up in all the tricks through the first read, but on the second we see the flaws?

And at the end of the day, does this even matter?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

9 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Book Hype

  1. aubreyleaman says:

    This is such an interesting post! I feel like all three of the suggestions you make at the end about why we like hyped books at first but not later are probably part of it, at least in my own experience. I was going to say that I actually don’t like reading books that have a ridiculous amount of hype because I don’t like being biased even before I turn to the first page, but I love a lot of classics which are “hyped” in a different way. So much to think about!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      Thanks! I definitely think “hype” over classic lit is a different ballgame. But yeah, if its a newly published book with a ridiculous amount of hype, I’m way more apprehensive.

      Liked by 1 person

      • aubreyleaman says:

        Yeah, I think maybe the hyped classics feel different to me because they’re not actively being hyped right now, so when I read them it feels more like I’m choosing them for myself (while still feeling like I have a good chance of reading a great book). Hmmm…


  2. bookbeachbunny says:

    This is a good question. I always try to wait because I think in a lot of cases like you said books that are incredibly popular in the beginning don’t withstand but the ones that are worth it are when actual word of mouth builds. (It’s been a while since HP but I don’t remember hearing a thing about that book until around the time of book 3 and then it just exploded. Probably different in the UK though.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      Definitely. I’m learning to ignore hype surrounding recently published books because they tend to disappoint me. Yeah, I think you’re right. Prisoner of Azkaban was released when I was in elementary school, and that’s when I remember it getting popular.


  3. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says:

    Excellent post and it is really interesting to think how the internet has shaped media consumption over the last 20 years! I have fallen victim to over-hyped books – especially ones that I had a gut feeling I wouldn’t like but succumbed to the hype anyways and wound up hating every minute of it (*cough* Rule *cough*). I guess I need to stick with my gut more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      Thanks! I’m such a nerd, but I think it’s fascinating. I think part of my fascination is that I grew up with all this new technology emerging so quickly, from when we relied on dial-up to now. It’s just crazy to think how media has evolved because of it.

      Also, I have no idea what Rule is, but I’m guessing I’m not missing out? Haha


  4. areaderbetweenthelines says:

    This is an interesting topic, I think that a lot of people read books that are well-known because of their popularity even if these books aren’t something they’d otherwise choose, which means that readers will be disappointed. I also personally like trying new authors and books I haven’t heard of because then I’ll have absorbed less information about them and will have an unaffected view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Megan says:

      Oh definitely. There’s nothing wrong with reading what’s popular, but sometimes I like to wait to see how long that popularity lasts before reading a book. I like trying new authors too, but I tend to research them a little more before diving into it


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s