Reading Style–Deep or Wide?
Blogger: Wendy Lawton
A week or so ago I was discussing the reported across-the-board sales slowdown for newly released novels. Apart from buying habits of the chains and big box stores my theory is that front list is suffering because, with the advent of ebooks, readers are spending much of their book dollars on backlist books. I decided to ask here if that is true of our Books & Such such blog community.
First a couple definitions:
- Frontlist refers to the front of publishers’ catalogs– those books that are just releasing. Even though catalogs are changing we still refer to new books and important books as frontlist titles.
- Backlist refers to the books that used to populate the back of those same catalogs– the books that were from past seasons.
My theory? Readers are finding a writer they love and backtracking–reading through that writer’s backlist– instead of trying another writer’s frontlist book. I find I’m doing that now that a writer’s whole list is available to me. For instance, for my recreational reading, I’m an Anne Perry fan. I anxiously await her newest book each season. Someone told me that if I liked Anne Perry, I’d like Victoria Thompson who writes the same flavor of Victorian mysteries only set in all the various neighborhoods of New York instead of Perry’s London. They were right. I started with her first mystery. I’m now on her fifth one. She’s written fourteen so far so I have a ways to go.
But that kind of commitment to an author means that I’m not actively discovering new authors and reading frontlist books for a while. If others, like me, are reading deeply into one author, instead of widely across a number of different authors, it’s going to affect frontlist sales.
The good thing for authors is that there is no more “front list” and “backlist.” It used to be that your book was on the bookstore shelves while it was new and then, well, unless you were a bestseller, it was consigned to oblivion. Now– with unlimited virtual bookshelf space– if a reader clicks on your name, all your books are equally available as ebooks.
So my question for you is this: If you find an author you like, are you buying multiples from their backlist? Or do you read the hot new books coming out, follow reviews and keep to the frontlist mostly.
How do you read? Backlist or front? Click to Tweet
Do you follow an author through all her books or read more widely? Click to Tweet
Deep or wide? How do you read? Click to Tweet