Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Sunday Symposium is a feature in which I'll be discussing various bookish topics and asking for your commentary, as well.  This week, I want to discuss the overabundance of blurbs and sales pitches highlighting a book as the next Twilight or the next The Hunger Games, or some other wildly popular title.

First off, WOW, I didn't realize how long it had been since I'd done one of these posts. My sincerest apologies!  And thanks to everyone who called me out on it when leaving feedback for the 2nd Blogoversary Bash giveaways!  I'm so glad that you enjoy these discussions and feel passionate enough about the subject matter to chime in, too.  And I agree, honest bookish discussions make a good blog even better.  Sorry that I've been working so hard on getting other content out to you guys that I kind of let the best part of this experience fall by the wayside.  I promise to strive harder to make this feature at least bi-monthly.

Okay, now back to the topic at hand.  I received an email from Audible a few weeks back that included the image to the left.  And it kind of infuriated me.

I had already planned to pick up The Program by Suzanne Young.  In fact, I've already read it and I kind of loved it.  But if I hadn't had any plans to read this novel already, I think this pitch might have stayed my hand.  I rather despise being told I'll like a book because it's similar to another I've read, unless that recommendation comes from a very trusted source.  And I'm sorry, but a trusted source an Audible Editor is not.

I often find that these flagrant comparisons are totally without basis, too.  This one for The Program, for example.  Maybe it's not a true comparison, more like a suggestion, but it kind of comes out of left field.  Having read both books, I can say that yes, fans of Twilight will probably enjoy this book.  However, I don't think the opposite would be entirely true.  I'm not bashing Twilight because when I read it years ago, I did enjoy it.  But I like to think I'm more well read these days and have formed more concrete opinions of what is tolerable writing and what is great storytelling.  I'm sure you can guess where I'd place Twilight.

What was my point again?  Oh, yeah...that comparing books like this, in completely different sub-genres, is like comparing apples to oranges.  And the wrong comparison can taint my impression of a book before it's even had a chance to make it on to my TBR list.  I really hate when I see a blurb on a book calling it "the next Hunger Games" or "Fans of ______ will love this!"  Let the reader form their own opinions.  Besides, if I wanted to read something like The Hunger Games, I'd just re-read The Hunger Games.

I feel like I rambled a lot here.  Like I said, I'm kinda rusty.  But now I'd love to hear your thoughts on comparing new books to previous works that may or may not be similar.  Do you ignore the comparisons?  Would a blurb like that make you more likely to pick up a book?  Less likely?  Or have you seen so many of these comparisons that you don't even notice them anymore?

Any and all commentary, chastising, and public flogging is welcome, as per usual.  And thanks for stopping by!


  1. You have a very valid point here. Seeing books compared to Twilight actually has turned me off to them in the past. Like you said, if I wanted to read a book like Twilight or The Hunger Games, I'd just re-read them. It's not so bad if it just claims to be a dystopian or paranormal romance, but comparing it to a specific book just because it vaguely has some identifiable circumstance doesn't do the book justice and can ruin people's expectations.

  2. I hate that too. Depending on the book, it may turn me away; but ultimately it comes down to the actual description on the back rather than to some stupid sticker whether I buy it or not. I just think it quite often does a good book a disservice to have one of those 'The new Twilight' stickers on it. It even was on the Iron King, and that doesn't have any vampires in it. Okay, there's a love triangle, but that's hardly Stephenie Meyer's invention.
    I also think it's pointless. Every book is its own book and world. Or should be, at least. Why would I want to read a book that is like another book? If anything, these stickers make me think a book is a rehashing of genre-typical elements I've seen before.
    However, usually the last thing on your list is the case: I don't even really see or read these stickers/sales pitches anymore. And since I buy most books online, I only see them when the book actually arrives at my door.

    Great discussion topic! I'm so glad this feature is back, and I'm looking forward to hearing everyone else's opinion :)

  3. OMG that comparison makes no sense. lol Two totally different genres even. Maybe if it had said 'for fans of A Need So Beautiful', her other book series? That might make sense. Otherwise... I don't like when everything is compared to The Hunger Games and Twilight and they are anything but.

  4. I haven't read The Program yet, but from the synopsis I have no idea why someone would compare it to Twilight, but honestly I try not to pay attention to what books, shows, or movies they compare one of them because usually it's just a vague reference. If it's a vampire book they always say for fans of Twilight, and if it's a dystopian then they call it the next hunger games. Personally, I would rather hear about a new or fresh concept something that they haven't done yet. Great topic!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  5. With a qualifier, I don't mind someone giving me the title of another book as a comparison to help me know what the new book is like. My qualifier is that this comparison come from a trusted source. I have a few friends at the office and on GoodReads that if they told me a book was like such and such, they'd probably be at least in the ballpark with their comparison and that would help me. A book publisher, editor, or pretty much anyone trying to sell the book? Nope, not someone who would be an objective source to me. Ultimately, its on me to do my homework and decide if I'll like it.

    Thanks for the discussion.

  6. I so agree with you! I've never read Twilight, but I don't ever want to and I don't want to read a book LIKE Twilight. I roll my eyes and hate when I see some website saying a book is like Twilight or another popular series just to perk someone's interest up or throw in a "big name." This book is by a different author and is about different things. No comparison, please! Love this post very much :) I adore discussions!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

  7. I took one of my kids to the bookstore and they picked up a book and rolled their eyes and said "another Harry Potter knockoff" and put the book back on the table. It could have been a great book, but the pitch and the cover gave the impression that it was nothing but a HP wannabe.

    I do think that people look for similar books to ones they've loved, but I don't think you want to get the feeling that you're reading just a poor imitation...

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

  8. I’m of two minds on the whole “for fans of X” method of marketing. On one hand, it’s very interesting to see the comparison they come up with. On the other hand, since almost every YA book is “The next Twilight” or “The next Hunger Games” (or both!), it gets ridiculous. It sort of hinders a book from standing on its own merit, and it limits reader’s thinking, in a way, since they might think “well, I didn’t like Twilight, so I probably won’t like this”, but then they might miss out on a book that they would have loved, since maybe that comparison isn’t really appropriate for the book.


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