Discussion: Hype = Book Death?

Does too much hype lead to bad book ratings?

Have your friends ever recommended a book to you telling you ‘it’s the best book they’ve ever read’, but when you read it all you can is ‘this book is horrible’? Does it drive you crazy wondering why your friends thought it was such an amazing book? Do you find yourself feeling let down after such an encounter?

You’re not alone. People recommend books everyday because they believe the other person will enjoy or get something out of the book. And while most readers likely agree with the recommendation of their friends, many have found themselves let down when they actually go to read said amazing book. And my question is: why?

Are our friends blind? Are they not seeing all the bad parts of the book? Are we perhaps not seeing the good parts? Are we judging it more harshly because of the amazing books we read before it? Or is it simply because the hype for the book was so high that we expected the book to be beyond amazing? And in so doing we set the book up with unreachable expectations? Thus, the book had no opportunity to be good. Rather, it’s only option was to fall flat. In other words, we unknowingly left the book without a chance.

This has crossed my mind for a few books recently. I’ve chosen read certain books because they were popular on the internet and everyone was talking about them and they were the ‘new big thing‘. So, wanting to be with the time, I was like ‘okay. What’s all the hype about? I might as well check it out if it’s that amazing‘. Yet, upon finishing the book I was sorely disappointed. I couldn’t fathom why everyone thought the book was so good when I found it to be so bad and I think it’s because of the fact that I was expecting it to be amazing. Rather than giving it a blank slate to build itself off of, I set it up on a pedestal. I started the book at fifty instead of at zero, which inevitably set the book up for failure before I even began to read.

Now, that’s not to say that the non-hyped books are amazing either. I’ve read some pretty bad books that I hadn’t heard anything about before reading them and I’ve also read some pretty amazing books that were hyped up ahead of time. However, by the time I got around to reading the popular books, I was years behind their release dates. I read them after the hype-storm had died away and by that point I wasn’t expecting much of the book anyway. I was reading it more for the sake of being ‘up-to-date’.

From what I can tell of my own experiences, it seems as though a book that gains too much publicity and too much hype is actually creating a platform for people to dislike it. Which sounds insane since good books should be popular. Popularity is a sign of good writing and a good story (usually). So, naturally people want to share the book when it’s good, but the problem with this are the people left reading after the hype has already built up. They’re the ones who end up unhappy with their choice because they expect it to more than just ‘good’. They expect it to be amazing. That’s the natural response for something that gets so much popularity.

Logically it would seem that hype is actually killing the story because hype says ‘this book is the best thing since sliced bread’ when in reality it’s just a well written story. Yet, because people are expecting the ‘best thing since sliced bread’ they end up sorely disappointed.

But what’s your opinion? Have you ever read a book that was really popular only to think it’s not that amazing? Why do you think that is? Were you fairly judging the book or were all those lovers of the book just delusional?

Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you! ^.^


13 thoughts on “Discussion: Hype = Book Death?”

  1. Great question. Book reviews are interesting animals. What surprises me is how bad books get a lot of good reviews sometimes. It’s like the hype puts blinders on people. Then, after a year or two and the hype has died down, reviews tend to balance out more.
    P.S. It’s nice to finally get to see what you look like in your profile picture. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh man! I know that feeling! I always go look at reviews on Goodreads after I finish reading a bad book and I’m just like ‘what is wrong with you people? That book was horrible.’ But I think hype can go two ways: you get the super-critical people and the ‘followers’ who want to be in the know-how and be up-to-date and in the ‘it’ crowd or whatever. I dunno. It is rather strange, isn’t it? I definitely think it depends on the reader, now that you mention it.

      P.s. Haha! I’m glad you’re happy. I was worried people would be disappointed. :p

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that it’s the source of the hype. For me if only one or two friends recommend a book I’ll be very likely to read it. Five or more friends recommend it? I start losing interest in the book. Fast. I think that’s the real death. Not that there’s more lower ratings, but the fact that potential readers lose interest because we’re sick of hearing about the book. It’s ironic for sure! Again I think it’s about the kind of hype and where said hype comes from.

    A lot of times when I finally do read a highly hyped book it’s because the series is over so if I do like the first one, I don’t have to suffer and wait for the next ones. Or just because I’m bored and want to see what all the drama is about. In those cases I expect myself to hate the books. I keep the bar waaay low. Typically the book will exceed my expectations, which is wonderful. But there have been plenty of times I was burned by a hyped up book.

    Hype makes me wary for sure, but I don’t think it’s the death because of poor reviews-which can cause drama and drama (good or bad) can put the spotlight on the book, it’s a possible book death because of lost interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So you’re of the opinion that books die because of too much hype because we’re sick of hearing about them, yes? In this sense, I could agree. After all, I recently realized I’m the type to avoid books when they become popular and everyone likes them (i.e. Hunger Games). I think my aversion to them has more to do with not wanting to follow the crowd, though. Yet, I went back and read HG later, which is what it sounds like you did, and I quite enjoyed it (minus the last book). Basically, in this scenario we are actually avoiding the hype, though, because we’re so far behind that the hype has already died away. Would you agree?

      P.s. Thank you for joining my discussion! I love your long reply and I hope to see you at more discussions in the future! ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My replies can get a bit long lol! I like to try to cover all my bases, especially when it comes to topics I’m excited about. I certainly plan on joining in future discussions, I’m really glad you decided to talk about this topic!

        Yes! I feel like for some books the authors really take advantage of the death of hype/book. Twilight is a great example of this. After the series was finished and the movies were done, well no one really remembered them. It didn’t stick, despite drastically changing the landscape for YA lit.
        Then the 10th anniversary of the book roles around and look what shows up! A re-written version of Twilight in a special book that contains the original (with minor improvement tweaks) as well. The hype spiked back up and once again Myers and the publishing company was raking in the money. That’s REALLY smart marketing there and a great use of the fluctuation of hype.

        I’m very much the same way too. I’d rather find books that are not as hyped. I feel like my review means a bit more and can help the author (and other readers) more as well. Also, to me there’s something more intimate about the reading experience when it’s not a hyped up book. I’m not quite sure how to describe it really. It just feels more special. I agree, because we just avoid the hype, when it dies down, we’re behind and the hype doesn’t matter anymore (or maybe I should say matter as much). Which is ironic cause every author wants to be the one with a hyped book as for a while at least, hype sells. I guess it’s all about finding the balance!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha! I love long discussions because it shows your excitement for the topic. I look forward to your input in the future(Thursdays). :p
          Ugh. I personally hate it when an author can’t let a series end. When they have to keep bringing it to the forefront of people’s minds it means it wasn’t good enough to be popular. Good books that don’t require hype create long lasting fandoms aka HP. If hype is the only thing holding up a book then I don’t think it’s a good book. Just my opinion.

          Mm. That’s very true. Non-hyped books are the ones that need the reviews more to spur them into the hype circle. And who doesn’t ‘liking the book before it was cool.’ Haha!
          Hype does sell, but I personally would prefer for my books to create fandoms, not hype. Hypr is just… too short lived. You know? Like a fad. Of course, now I’m getting into ‘what exactly is hype?’ :p that should be a topic for another day. Haha!


  3. I normally dislike books I’ve read that are highly hyped or bestsellers but it depends on the source of the hype. I read literary fiction more than other genres. For me to rate a book highly it has to be well-written and thought provoking and not simply just an entertaining story. I find many best sellers/highly hyped books to be lighter fare -more about entertainment than anything else. However, if a book is highly hyped by book bloggers or friends whose tastes match mine then I will search it out and most likely rate it highly.

    So I guess it’s a really long was of saying that I don’t think hype necessarily means book death for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm. So you think that hype has more to do with an entertaining story and not necessarily the qualities of a well written story. I could see this. After all, (at least in the genre I read), many readers are younger. No doubt all they are looking for is entertainment and perhaps they haven’t been exposed yet to upper-scale writing. I never thought about that. Thank you for your input!
      P.s. I love long comments. Hope you’ll be back for another discussion!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, not always but I’ve found that some of the blockbusters books tend to be popular because they appeal to a very wide group of readers and those aren’t usually the books I typically enjoy. I don’t mean it in an elitist way at all. There’s value in a good story, I just personally am drawn to books that have less commercial appeal. My main point is that hype doesn’t necessarily mean book death for me because it all depends on source of hype.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you!

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.