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Old 12-08-2009, 12:55 PM   #31
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How do you make up your mind what to read, then? You have to rely on someone's description of the book, surely, and at least a person who's actually read it is likely to have a more "informed" opinion of it than someone who hasn't.

Yes, how, or have you given up reading?
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:59 PM   #32
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How do you make up your mind what to read, then? You have to rely on someone's description of the book, surely, and at least a person who's actually read it is likely to have a more "informed" opinion of it than someone who hasn't.
How? I read the blurb, which is neither a recommendation or a review, but a description (albeit written in a way to entice). I also look at the cover art, or I'll search under particular genres I like already (I call this mooching). Your recommendation 'might' make me aware of a book, movie or an album, but it will in no way attract me to the work at hand. And your opinon of it I neither need nor want to know to make my decision. I don't care if Cory Doctorow recommends X book, if that book doesn't attract 'me' then I'm not reading it, I'm probably not even going to give it a chance.

To illustrate, here are the last 5 books I read:

Johnny Got His Gun - Dalton Trumbo (located after seeing a Metallica video and wondering where the video images came from. Video images led to film, film led to original novel. Novel read)

One Rainy Night - Richard Laymon (re-read after the Zombie thread here reminded me that I hadn't read it in awhile)

The Godwulf Manuscript - Robert B Parker (Started re-reading the series after I finally got my hands on the first series of Spenser For Hire TV Show)

The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep - Lawrence Block (Read a writing instructional book some time ago and a series of detective novels featuring Matthew Scudder. So I thought I'd give his Evan Tanner series a try)

A Russian Journal - John Steinbeck (been looking for this book for a long time, now I have it and I will definitely re-read it again in the future)

Not once did I read a review, take the advice of a friend or gain a recommendation for any of these books.

Last edited by Moejoe; 12-08-2009 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:02 PM   #33
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How? I read the blurb, which is neither a recommendation or a review, but a description (albeit written in a way to entice). I also look at the cover art, or I'll search under particular genres I like already (I call this mooching). Your recommendation 'might' make me aware of a book, movie or an album, but it will in no way attract me to the work at hand. And your opinon of it I neither need nor want to know to make my decision. I don't care if Cory Doctorow recommends X book, if that book doesn't attract 'me' then I'm not reading it, I'm probably not even going to give it a chance.
OK, fair enough. I guess that I consider the "blurb" to be nothing more than a "review written by the publisher" (or the author, for self-published stuff). But I take your point.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:37 PM   #34
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OK, fair enough. I guess that I consider the "blurb" to be nothing more than a "review written by the publisher" (or the author, for self-published stuff). But I take your point.
With a marked slant towards selling the book.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:40 PM   #35
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With a marked slant towards selling the book.
True, which is why I'd consider a "user review" to be more impartial than the blurb. When I buy books from Amazon, it's always the user reviews that I read, rather than the publisher's description.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:15 PM   #36
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True, which is why I'd consider a "user review" to be more impartial than the blurb. When I buy books from Amazon, it's always the user reviews that I read, rather than the publisher's description.
A blurb is not a review. It's an encapsulation of the story framed in such a way as to entice you to read the book. But it is honest because I know exactly why it is there and what purpose it serves.

User reviews can be paid for, coaxed, and generally written for all kinds of reasons that have little to no connection with how much I might or might not enjoy a book. Blurb, plus reading the beginninng of the book and then I'll make my decision. Everything else is just flotsam.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:36 PM   #37
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What would you rather 'experience'; 'Ulysses' or 'The Odessey'.

Great writing such as we have known it for the last 100-200 years, might disappear in favour of other styles and forms, but great storytelling will probably never go out of fashion.
Neither. My preferences are more along the line of "Atlas Shrugged", "Hope", "David Copperfield" and "Agent of Change".

Derek
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:16 AM   #38
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an awful lot of ebooks include a sample paragraph or chapter to give potential readers a way to decide if they enjoy the writer's voice. that's often how i make my choices.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:47 AM   #39
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I don't think that ebooks will spell the end of great writing. Instead, ebooks will allow for more great writing.

I think there are several reasons for this:

- An easier ability to write: With the advent of electronic writing tools (including computers and word processor software) it is now easier to write (and revise text). This allows for a better final product. Also, it encourages more people to try their hand at writing, even if it is only a hobby. Some might be good and some might be bad, but this allows for more chances for a great book.

- Easier to access writing: It used to be you had to go to a book store or a local library to get books. Now, with the Internet, it is now much easier to acquire ebooks (and printed books) from a large number of sources. As the number of available books increases, logically the number of great books will increase too.

- Easier distribution of writing:

Related to the above point, it is now possible for someone to distribute their writing to a wide audience themselves. Before, a great book might not be released just because it wasn't considered commercial enough.

Plus, ebooks eliminate the format limitations and cost of the printed book. A book that might not have been considered for release as a printed book (because it was too short), might find a receptive audience in as an ebook.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:58 AM   #40
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- Easier to access writing: It used to be you had to go to a book store or a local library to get books. Now, with the Internet, it is now much easier to acquire ebooks (and printed books) from a large number of sources. As the number of available books increases, logically the number of great books will increase too.
All too often, though, an average book needs the services of a professional editor to turn it into a great book. Unfortunately, one consequence of the increase in "self-publishing" is the fact that many books are no longer receiving the attention that they need from an editor.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:24 AM   #41
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All too often, though, an average book needs the services of a professional editor to turn it into a great book. Unfortunately, one consequence of the increase in "self-publishing" is the fact that many books are no longer receiving the attention that they need from an editor.
But with an overall higher number of books and authors, the number of great books and authors who can manage without a professional editor should also increase. Such people would be able to make use of beta readers and feedback from reviews in order to turn out quality works.

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Old 12-09-2009, 06:32 AM   #42
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I've yet to find a self-published book that truly could compare with the professionally published and edited books I read. I've also become quite distrustful of user reviews - even if the book looks interesting, a lot of people like it, I've had quite a few disappointments after I started to buy ebooks. Amazon's sample service has saved me several times lately from buying books I didn't like.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:33 AM   #43
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All too often, though, an average book needs the services of a professional editor to turn it into a great book. Unfortunately, one consequence of the increase in "self-publishing" is the fact that many books are no longer receiving the attention that they need from an editor.
And there are a great many professionally edited books where the "editor" should be ashamed of themselves.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:35 AM   #44
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Neither. My preferences are more along the line of "Atlas Shrugged", "Hope", "David Copperfield" and "Agent of Change".

Derek
You are aware I just meant it as examples? Of one very literary work, perhaps even a work of art, and the other being a great tale, rooted in oral story-telling. It's the central story, but stylistically, Ulysses is as far away from The Odessey that written works could be.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:37 AM   #45
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I've yet to find a self-published book that truly could compare with the professionally published and edited books I read. I've also become quite distrustful of user reviews - even if the book looks interesting, a lot of people like it, I've had quite a few disappointments after I started to buy ebooks. Amazon's sample service has saved me several times lately from buying books I didn't like.

Agreed.

I also think the "ease of creating books" (as well as the web) result in a tremendously higher noise level which makes the good stuff harder to find and thus a much greater need for reliable sources of direction.

In short I don't think the ability to create ebooks will result in more Great Books (I suspect that will remain about the same) but it will result in more books.
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