There's an interesting discussion here about book discoverability, and how the top-selling authors take all the attention, so that it's very hard to find midlist authors to read.
I don't think there was ever a perfect era of book discoverability, but things were definitely better for the midlist when we had more bookshops, libraries, and magazines recommending a number of different authors to different audiences. Now, it's all or nothing with few algorithms.
I work in a library, and this reflects my experience. We're still used for checking out materials, but as more patrons shift to using digital books or skip librarian interaction and just pick up holds, mid-list authors are now suffering in our collection as the algorithms decide for patrons more. So many good books are missed now.
@haven4books i feel like we're on the cusp of not being able to fix this with in-person recommendations, if everyone is getting the same recs from big companies. It's the benefit libraries and small bookshops brought. I'm not sure how to square that circle and democratise choices again, or at least disperse them amongst a range of subject-matter experts.
@Sandra @rosjackson So, since I've been a publisher, small trivia here to dispel that myth a little: the same words published now as opposed to e.g. the 60s would likely make a book three times as thick.
Mechanically, this is due to page margins, font sizes, line spacing, etc.
But the reason? On a bookshelf, it's the spine that grabs attention, so making it fatter creates more ad space.
Fatter books means fewer books per shelf row.
Fewer books means...
You see where this is going.
The best thing about bookshops is that they introduce more variables, especially if they're independent, and are therefore harder to remotely steer by a marketing department.
But bookshops are not a panacea, and probably less of a solution than one might wish for.
The best recommenders are people, and people have limited...
@jens @Sandra I think the problem with that is, unless you're massively funny, there isn't a lot of demand for individual reviews. But, there is a use for them as long as you can filter them somehow to "people with similar tastes to me" or this mood I'm in right now" or some such. So it still ends up being micro-finance for the reviewer.
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