Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Time To Talk! Reading From The Backlist

I'm drinking the last of my pot of coffee right now
and I'm feeling pretty wired. It's GREAT.  


The word "backlist" makes me chuckle sometimes. Imagine me, sitting at my computer, using air quotes every time I type that word, okay? Perfect. Why, you ask? Because every time I find a new title, no matter when it was published, IT IS A NEW TITLE TO ME. Also, whenever I pick up a book that I've always known about, no matter when it was published, IT IS A NEW TITLE TO ME. 

But, for the sake of being correct, let's talk about "backlist" titles. 

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back·list
ˈbakˌlist/
noun
  1. a publisher's list of older books still in print.

Source: Google 

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Why do I read so many backlist titles? 

1. HypeI get excited about new releases just like everyone else BUT I fall victim to the hype machine super easily, which causes me to completely freeze up. It's really bad, you guys. Over the past few years, I've learned that when I see big marketing and lots of tweeting, it may be a book that I should wait to read. Not that promotion is a bad thing - I'm not saying that. I'm saying this is an Asheley-thing and I don't know why and it almost always makes me feel differently about a book. 

Reading a book that is being heavily promoted feels to me like reading a book with a winter jacket on - I feel suffocated, like I can't move my arms completely. I feel much more comfortable if I take the jacket off. That may be a really odd way of explaining it, but it's just so much easier for me to wait and read without that extra burden and pressure. This is why I often wait a little while to read new releases. This is why I often wait a long while to read some very popular titles/series, particularly if the popularity grows with each subsequent installment. 

Here are two series that I've waited on, currently reading, and loving to the point of tears: 



I tried starting them earlier, but put them on hold and it was the right decision for me. Now is the time.

The likelihood that I will enjoy the book is much higher without the added pressure, so it makes sense to me. I only want to read if I love it, and this is the best way I can do that! 

*sometimes marketing campaigns are completely overdone, you guys have to admit this. 

2. Finding an author that I love. Sometimes I find an author that I love and I want to read everything that author writes in the future and also everything that author has ever written. This is the actual definition of backlist as I see it and I LOVE IT. This is working forward and backward on an author's timeline. This is fangirling an author. I LOVE DOING THIS. 


3. Browsing shelves. Library, Goodreads, Amazon, wherever else. I look at covers, spine art, similar titles that are recommended when I click on a certain title. No elaboration necessary, I presume. 

4. Books on-hold. Okay, this one may/may not be very popular but no judging because I'm being honest: I've received titles for review before and seen some negative/mixed reviews. NOW. I try to stay completely away from other reviews and usually I do a pretty good job of this, but sometimes I can't help seeing things. Also, I usually am drawn to mixed reviews like a moth to a flame, but sometimes I really want to like a book and would prefer to go into reading it without having prior opinions. These things are important to me. In these cases, if I have not received a time frame for a review request from an author/publisher, I will wait a while to read the books because I hope I can forget what I've seen. Thus a new title becomes a backlist title because sometimes I (gasp!) do wait that long. Being honest here, we all have things we do, not only ME. 


I would rather review a book I'm interested in honestly than not review it at all. I don't want to give a review that isn't really fair because my opinion may have been swayed a little bit. I'm careful about what I choose to review and I'm careful about doing it fairly, and I do have a folder of these titles that I pull from in my rotation. 

5. Waiting for an audiobook. Sometimes I want to wait and read the print copy while I listen to the audiobook. Sometimes the audiobook is published immediately along with the print - sometimes it is not-too-long after the print - sometimes it is a long time after. ALSO, I can't buy ALL THE AUDIOBOOKS, although this is probably one of my top three bookish dreams. Sometimes I have to wait for my library to get the audio, if I really want to listen to it. 

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Sidenotes:

1. I'm often (not always, but often) more likely to read backlist reviews because of hype and because I feel less pressure to keep my head clear for my own review titles. 

2. Reading YOUR thoughts on your blogs and on Goodreads makes me aware of so many books that I may not be aware of already - or - perhaps I didn't realize that a title sounded like something I would be interested in. 

3. I love seeing a book featured on a blog or website or Goodreads that I haven't seen in a while! New releases usually seem to be bundled around the same time; they dominate the bookish-internet sometimes. Sometimes I'm a part of this, I know, but I try hard not to be because it is terribly boring. I'm more likely to open the post and read the thoughts of the writer when I don't see the same thing over and over in my reader. Just being honest! (We all feel this way, you can be honest too.)

4. I LOVE seeing older titles featured on Instagram. LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. 

By the way, here's my blog's new-ish IG!
 Instagram

5. Even when a book isn't a new release anymore, it still deserves to be read and talked about and photographed and loved and recommended. I love receiving these recommendations and I know the authors appreciate it when their non-new release titles are still circulating. 

6. I see some blogs and Goodreads reviewers only talking about new releases. I see this thing actually happen and while it is totally a personal choice what we read and talk about on our own corners of the Internet, it makes me a little sad for all of the other stories. Dramatic? Maybe. Truth? Absolutely. 

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How often do you guys read backlist titles? 
What about backlist reviews/blogs that feature them?



3 comments:

  1. I've actually really gotten into the habit of trying to read a few backlist books in between newer releases! I always love finding new authorial voices to love or reading new stories from authors I already adore. But there's something wonderful about being surprised by an older title, one that others may have read and loved, but that has gotten gently shoved to the side to make room for the new. It's always a novel experience, to fall in love with something that's been out for ages - and it's even cooler when you find people who love the backlist title as much as you do!

    I guess, basically, what I'm trying to say is that reading backlist books is its own kind of fun ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LIVE for backlists! There are so many hidden gems I've discovered that get lost in the flurry of new titles and I love giving them their chance to shine. Because blogs seem to be overrun with new releases (nothing wrong with that - I tend to review a ton of new titles!) it feels like the same books are showing up in my reader each week. Why not break up that monotony with a little backlist love?

    I've discovered a few new favorites by reading older titles and it's always fun to have a few 'under the radar' recs for people! & like Alexa mentioned, the wait in between releases can be a killer - ESPECIALLY for series. An author's backlist is perfect for the year-long wait for the next book!

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  3. You're right! Just because a book wasn't published this year doesn't mean it's less worth reading or being talked about. :) This reminds me of a conversation at an author event about how quickly everything becomes, not just backlist, but constructively out of print these days.

    ReplyDelete

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