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Readers Outside The Publishing Bubble

Sometimes at work, I talk to people about books. There are several avid readers at my workplace, which is great since books are one of my favorite things to talk about. And I've realized that talking to them about books is actually really refreshing. Because sometimes I forget that there is a whole world of readers outside of the bookish communities I'm engaged with on the internet. 

There are readers who just read. Who don't go on Goodreads to rate a book the second they're done with it. Who don't blog brilliant reviews. Who aren't writing books themselves. Who have never heard of Publisher's Marketplace and who don't know the terms for all the fifty million subgenres.

And it's nice to be reminded of the readers outside of the publishing bubble because, really, they are the vast majority of readers, and they have a lot of smart and insightful reasons for liking  (or disliking) books, too.

This probably seems like a really simple topic for a blog post—and it is, really—but it's something I hadn't thought about enough until I went back to work after four years of stay-at-home motherhood. Knowing what non-writers read and why they read it is just as important as the publishing community's opinion, and book discussions with my co-workers can be just as fun and just as deep. And sometimes it helps me feel more inspired to write when I get home, when I think about this whole huge potential audience who might one day enthusiastically embrace my words.

How about all of you--do you discuss books at work? With family? Friends? 

Kaitlin Ward

Kaitlin Ward is the author of Bleeding Earth, Adaptive Books 2016, and The Farm, coming 2017 from Scholastic.

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  1. I'm a fifth grade teacher, so I talk books all day with my co-workers. (And yes, I consider my students to be my main co-workers.)

    Middle grade readers don't know anything about the publishing industry (although my class is learning a bunch this year!). They don't know "the rules" -- no prologues, no books that start with waking up, no protagonists over the age of 13 for MG, word count limits. They read what they like, what their friends are reading, what Scholastic highlights in their flyers, and what their teachers read aloud to them.

    They like prologues. They like books that start with waking up. They definitely like books about older kids and great big fat books. And I think: How wonderful that they don't know "the rules."

  2. Several of my in-person friends are avid readers, but they are a completely different type of reader from my online friends. My reader in-person friends still read all print books, they don't discuss or review books online, etc. They don't use social media or e-mail all that often, and I think most of them don't even have PayPal accounts.

    In fact, they get a bit irritated if I start talking about a book I liked and then I say that it's only available (or I only have it) in e-book form.

  3. I don't really talk about books that much outside the internet because only a few of my IRL friends read. But when I give them like, a lecture about this new book I just got that they absolutely have to read when it comes out in 7 months, I do wonder how it feels to not rush home to talk to my blogging/bookish/author friends or to goodreads to write a review or just do any of that book stuff. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to. Sometimes I wish I could just read whatever I wanted without having to spend lots of time reviewing it, or worrying about not getting it up posted on time if it's for a publisher or something, even when I know that they're really nice and not pushy and stuff. Just sometimes.

    I just made that all about my blogger insecurites, didn't I? Haha. I just feel like my life is so DIFFERENT to the lives of like, people that haven't been eaten by the publishing bubble.

  4. I'm an English teacher at a high school so my fellow English teachers and I frequently talk about books we love over lunch. They tend to read adult literary fiction so we casually analyze that and pass on recommendations. None of them mention prominent cliches, though we do talk about characterization, structure, etc. My students (sophomores and seniors) will talk to me about YA, and I'm constantly asking them about what they like. They mostly say they like page turners and great love stories, but sometimes I get giddy when they tell me stuff like they like all of the first person present tense narration because it feels more intense and real. No one has ever mentioned prefaces, waking up, etc., though.


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Item Reviewed: Readers Outside The Publishing Bubble Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kaitlin Ward