|GIF via Goodreads|
For example, 5 star and 2 star reviews give us a real sense of why someone loves or hates a book. [1 star reviews are not helpful. Those people just hate the book, but 2 star people provide helpful information on what worked and what didn't].
But even more than the reviews, I love looking at the "shelves" people choose to put their books on. I have a longer post about it here, but the gist is that we library folks use a lot of lingo. We call things "horror" or "suspense" or "western" but it doesn't really matter what we call a book. What matters is what the patron would classify it as. But, it is often hard for us to get that information out of the patron and then be able to use it in the same way it mean to them. We can't help it. We tend to stop listening when we hear a term or genre we think we know and more in a more logical, reference based direction.
However, if we spend time on Goodreads and look at the terms readers use to describe their book as it was for them. Often these connections and terms we see on Goodreads don't make a whole lot of sense from our library based perspective. That's because people like what they like for their own reasons and we need to understand those reasons from their perspective as best we can.
This week we can see a horror version of this in action as Goodreads is hosting Horror Week. This is the perfect chance for those of you who are not as fond of horror personally to start perusing the genre, but more importantly, get a glimpse into the way readers interact with and think about horror.
You can see what Goodreads users, also known as regular readers, classify as "horror," including the subgenres people shelved the books as, and more all with this link. It's like getting a peek into the brain of your horror readers.
Not only will perusing Horror Week on Goodreads do much to teach you about what horror books people like and why, it will also provide you with ideas for displays and suggestions for your patrons.
No matter why you click on Horror Week, it will help you to help your scariest patrons this week and into the future because you can always see the most popular horror books all year long with this link. And it includes books new and old, most of which you will already have in your collections, and many of which you might not have even called "horror" yourself.