Every few weeks, I face the same scene. It’s getting late, and my monthly book club meeting is winding down. The last few drops of wine are being sipped, the final crackers crunched, the last literary judgments and opinions put forth. And then comes the dilemma: “what are we going to read next?” A tricky question — but one made easier by book and publication polls.
Part of what makes the question so tricky is that it can be difficult to know whether you’ll like a book based on a cover or blurb. Knowing a little bit about the author can help, but even that really only goes but so far. It’s a shame wasting an entire month slogging through a dull read only to come together at the book club the next month with nothing to offer but a disappointed shrug. By reading book and publication polls, we can make better decisions on what to read, and better meetings.
Book and publication polls can tell you a lot more than just whether some arbitrary number of people liked the book. A well designed poll can give you direct insight into how the responding public reacted to a particular facet, which in turn can help you make up your own mind. Blurbs are nearly always unilaterally positive; not so with book and publication polls, which can give you objective data about how readers actually felt. I feel much more confident knowing that actual readers found the protagonist engaging and sympathetic than just reading some glowing review slapped onto a dust cover.
Whether you like to dissect a novel with a group of friends or just curl up on the couch and read alone, book and publication polls can help make the experience as rewarding as possible. Why waste time and money with books you’re not going to like?