Critical Linking: February 16, 2014

Author Isabel Allende is best known for her works of magical realism such as The House of Spirits, but it was comments she made during an NPR interview about her new book, Ripper, a mystery novel, that angered fans of crime fiction…McKenna Jordan, the owner of Murder by the Book, a bookstore in Houston, heard the interview and returned all 20 signed copies of Ripper to its publisher, HarperCollins.

I heard this interview when it aired, and I remember thinking “she’s gonna get so much beef for what she’s saying right now.”

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“We found that winning a prestigious prize in the literary world seems to go hand-in-hand with a particularly sharp reduction in ratings of perceived quality,” Sharkey said.

Could this be a result of envious or cynical readers taking a shot at a book that perhaps suddenly exploded in popularity? Not exactly, the researchers found. 

Win a big award, increase your audience…and therefore your number of negative reviews.

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On the other hand, who would have thought that Ben Stiller’s movie remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty would triple sales of the LOA’s James Thurber edition. Or that the film version of On the Road would increase sales of the Kerouac volume that contains the novel by more than 30%?

Movie and TV adaptations of classics don’t just raise awareness of the books, they significantly increase their readership.

 

 

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