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Sites We Like: Reddit/Books

Jeff O'Neal

CEO and co-founder

Jeff O'Neal is the executive editor of Book Riot and Panels. He also co-hosts The Book Riot Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @thejeffoneal.

Reddit is having a bit of a moment. Not only did one of its precocious co-founders recently commit suicide, but the social sharing/community forum is influencing politics, journalism, and basically everything that is going on on the web.

For those new to the site, Reddit allows its users to submit content (pictures, videos, links to stories, questions, brief messages) to forums dedicated to a wide range of interests. Readers of those specialized forums, called sub-Reddits, then upvote, downvote, or just plain ignore the submissions. The most popular posts drift to the top of the forum, which gives the most popular submissions even more attention.

reddit headerIt’s a little difficult to encapsulate the kinds of things you are likely to find at the top of the Books Sub-Reddit. At the moment of this writing, the top five posts are a picture of someone’s knuckles, a story about a recently discovered first edition of Frankenstein, a story about that bookless library in Texas, a question about Bill Bryson, and a question about good book series to read that aren’t SciFi or Fantasy. By the time this post is published, five different stories will likely be at the top.

I usually drop in every few days to see what’s rising the charts. And because it’s content submitted by avid readers themselves, it breaks out of the bubble of book news that makes the round in more mainstream sites. Sure, if there is a big story in The New York Times, it probably will get posted to the Books Sub-Reddit, but the really good stuff you’ll find there, you won’t find anywhere else.

Two quick words about the ethos of the Books Sub-Reddit. First, the users there seem to be largely men and somewhere in that vague 20ish to 40ish age range. This tends to skew the most popular posts toward scifi and fantasy titles, but you’ll still see other things covered. Second, in general the comments on posts can be really helpful, especially if you are asking a question, but like most of the internet, it can also turn ugly.

All in all, r/books, as it is known to users, offers something hard to find: a genuinely organic, diverse, and rapidly changing stream of bookish stuff.