Sunday Salon: Book Talk Overload

I’m not quite sure why it happened or precisely what set it off (I could hazard a guess, but I wouldn’t do so in public), but a few weeks ago, I was merrily checking my e-mail, peeking at the Twitter, looking at some blogs, and I just got enraged. I was done with all the book talk. Done. Done. Done. No more. Shut Up, Interwebs. No more book talk. STOP IT. RIGHT NOW. (There were expletives involved, but we try to keep it PG-13 around here.)

Some people get blogging malaise. Apparently I get blogging rage.

It took me a little time to realize that it wasn’t book talk per se that I was tired of; it was just the incessant nature of it, or—to be more specific—it was the incessant nature of a certain type of book talk. And some of the problem is my own fault.

I have said many times that one of my favorite things about the book blogging world is its infinite variety. There’s variety in the types of books covered, in writing style, in frequency and types of posts. So many possibilities, and the possibilities grow every day. With so many blogs out there, it’s impossible to follow them all. I have, over the last three years, worked out a pretty good system for closely following the blogs I love the most and keeping an eye on others that I find interesting. (Like others, I use folders in my Google Reader, with some Twitter mixed in. If you’re looking for a system and want to know how I do it, feel free to e-mail me.) So my book talk rage was barely related to the blogs I read. It was another thing entirely.

Besides reading blogs, I get a lot of bookish e-mail newsletters and follow a lot of publishers and book-related news sites on Twitter. I think, in the end, this is where my rage came from. You see, book bloggers—at least the ones that I follow most closely—usually write about what they’re reading, whether they’re loving or hating it, what they’re hoping to read soon, what they’re thinking about as they read. This is what I like. What I don’t like is constant marketing and promotion.

Now before all the great PR professionals put me on their hate lists or come after me with brickbats, let me explain a bit, which includes explaining how my rage is my own fault. I don’t think marketing and promotions are bad things at all. Getting the word out about an exciting new release or an up-and-coming author is important work to do, and it’s hard work when there are so many voices out there clamoring for a minute in the spotlight. So good professionals in the business must beat the drum frequently and in many different venues. Some do go overboard and pin a lot of publicity on mediocre books that are selected less for merit and more for their marketability, but it’s not a perfect science. (And, to be honest, I imagine that working hard to appeal to readers just like persnickety, slightly irascible me is neither productive nor profitable, so many of the books that get pushed the hardest are probably not pushed with me in mind.)

But while I’m on the subject of marketing gone overboard, I will say that I’m not a fan at all of viral marketing. If buzz goes viral, it should be because disinterested outsiders have seen the product and loved it and are sharing the love, not because someone affiliated with it told them it’s TEH AWESOMENESS!!!1! or offered them a prize for retweeting it, blogging about it, or liking it on Facebook. I cannot express my dislike of using social media in this way strongly enough. Show me the thing you’re pushing and then I will decide whether it’s worth telling others about, on my own, without a bribe or even a push from you. I might now and then mention that I’m excited about some upcoming book from a trusted source or reliable author, but that’s the best you’re likely to get from me. (Again, not all marketers engage in these tactics, but those that do, grrrr… )

So with that said, let’s get back to how the recent book-talk rage is partly my own fault. I love knowing what’s going on, so I’ve subscribed to lots of publishers’ newsletters, as well as lots of publishers’ Twitter feeds. Then there are the general-interest bookish e-newsletters, news media with strong book coverage, and blogs that offer as much news as they do reviews. The best marketing professionals have a few eggs in each of these baskets. And because I follow so many of them, I end up getting deluged with book news, often multiple mentions of the same few books, few of which are actual reviews (and thoughts from disinterested readers are what I want). So I asked for the deluge by signing up for all these newsletters, liking so many Facebook pages, following so many Twitter feeds, and so on. I did it to myself. And I can undo it.

This week, I’ve been methodically unsubscribing from most publishers’ newsletters. These can be a good source of information, but they’re the opposite of disinterested. I’m also unsubscribing from most other e-newsletters about books on the grounds that it’s just too much. I’m also rethinking how I access book news from my favorite sources.

Before I started blogging, I got virtually all my book news from National Public Radio and the Washington Post. And you know what? I never felt out of the loop—and that was before NPR and WaPo had good ways of pushing news to me on my schedule and without piling my house with mostly unread papers. Now I can subscribe to NPR’s book news on Twitter, on Facebook, in my Google Reader, and through their books podcast. I’ve realized that I rarely use the Google links (they, like most of the major news sources, have an abbreviated feed), so I’m going to rely on Facebook and Twitter, as well as my regular NPR listening, for NPR book news.

For WaPo, I’ll continue to use Google Reader, but I’m experimenting with a custom e-newsletter for Book news and all Michael Dirda’s columns. (They don’t have a Books e-newsletter, like the New York Times does, but they should. WaPo are you listening?) As for why the Washington Post and not the esteemed New York Times, it’s mostly because the WaPo is my local paper, they have Michael Dirda, Ron Charles’s “Totally Hip” Book Review videos made me laugh, and the NYT seems, I dunno, snobby and predictable? Actually, I haven’t unsubscribed from the NYT e-newsletter yet, so maybe I’ll take a little time to compare. Now that I’ve winnowed the subscriptions down, I might have time to read the linked reviews in the newsletter. Imagine that.

Twitter will be my avenue for most other book news. The nice thing about following publishers, newspapers, magazines, and the like on Twitter is that I can see their tweets when I’m online and then decide whether to click the link. The professionals there are mostly not annoying or in my face (and I work during the day so can’t check in all that much anyway). If something is really interesting, it’s likely to be retweeted throughout the day, so I’ll see it eventually. And if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. (Must remember to tell myself that frequently. I don’t need to know everything that’s going on. Really. Ignorance is fine in this case.)

So am I alone in this? Anyone else feel book news overload? How do you get your book news? Any sources you find particularly helpful—or not?

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61 Responses to Sunday Salon: Book Talk Overload

  1. Anthony says:

    With a few exceptions I ignore professional publicists (press and publishers) of all varieties, even on Twitter. The LA Review of Books is one exception, the work they are doing is outstanding. I also now subscribe to the NYT, but only because they have signed Geoff Dyer.

    My first line for information is Twitter. Second line is two folders on Google Reader (via Reeder app in iPad, iPhone), one called Essential and the other Inessential; when I feel overloaded I mark all in the latter folder as read. Third line is email, which I try to keep for personal correspondence only. I have a visceral loathing of Facebook and have now deleted my account. I am trying to figure out how Google+ can fit into my life.

    I’d love to hear more about your system.

    • Teresa says:

      Actually, my system sounds similar to your own. Two folders in Google Reader, one essential and one non. I have a third folder for blogs I’ve just discovered—sort of a trial folder, while in deciding whether to follow them and where to file them. Twitter is a third tier, where I follow several bloggers whose posts I rarely want to read but who sometimes know about interesting things. I do follow some professionals, but mostly just on Twitter, and their tweets are relegated to a separate column on Tweetdeck.

      E-mail is for personal correspondence and a few carefully selected e-newsletters (I’m in the process of unsubscribing to all but a few). Facebook is mostly for people I know personally, a few local businesses, and a couple of news sources. I think I follow a couple of publishers and NPR books there, but I don’t like FB much these days and only maintain an account to keep in touch with a few family members and friends.

      I’m avoiding Google Plus. Despite their “don’t be evil” motto, I’m as suspicious of Google as I am of Facebook,

  2. Yeah…this happened to me too. My solution was pretty much to disappear, lol. Plus the constant promotion feels like certain books get pimped for a short time and then things move on. And I’m like…did we actually like the book or was it just a product we consumed?

    So basically I just cut way back. I haven’t figured out reentry yet really.

    • Teresa says:

      Cutting way back is the answer, I know. I’m just trying to figure out a way to do it without cutting things out that I do value. And you’re so right about the constant promo and the immediate moving on. The cynic in me says that when that happens it was mostly publishers themselves behind it and that when it got in the hands of disinterested readers, the book’s dud status became obvious. But it’s probably more that the hot books are more or less interchangeable, and there’s always another coming.

  3. Emily says:

    I don’t tend to care all that much about book “news,” if what you mean is when new books are coming out, festivals, author readings, blog tours, giveaways, and so on and so forth. I figure the small percentage of stuff in that category that will interest me, I can learn from the echo chamber of my blogging friends, haha. But seriously, I’m not remotely interested in building relationships with publishers or publicists, accepting ARCs, or similar, so I continue blithely on in ignorance of it all.

    But I do strongly relate to your dislike of publicists using social media in a bribing, like-us-and-we’ll-give-you-something sort of way. And I share Anthony’s “visceral loathing” of Facebook; that’s an excellent description. I just hate it—it’s ugly, clunky, overly complicated, and the FB management keeps making power grabs to own all the information shared (and even linked to!) on the site. I almost never log in, and am strongly considering deleting my account there as well.

    • Teresa says:

      I do like knowing about some of those sorts of things, but I don’t need to know about it all immediately. As you say, the most interesting stuff will eventually make its way into our blogging echo chamber. I used to be a little interested in relationships with publishers, but I’ve become a lot less so over the last year. I’m happy to accept ARCs now and then, but I’ve become increasingly fond of Netgalley for that purpose. Keeps some distance, puts all the books on a level playing field, has better books available. Less wasteful.

      The viral social media campaigns I mentioned will put me right off a product, even if it’s something I’d otherwise like. And then it’s a job of work for them to get me interested again in anything but a mocking, mean-spirited way.

  4. cbjames says:

    Maybe it’s because I’ve never used Twitter or taken the time to set up Google Reader, but I don’t really have in information overload when it comes to books. I read people’s blogs when I have the time, and my own blog is not substantial enough to get me more than a slight bit of attention from publishers and publicists.

    But I know what you mean.

    • Teresa says:

      I like Google Reader as opposed to visiting blogs only because I don’t have to visit blogs to see if there’s an update. If WordPress had the sort of Blogroll widget that Blogger does, I’d rely more on that.

      Jenny and I get little attention from publishers and publicists. A handful of e-mails a week, most of them mass mailings that are inappropriate and that get immediately deleted. I’m glad of that these days. When I was getting started, I signed up for way too many of their newsletters for the general public, and that’s what I’m trying to clear out.

  5. Tiina says:

    I totally agree on what you say about viral marketing. Luckily I’m a book blogger from a non English speaking country writing my blog in English and that saves me from both local marketing and from too many offers to advertise books written in English. ;)

    • Teresa says:

      Even as a U.S. blogger, I don’t get many personal offers to do anything, other than review a book. That’s fine, because that’s all I’m likely to ever do, and even then it’s with no strings attached.

  6. Tony says:

    There are other sources of book information than blogs?

  7. I leave it mostly to blogs—book blogger and author blogs. I do get The New York Times newsletter in my inbox to stay abreast of general news, and I love having the best-seller list on hand. I also love Laura Miller at Salon. I’m going to have to investigate NPR; I love NPR, but I haven’t gotten into their bookish side of things since the top 100 list of speculative fiction over the summer .

    • Teresa says:

      I think I follow Laura Miller on Twitter, but I don’t read her columns regularly.

      The think I love about NPR’s book coverage is that (1) they cover a nice variety of books and (2) they have lots of features that involve older books. (the speculative fiction list, You Must Read This, Three Books, My Guilty Pleasure). I relied almost entirely on them for several years and always had plenty of ideas.

  8. Richard says:

    Teresa, I don’t search out book news at all because I already have too many books I want to read (and most of them older at that)! I find out about some things through other blogs and going to bookstores and such, but it’s not at all systematic. While it’s entirely possible I’m missing out on great things because of my lack of interest in this side of the publishing biz, I’m happy just discovering books I want to read through fellow bloggers and the mostly random ways I’ve always used pre- and post-blogging. Don’t need/want to subject myself to the merchandising overkill I think you might be talking about in part. Anyway, happy reading to you today whatever that might entail! :D

    • Teresa says:

      Oh yes, I have plenty to read without any new books added to the list. One thing that occurred to me a couple of weeks ago is that I was never lacking for things to read before I got more plugged in to news sources. And no matter what we choose to read, we’re going to be missing something, so we may as well accept that. (Hard for me to do, though, I’m greedy for knowledge.)

  9. I was hoping your post would generate mean, unhappy, snarky responses. As you know I am almost completely ignorant of Twitter despite the detailed instructions you sent me and the quick tutorial Frances gave me at Books for America. No doubt you signed up for all of those information sources at a time when so much seemed possible after a lifetime of having to rely on friends and newspapers. Suddenly there was a whole world, a smorgasbord of bookish information flying around that was free for the asking. But now that it has been around awhile and proliferated to the point of white noise you realize that you can be choosy.

    I am having a similar aversion to blog posts about new books. I know I am biased because most of what I read is by dead people. And I understand that even without publishers pushing new books that bloggers are naturally going to blog about new books–and that even those spontaneous posts about new books are going to quite naturally all hit at roughly the same time. But when that does happen (either organically or as a concerted effort by a PR person) my mind goes into tune out mode. Review carpet bombing makes me head for a cave rather than a bookstore. But then I wonder about my own blogging efforts. If I am annoyed by 47 reviews about the same book in the space of a week, maybe others are annoyed by the all the Brookner posts around International Anita Brookner Day that I helped orchestrate. But then as John sometimes says “yeah, but its cute when *I* do it.”

    I am babbling a bit but I too have been a little out of love lately with the online book world.

    BTW, I think your paragraph beginning “Now before…” has a typo in the third or so line. I think you meant to write “I don’t…” not “I do…”

    • Teresa says:

      What, you *want* the wrath of the blogosphere on me? ;) Seriously, there’s a reason I don’t name names, as much as I’d like to.

      And thanks to the constant information, not only can I be choosy, I *must* be choosy! I think what I need to do is focus on the bits of it that I am still in love with and let the rest pass me by.

      I’ve had the same thoughts that you’ve had about being tired of new books and about whether that’s so different from events focused on older books. The nice thing about most of those events, though, is that they often involve more than one book, and the group reads focused on one book tend to involve smaller numbers of people. (As I think you know, however, I’m weary of readalongs, with multiple posts and updates on the same book popping up all over. I do tune those out.)

      And thanks for catching that typo. I’m a professional proofreader, but rubbish at proofing my own work (a common affliction).

  10. Deb says:

    It’s not just book “news” that is part of information overload–it’s everything. From politics to breakfast cereal, there’s just too much “information” (in most cases, carefully-massaged and utterly unspontaneous) available in too many avenues. Was it the Police who had a song in the early 1980s, “Too Much Information”? That’s how I feel sometimes. I don’t do twitter and I’m not on Facebook, but I do read a number of book blogs and I keep a journal of books I want to read, but ever since junior high school, my favorite way of finding books to read has been to wander up and down the library aisles, grabbing books with interesting titles. I guess I’m just “old school” in this regard.

    • Teresa says:

      You’re so right. No mater what you’re interested in, there’s a constant stream of information, and it is usually massaged and often untrustworthy. It’s too much to properly take in.

  11. Rohan says:

    I definitely sympathize, especially about the “like us on Facebook and you can win xxx” approaches. We’ll “like” you if your books are good! I also get frustrated with the hype that overwhelms some aspects of the blogging/tweeting book world about particular new releases. A few times I have let myself be carried along by the claims that some new book is THE best book ever, bought and read the book, and then felt like such a fool to be driven by marketing and buzz and trendiness. When everyone is talking about the same book, it is easy to feel left out of the conversation and want to catch up–but I am learning to remind myself that the conversations I actually want to be part of are usually those going on on blogs by readers with no agenda but their own curiosity and interests.

    • Teresa says:

      I’ve definitely read my fair share of duds because I wanted to be part of the conversation. I’m trying to listen to my inner skeptic more and rely on specific people for recommendations, rather than the general buzz.

  12. Frances says:

    Agreed about Facebook, and I also pick up lots of info off Twitter. I appreciate that I can see the gist of the topic in a quick line or two and can elect to click over if it interests me. And it is not all marketing of current offerings with publishers and other pros. There is a lot of engaging bookish conversation going on out there not related to the things these people are publishing. Just about being selective about who I follow.

    The people that I am contemplating weeding out of my information stream in every format are actually book bloggers who pimp out publishers, book stores on a daily basis in such a simpering toady like fashion that I have to wonder what the hell their motivations are. I work with publishers from time to time as do most of us so that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the freebie seekers, the ones who one might mistake for publisher employees. Gone!

    • Teresa says:

      That’s exactly what I like about Twitter. I can get the gist and click or not. So easy. And I love the bookish conversation.

      Once I get my e-mail weeding done, I may attack Twitter. Usually when I see the kind of thing you’re talking about, I roll my eyes and let it pass me by. But I do wonder if good things that I want to hear about get lost in the noise. And I wonder if particular people’s noise to usefulness ratio is so out of whack for my purposes that I shouldn’t even be following them.

      • Eva says:

        I’ve begun unfollowing bloggers on Twitter when I notice most of their tweets are ‘noise,’ as you politely put it. I had to summon my moral fibre at first, because unlike in Google Reader, people know if you’re not following them on Twitter, but it’s made my life simpler!

  13. Thank goodness someone said it! I have an irrational fear of entering my email address into any form these days. Really – I get ridiculously angry when asked for my email. I don’t want anything else attacking my inbox. I have too many accounts.

    That’s why I love Bloglovin (my feed reader of choice) because I determine when I access it and what goes into it.

    As you mention – I like Twitter because, again, it’s my choice as to what I access and when. If I don’t have time for it right then and there, I can “favorite” it and come back to it.

    And (shocker) books are not my only love. I also love to read about teaching and home design and travel, so I just don’t have enough time. I’d rather be reading than glancing at some barely-bookish post about who wears hats while they read. I don’t care.

    Bookish news doesn’t do too much for me either. Awards don’t impress me. Hype doesn’t impress me. I’m not a huge fan of author interviews. I know that’s just me, but there it is. I like reviews. I like posts that intelligently discuss reading and literary elements and structure. That’s why I blog, and that’s why I read blogs.

    • Teresa says:

      I have thought about setting up a separate e-mail address for potential “junk,” but I know I’d end up checking it daily, just in case something isn’t junk.

      I’m with you in liking reviews or discussions above all else. A little news, a list now and then, even an interview (if it’s good!) can be a nice change, but the meat and potatoes of my favorite blogs tend to be reviews.

  14. Jenny says:

    I don’t really subscribe to publishing newsletters, not because I’m not interested in what’s being published, but because without book bloggers weighing in, I never know what books are going to be most likely worth my time, and what ones are not. I occasionally get a book recommendation from NPR, the NY Times (my roommate subscribed to the weekend paper recently), or other places; but mostly I get everything from bloggers. That’s the way I like it. If I get overload, I just Mark All As Read, feel a wee bit guilty, and get on with tackling my TBR shelf.

    • Teresa says:

      Yes! How do I know what’s worth my time without hearing from disinterested readers (bloggers, but also some professional reviewers) who’ve read it? I told Eva recently that I wanted her to read a hyped book she was considering (The Night Circus?), so I’d know whether to bother. Some readers are, as Eva replied to me, my canaries in the coalmine!

  15. I don’t actually do much twitter – it is very time consuming! I got publisher stuff in my email but just delete it, because I’m too lazy to go to the effort of unsubscribing. Deleting seems just as fast. I love Ron Charles too! (and of course am jealous of anyone who can actually get physical copies of WaPo.)

    • Teresa says:

      Twitter is more or less white noise for me, when I’m home. I try not to get sucked in, but I do enjoy the conversations that pop up.

      I used to think deleting was just as fast, until it hit me that once I unsubscribe, I’ll never have to hit delete again! Five extra seconds now nets many more seconds later.

  16. I’m a librarian, so it’s part of my job to keep up with what’s being published and I read a variety of review journals at work (Library Journal, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly.) My favorite blog for book news is the Early Word. I subscribed to a book blog bundle via Google Reader a while back but have unsubscribed to most of the blogs – they rely heavily on memes like “Mailbox Monday” and “Waiting on Wednesday” which I find incredibly uninteresting. I want to read about books, not just see lists of the books that someone has acquired. I’ve just started using Twitter and I follow a few authors, and the Guardian, which has lots of book news. I personally prefer a mix of reviews from journals, newspapers, and regular people with some general book-related news thrown in. It’s very difficult to hone all one’s information sources to get the stuff you want.

    • Teresa says:

      It is difficult to hone down the sources. With blogs, I’ve gotten to the point where I follow few blogs that rely on memes. A few participate in one or two, but that’s it. I’ve enjoyed many of the Guardian reviews I’ve read. Twitter has been great for following newspaper book sections. When it comes to the pros, I think I’d rather follow professional reviewers than publishing professionals.

  17. This – the post, the comments – is another reminder that few book bloggers read magazines, The best Professional Writers (in The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, etc.) who write about books are actually quite good, really they are! As good as bloggers, even. They’re worth seeking out.

    • Teresa says:

      I agree, many of them are quite good. I don’t understand some bloggers’ aversion to professional reviewers. It’s true that I’ve read plenty of newspaper reviews that are little more than summaries or that show little evidence of having read the book. However, the same could be said of bloggers. The trick in both cases is honing information sources down so we’re reading the best in all forms.

  18. Steph says:

    I am always about 10 steps behind when it comes to social media (Tony and I only got texting on our phones about a year ago, for example), so I don’t have quite the same problem that you do, since I pretty much avoid Twitter altogether and my Facebook account is not what you’d call a hopping place to be. Still, anyone who reads blogs is going to face the marketing deluge you talk about, and for me the problem stems largely from the huge preponderance of galley copies that seem to inundate bloggers. I myself am not above reviewing ARCs and don’t think there’s anything wrong per se with bloggers reading and talking about these books, but they seem to be reaching a critical dispersion point, I think. Sometimes it seems like 75% of the posts in my Google Reader are for ARCs and new releases, and quite honestly that burns me out. I don’t like seeing the same book talked about over and over again… rather than piquing my interest, it fatigues it and I feel like the last thing I want to do is read anything more about said book! I get that authors want exposure, but I think that overexposure is a real thing too! This is one of the reasons that I am very leery of blog tours, and try to only participate if I am offered a book I genuinely wanted to read pre-tour OR it’s a book that I would be interested in reading apart from the tour. I get bored when I see that 20 people have all read the same book in the span of three weeks. While I’d love to be touchy-feely and say everyone blogger has a unique voice, I think it’s more honest to say that no matter how much personality one brings to one’s blog and writing, there’s going to be a LOT of redundancy and flagging of enthusiasm on my part if yours is the 19th review of a book I’ve read in as many days.

    A completely unscientific example: in the past two weeks, my Google Reader logged eight separate reviews of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I can honestly only remember the first two of those reviews, because after that, I started skimming the posts that showed up in my reader and also felt less inclined to engage in those posts by commenting because I felt there was nothing more for me to say about a book I hadn’t personally experienced and just felt disconnected. I think TNC is a book that I would probably enjoy, but at this point, I know I probably won’t pick it up for at least a year because I don’t want to read anymore posts about it, never mind add my own to the mix!

    • Teresa says:

      As I told Thomas, I get weary of the emphasis on new book posts too, but for me, the problem has come less from bloggers and more from publishers’ direct marketing efforts. Most of the bloggers I follow closely just don’t blog about a large proportion of new books. Most do blog about some, but I think my blog-reading is to a point where a book would have to be huge for me to be sick of it from blogs alone. I also think that a wider variety of books are being made available to bloggers, which helps. But yes, it gets harder to say something original when everyone is talking about something. (My personal trick if I want to talk about it anyway is to read those reviews and respond to/build upon some of what others have discussed.)

  19. Gavin says:

    Other than my favorite blogs, NPR, the Guardian and Book Forum RSS feeds and my local library’s newsletter are my main source of news for new books. I would like to check out WaPo and some of the other suggestions from your comments.

    I have to say it has been fascinating watching the spread of marketing through the internet and social media. I found when I dipped my toes into some of the publishers’ newsletters it quickly became overwhelming. Thanks for a great post, Teresa.

    • Teresa says:

      It has been really interesting to watch it spread, even if it is overwhelming! What’s nice is that there is more choice in what and how much information to consume.

  20. Vasilly says:

    Teresa, you are not alone! In the past I was constantly emailed about new books from publishers and others. Since then, I’ve unsubscribed from many newsletters.

    I hate it when a site asks readers to twitter, facebook, or write about a post. If I love it, I’ll do it without asking. I wished that publishers would have one newsletter for mainstream books and another one for the other books they publish.

    • Teresa says:

      The only publisher newsletters I’m really interested in anymore are the ones offering review copies (like HarperCollins). I usually just skim those and delete, but every now and then there’s something I want. Other than that, I’m unsubscribing to just about all of them.

  21. I don’t subscribe to anything much anymore – i was just getting too many emails. For book information I mainly listen to the ABC Radio National Book Show, The First Tuesday Book Club (a tv book club) and I read the SYdney Morning Herald book section. Otherwise I just read blogs.

    My pet hate that really bothers me is when publishers/authors etc email me and tell me all about their wonderful book they want me to review when right next to my email address it clearly states I don’t accept books for review. That’s just rude.

    • Teresa says:

      Oh, that is aggravating. I do get pitches for things I explicitly say I don’t review, but I can imagine it’s just because I’m on a publicist’s list, and it’s a mass mailing. But if you say you don’t accept any, that’s silly of them to try!

  22. Kathleen says:

    I get most of my news about books from the NY Times or other bloggers. I suscribe to a few emails but am not inundated with marketing stuff and that is just the way I like it!

  23. Kinna says:

    I don’t subscribe to newsletters. In fact, I hate newsletters. I avoid PR folks like the plague. I like reading The Millions and a couple of other sites. But mostly, I rely on book bloggers to filter the information for me. I’m too lazy. I’m on Twitter and really I don’t engage with folks as much as I should. And I’m not even on Facebook – this will change soon. I can only sympathize but I think that your remedy will work. Oh, I gave up on NYT a long time ago. NPR and WaPo are the best. The Guardian and The Independent also. But that’s it. Good luck with cutting down the noise.

    • Teresa says:

      What I want to do is switch my newsletters to ones from the press (so WaPo, NYT, etc.) and get rid of the ones from publishers. I’m too lazy to visit the sites I like, so I want the info. to come to me. I’ve read a lot of reviews in the Guardian and the Independent. I like those and do follow them on Twitter.

  24. Jeanne says:

    I still miss The Washington Post Book World. I do occasionally read magazine reviews, as Amateur Reader suggests.

    • Teresa says:

      If WaPo still had Book World I’d be tempted to get the Sunday paper. I’m hoping once I cut out some of the annoying noise I can find time for some of the better magazine reviews. We’ll see.

  25. Rebecca H. says:

    I go through stages of interest in book talk. Last winter and spring, I was all about signing up for newsletters and requesting books on Netgalley and following publishers on Twitter. This fall, I’ve been unsubscribing from the newsletters, unfollowing the publishers, and avoiding review copies. Perhaps next winter, I’ll change my mind? Who knows. It’s satisfying to follow the impulse of the moment, I guess. I definitely sympathize with your frustration! I’ve been enjoying the much less cluttered email inbox lately.

    • Teresa says:

      It goes in cycles for me too. I think in past cycles of disinterest, I just deleted and ignored without unsubscribing. I imagine at some point I’ll cycle back to being more interested, but I hope I’ll be more cautious about what I let into my inbox.

  26. Susan says:

    I really hate the marketing aspect of blogging. I have no difficulty ignoring/refusing to engage with the publicists and self-promoting (not that I blame them!) authors, but there are far too many bloggers hoeing those same rows. And, of course, it’s my own fault that I have more than 500 blogs in my google reader, none of which are in folders, so that I feel bombarded with waves of The Rules of Civility and The Night Circus and feel all cranky-pants over how I either buy into the hype or let it turn me totally against a book that may actually be to my taste if I weren’t so preemptively sick of it. I do love just-published books, but also love the older books and wish more bloggers would follow their own paths through them instead of writing about the books calculated to get them the most clicks or freebies.

    • Teresa says:

      Keeping my Google Reader under control has really helped me avoid any blogger-induced hype. I think I follow under 200 now, and some of those are inactive, but I keep them in my reader in case they pick up the blogging urge again. Every now and then a book shows up a lot (the two you mention are among them), but it’s rare that they show up in such great number that I’d be sick of them from bloggers alone.

      I do wonder when I see bloggers worry about getting less traffic/comments when they review older books. I have never found that to be the case with our posts.

  27. Stefanie says:

    You are so good at finding topics that strike a nerve in the community! I don’t spend much time on Twitter so miss a lot there. I only tune in now and then to see what’s going on. I get lots of emails from publicists and authors and I pretty much delete them without looking at them. The ones that annoy me most are the ones that keep wanting to “check in” and see if I got their email and want to receive a copy of their book. I hate being marketed to and I hate feeling like publishers and authors want to use me. I refuse to be used. I get most book news from bloggers and the Sunday New York Times book news as well as a newsletter from a local indie bookstore. I also subscribe to Bookforum and the New York Review of Books and occasionally read Rain Taxi Review of Books.

    • Teresa says:

      I have usually Twitter going in the background when I’m on the computer in the evenings. But it’s ambient “noise” and I mostly just glance at it to see if any friends are online.

      I don’t mind e-mail pitches from authors and publishers, but I do delete most of them, just because I don’t have time to read all the books they’re pitching, even when I’m interested (and I’m often not). If I’m interested *and* have the time, I respond, and I’ve gotten some good books that way. Most of the best books I’ve gotten for review, though, were through LibraryThing or Netgalley, where I chose for myself.

      I don’t think I’ve ever gotten one of those “check in” e-mails (although I get them all the time at work). That would annoy me.

  28. rebeccareid says:

    I’ve been quite overloaded too. But I don’t even read the professional stuff, just the blogs/twitter. And I have been awful at those lately. Just so little TIME!

    • Teresa says:

      It’s less about time with me, I think, and more about getting tired of the same thing again and again. If I had less time, I’d probably see less of it :)

  29. Eva says:

    I don’t subscribe to any publisher newsletters/follow them on Twitter/etc., and I keep my google reader & Twitter feed free of the bloggers that are super into publicity/ARCs/etc. I also liberally use gmail’s filters to delete annoying mass publicity e-mails before I have to see them. For me, that keeps it to a dull roar!

    I didn’t end up reading The Night Circus, fyi. After being disappointed by The Lantern and Miss Peregrine’s Home etc. (both of which I abandoned w/in 50 pages), I couldn’t bring myself to open it, lol.

    • Teresa says:

      Getting myself off the e-mail lists has helped already. Twitter is ideal for me for following publishers, but I’m thinking of ways to use columns on Tweetdeck to keep my friends’ stuff more visible. I don’t mind the “noise” there as long as it doesn’t cause me to miss other stuff.

      • Eva says:

        That would work! I prefer the simplicity of the Twitter-for-Mac single column look, which is probably why I get annoyed at ‘excess’ tweets. ;)

  30. sakura says:

    I find that I sometimes get information overload just because I have access to a much wider range of books on the net. I sometimes feel nostalgic about the times when I’d eagerly wait for the Saturday/Sunday newspaper book supplement and free magazines from bookshops (and when my TBR was more manageable.) Saying that, time is limited so I tend to skip posts that are all about the same books although I may come back to them when I’ve actually got around to reading the new books (I’m usually a couple of years behind). And I also want to have some control over which books I choose to read. But blogger rage – that’s a good one!

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