The Price of Popularity: Lower Ratings

In the two years after books win splashy awards such as the Man Booker Prize, their average ratings on Goodreads.com decline by about a quarter-point on a 1-to-5 scale, whereas those that were runners-up maintain their high ratings, say Balázs Kovács of the University of Lugano and Amanda J. Sharkey of the University of Chicago. A big award draws a larger audience, which includes a greater proportion of people whose tastes aren’t aligned with the book’s style or subject. Also, readers sometimes react negatively to popularity and are thus more inclined to give lower evaluations to popular books, the researchers say.

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