Is the Hype Around New Releases Merited?

There’s a heavy emphasis on new releases both in the blogosphere and most bookish social media, but I have found myself wondering if the hype around them is merited, or if it is all marketing. I personally have been reading a lot less of them this year (partially due to me trying to conquer my huge backlist TBR), and I haven’t really been missing them or finding that they were much better than the books I’m reading now.

New releases are hugely marketed by publishers, and we all see that in ways like ARCs, blog tours, cover reveals, and more. This is even more clear on social media, especially ones like Twitter where people will retweet cover reveals and tweet about what book came out that day. Book influencers with larger followings (and book bloggers, to a lesser extent), will talk about these books, which they probably received from the publisher, and then that creates the hype around them.

Another aspect that factors into this is ARCs because when a book comes out the only reviews that will be available are from people who have received them. That’s a fairly small group of people and therefore limits the variety of opinions on said book. People seem to tend to rate ARCs higher, this is something that I’ve noticed myself both in general with books’ ratings on Goodreads, and in my (somewhat limited) time of reading ARCs because there’s a bit of guilt attached to not liking it.

I’m not the only person who has noticed this, Emily @ Frappes and Fiction discusses it in an interesting post where she also points out how our opinions on books are influenced by other people. The ratings seem to lower over time and stabilize, but at first, they tend to be high, therefore a lot of people will have higher expectations for a book that may not be merited.

Because of all that, new releases gain a lot more attention and so that’s what people end up talking about. It can be exhausting to keep up with all of these new releases, and one might wonder if it’s even worth it, since a lot of the hype is just promotional to boost the book’s sales.

Obviously, one’s enjoyment of a book is largely subject to personal opinion, so one could argue the point that at the end of the day, new releases are the same as all other books. Deciding whether or not to keep up with new releases is largely up to personal preference, but there isn’t anything that makes these books necessarily better than other ones. A lot of what seems to make them more promising reads, like their high ratings and everyone talking about them, is temporary and will probably change in the future.

It’s true that in online bookish communities, there is a heavy focus on new releases, and that oftentimes, keeping up with them may allow a blogger to make more connections through them. That being said, I think that, especially in book blogging, one can talk about solely backlist titles and still be a successful blogger. This may not be true for other platforms, and I really can’t speak for most of them as my experience with them is rather limited.

Personally, I think that new releases are books like any other and that if the hype is deserved largely depends on the individual book. Speaking of them as a whole, I would say probably not, as a lot of it is simply marketing, but I do keep up with some of them, as there’s always the chance of finding an interesting read here and there.

What do you think of the hype around new releases? Do you keep up with them or think that it is all marketing? Let me know in the comments!

19 thoughts on “Is the Hype Around New Releases Merited?”

  1. Yeah, I often find it helpful to wait a few weeks after release because there’s a wider variety of reviews and I get a better sense of whether I personally would like the book.

    I do think there’s probably some correlation with the fact people who receive ARCs either 1) are really excited about the book in the first place or 2) do feel some pressure to praise the book since they are technically being given the book to market it. I know people say they review honestly and I do think most people try — but I also believe many people feel bad giving ARCs low reviews. There could be subconscious pressure to rate it 3 stars instead of 2, for instance.

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    1. I completely agree with you, that subconscious pressure is present, whether or not people want to admit it. Being given the book for free also likely contributes to that, so it’s definitely better to wait and see after more reviews are posted!

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  2. I have always loved getting new releases and love ordering books from the library that I have seen in reviews or in bookshops. In a way, getting ARC s has spoilt that a bit as now when I go into a bookshop, I have already a fair chunk of their new release table. You can’t beat getting a new book by a favourite author though. In terms of positive reviews, I’m a lot more careful about books that I request from Net Galley than the ones I choose from the library. I have to review the NG books and so I don’t want to spend time reading a book I don’t like. That means I don’t take that many chances. When I go to the library, I’m a lot more likely to pick up something that I might not like as there is no pressure to finish it or review it. That would certainly be why my NG ratings are higher than my general reading one are

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    1. It definitely makes sense to be more selective, it’s unenjoyable to have to force yourself to read through a book you don’t enjoy! I’ve noticed that as well with new release tables, I’ve already heard about most of the books so it’s not quite as fun.

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  3. I totally agree with this but I know I’ll carry on reading a lot of new releases for two reasons – one, it’s fun discussing books that other people are talking about and two, as a writer, I like to have a sense of what’s being published! I always hope to make room for more backlist reading and (especially) re-reading though.

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  4. I am usually rather vary of new releases. Unless it is a book in a series I love and have been waiting for. I find they get hyped up a lot and more often than not fail to live up to the expectations. Thinking about it, I have usually read books at least 12 months after they have released haha!

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    1. Yes, there’s a lot of disappointment involved with new releases, I recently read two of them (which I don’t do that often), and even thought their average ratings were fairly high, I was not happy with either of them. Waiting a while is a much better solution!


  5. I agree that the hype around new releases is overrated. I used to read a lot of them and request ARCs and with time I became too stressed and most of these books disappointed me. Now I read new releases around a year after their release which gives me an opportunity to check more various reviews about the story and decide if it is something I really want to read. Plus less stress from all the ARCs I used to ask for.

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    1. It’s definitely better to wait a while to get a fuller picture in terms of the reviews. It’s very understandable that you read less of them, and since reading is supposed to be a fun hobby it doesn’t make any sense to stress yourself out!

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  6. I have started reading by picking up popular books. I kind of liked to see what’s the popularity is for, some i really enjoyed agreed with the mass while some were okay. It’s very rare I’ve come across bad book. I receive many eARCs but I hardly manage to read them around publication date unless publisher has given me enough time to read. Mostly I enjoy them. And some are not wow while some I don’t enjoy.

    I don’t believe in this thing that just because I have received the book I should praise it. Even publishers who send me copies says they want “Honest opinion”. they don’t mind negative reviews and I have written them. It might be the majority of people feel the obligation to praise them or are afraid to write negative reviews or it’s the blog tour rule to rate book 3 or high.

    I also agree with Janette about being careful what book you’re downloading on NetGalley. If you don’t feel you won’t enjoy and you still rate it high then there is a problem. But I have also seen low ratings on new releases and not properly explained why they don’t like it. So it really depends on the readers more than on hype or ARCs.

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    1. Yes, I completely agree with you about giving a fully honest review, it’s very important! It does depend on the individual reader, sometimes books can have a low average rating and I’ll love it, and sometimes they have a high average rating and I’ll hate it. It’s really more about each person’s preferences!

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  7. I don’t follow new releases for blog purposes so I experience them like a regular reader would and… honestly it’s a fine line. I am sometimes intrigued by the book reviews (though if it’s not already available in my library, I may not ever borrow it) but if I see a book too often, I’m likely not to read it! I would feel bad if I didn’t like it as much as others plus I would already feel like I know the book

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    1. Yes, sometimes there is too much information given about a book, and it kind of ruins the story. I have basically started doing the same thing as you, I find new releases in my local library, and I think it’s better, though to be fair I don’t often borrow many.

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  8. I still remember the hype around the releases of new Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus in the ye olde ancient days of the 2000s/early 2010s, before social media really started blowing up. It was hype on a local level of course but it was still there. I’d convince my mom to drive to Costco to purchase the book for me day of release and they’d have stacks and stacks available for shoppers. Bookstores would do parties the night before celebrating the release and all the Percy Jackson kids would read as fast as possible so they’d have something to discuss at school. The sense of community was really fun.

    All this is to say, I don’t think the hype around new releases is new, though it’s now transformed into a new medium through social media. I also think there’s a lot more hype around singular releases nowadays and there’s not the same big series hype that there was around titles like Percy Jackson or Divergent. (I still remember the fallout at school when Allegiant came out!)

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    1. I actually remember a similar hype for Percy Jackson, there was a point in time when it seemed like every kid had read it lol. I agree with you that this isn’t new but different, it’s true that now there seems to be less hype about a major series. The hype now is around a lot of different books.

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