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Friends, Newspapers Give Us Reading Tips

As you can see, personal recommendations are just slightly more influential than newspapers when it comes to picking the books we want to read next. Perhaps more surprisingly, given that you had to be online to even take the poll, blogs aren’t just lagging behind newspapers and magazines, but random sightings in bookstores as well! Although I should point out—as quite a few of you did to me, once the poll was too far underway to regroup—that I inadvertently left out another strong influence: radio. And one reader observed that public libraries are increasingly putting book recommendations on their websites…

And then we got a letter from “Prairie Mary” of Valier, Montana, who says “none of my book acquisition strategies are on your list.” Instead, she says she finds books by using Google to research subjects she’s interested in, scouring footnotes and bibliographies of books she’s already read, talking to bookstore clerks, following specific publishers, and sifting through the catalogs for remainder outlets like Daedalus Books. Oh, and “the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula is an excellent place to pick up books from small publishers and actually meet authors or at least hear them read.” Given the lineup from last year’s festival, I’m inclined to agree—and that’s just one of many great regional book fairs, which would’ve made a good line item as well.

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