The Goodreads Choice Awards Ride the Toronto Subway
Millions of people riding the Toronto subway this month will see something titillating—a mention of the Goodreads Choice Awards on the walls! Okay, okay, it's E.L. James's erotic romance Fifty Shades of Grey that will be doing the titillating, but we're excited to see a Goodreads Author and Choice Awards Finalist capitalizing on her nomination.
When we dreamed up the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2009, our goal was to bring greater attention to books championed by readers. In the most organic way, it's readers who discover great books and share them with friends. Fifty Shades of Grey is a textbook example of a book spreading virally through word of mouth simply because people love it. That's how it earned its nomination in the first place.
When nominations were announced in November 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey had a reasonably sized (but not huge) readership of about 1,000 ratings. It hadn't yet found its magic momentum, but these readers fell hard for this book. The steamy story of a sexual affair between a college student and a wealthy businessman boasted a phenomenal average rating: 4.45 out of 5 stars—the highest average rating of any Goodreads Choice nominee in the 2011 Best Romance category. James ended up placing 2nd in the final round, which is a major achievement for a small press author, considering that the 1st place finisher was J.R. Ward, one of the biggest names in romance writing.
From the first day of its Goodreads Choice nomination, Fifty Shades of Grey saw a jump in readers adding it to their to-read shelves, and the growth never stopped. The to-read numbers continued to climb after the awards completed, and James even visited the site to answer fan questions. Then in March, the novel received mainstream media attention on the Today Show and more press followed. News outlets investigated how an X-rated book about sexual submission went viral. Fifty Shades of Grey is now a bestseller with a new book deal and a film adaptation in the works, and many more readers continue to discover the book on Goodreads. Its average rating dropped slightly as its audience expanded, with a current average rating of 4.14, the amorous novel still earns strong reviews.
We think this is yet one more example of how Goodreads Choice is designed for you—the readers! We also hope that authors such as E.L. James will be able to benefit from their nominations and wins as they market and sell their books. As we announced in February, the new paperback edition of Divergent features its Goodreads Choice win for Favorite Book of 2011 on the cover. So, dear all-knowing reader, what's the next big thing in books? Who is out in front for 2012?
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