Goodreads Awards – Just a popularity contest? – A Discussion

Hi! I’m back with another discussion post, although I’m a couple days late. So, let’s talk Goodreads Awards!

Before I get into the topic of the awards, I want to explain my relationship with Goodreads in general. I use the website and the app to track my reading and write reviews. I think in concept it’s a great way of finding out what your friends/people you follow are reading and get recommendations, know what’s popular nowadays and what’s coming out when. In practice, the website and app suck, but there is no alternative I know of being used on the same scale – so I roll with it.

Now – I think the awards are a great idea in concept, too. I love when my favourite books are recognised, and although there’s no price, I think authors feel very appreciated when they win the award. I think the rules should be stricter, though, as most of the times it’s not the best book, but the most popular book of the year winning.

I know I’m not the first person saying it, nor will I be the last, but in my opinion Goodreads Awards are just a popularity contest and it is painfully visible in the numbers. Take, for example, this year’s Fantasy winner – Ninth House. Don’t get me wrong – I’m over the moon Ninth House won, as it was my pick for the category, but when you look at the numbers, something just doesn’t add up… Over 53 thousand people voted for it, while only 22 thousand people rated it on Goodreads. That’s a huge difference in numbers and, quite frankly, it’s not very fair.

That being said… does it really matter? There is no prize for winning and it’s not a prestigious award. Having the book on your “read” shelf is not a requirement while voting (but if it was, people would find a way around it, anyway, and add the book as read for the duration of the competition, even if they haven’t read it), nominees have to have an above 3.5 average rating (which is quite low for “the best books of the year”) there are no real rules to it, and though, yes, people get angry when they think a book that should’ve won – didn’t, but the anger is short lived.

I’ve stopped taking the awards seriously a long time ago.

As for this year’s awards – only 2 of my picks ended up winning. I have voted for Ninth House and Daisy Jones and the Six. I’ve only voted in 6 categories (Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Sci-fi, YA Fantasy, YA Fiction and Debut Novel), as I haven’t read any or any books deserving my votes in the remaining categories, though I know I also voted in MG, but apparently my vote didn’t cast.

What do you think about Goodreads Awards? Do you vote in them? Do you like them? Please share your thoughts down below.

I’ll be posting all about my favourite (and least favourite) books of the year in the next week or so!

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