The highest selling book in 2019 was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Since its release in 2018, this book has sold millions. #1 best seller. As an indie author I can’t even imagine that kind of success; I work mostly in the thousands territory not millions.
On Amazon it has 30,000 reader reviews with an average rating of 4.8—this book is loved. There is no question the majority of reviews are excellent; but there are a lot of reviews (300 or more) by people who hate the book. These are people who knew the story, knew the rave reviews and paid a substantial sum to purchase the book (no free book days for this baby) and yet, they hated it.
A couple of actual reviews:
1.0 out of 5 stars Too unrealistic to enjoy
I was very disappointed in this book after reading all the hype about it. While the reading is good, the story is so nonsensical- a 6 year old left alone in a shack raises herself, living in the same shack, using the same boat, and no one lifts a hand to help her? In more than 20 years, the boat never breaks down, the house doesn’t need repairs and she’s able to wear the same clothes for many years….she’s got long hair that she says is ratty and tangled but description s of it has it down her back, luxurious…she’s gorgeous but bathing is optional until in her 20s…she has sex with a philanderer but never gets a vd and not once apparently does she get sick. No flu, cold, nothing….she never got shots and apparently has the immune system of a super hero because she stepped on a nail and never got tetanus….I kept reading so I’d finish and the ending is unexpected but it’s generally a boring book where day after day, she’s alone in the marsh….
1.0 out of 5 stars Did I read the same book as others?
Format: Hardcover Verified
About half this book was good. Beautifully written at times, and with an interesting, plausible story. But wait…the gaps …Maybe less time talking about Kya fumbling around with sex with Chase and more time on her development as a renowned author and painter would have been nice. There’s more, but you may be reading the book. I must comment though on the most ridiculous court room antics since Curly’s trial in a Three Stooges short. Oh, I think I just did. (And just after reading a book on Harper Lee – if you know what I mean). This was one of the most disappointing books I have read in quite a long time. Sorry Ms. Witherspoon. Can I get my money back if I return the book?
1,665 people found this helpful
It seems to me that books that sell a ton are often hyped by famous people. In this book’s case, Reese Witherspoon was a strong force in promoting this book. Nothing wrong with that—would love to have Witherspoon talking about my books (unless it was bad). And the other factor is that it is published by one of the major publishing companies. My point is not that the book, the author and publisher don’t deserve their success—they do; it is that even the most successful, beloved book of the year is hated by hundreds of readers.
Reviews are opinions. So why is it surprising that some number of readers don’t like a book—it isn’t. Most of my bad reviews are for language. Some readers are offended by language and seem to feel a need to warn others of the offensive words. Crawdads uses some of those same words, but the bad reviews are more focused on the story and not the language. A relatively small number of reviews as a percentage are bad but many, many people found those reviews helpful. I know when I’m buying a new leaf blower the reviews I read first are the bad ones—tell me what went wrong! Guess it’s the same with books –give me the bad stuff and I will avoid this by most accounts great book?
Reader reviews are a sore point with me. I think I take them too personally; but it is hard not to. As part of my new year “I will be better program,” I have promised myself I will not read the bad reviews of my books. Of course I know I will not keep that resolution for more than a few weeks, and I will be back reading the reviews with a strange focus on the bad ones.
In case you were wondering below is the list of the twenty top selling books for 2019 and the number sold.
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens—907,192
- Becoming by Michelle Obama—888,611
- Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey—524,849
- Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis—505,809
- Diary of An Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney—493,154
- Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis—490,019
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss—483,478
- Educated by Tara Westover—454,989
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris—365,246
- The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith—272,182
- Unfreedom of the Press by Mark R. Levin—267,751
- Howard Stern Comes Again by Howard Stern—265,295
- You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero—250,048
- The Mueller Report by the Washington Post—243,007
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss—237,239
- Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath—235,821
- It’s Not Supposed to To Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst—232,932
- The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney—231,149
- The Woman In the Window by A. J. Finn—230,098
- The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo—229,730