I was browsing the Kindle Store this morning when I made a fun discovery. Amazon’s created a special web page where they’re identifying their choices for the “Best Books of the Month.” All of the very best new and just-released Kindle ebooks are being highlighted as “the unique mix of books that our editors have hand picked as this month’s best.”
But in addition to the new book lists, Amazon’s also created links for two more special pages. There’s an “Award Winners” page, which features a list of this year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning books, as well as the books which were recognized by the National Book Critics Circle Awards and the National Book Awards. The page even includes a list for the best mysteries of the year (as chosen by the Mystery Writers of America), as well as the very best children’s picture books, chosen by the American Library Association. The mysteries are all winners of the prestigious “Edgar” awards, including “The Quick Fix,” a noir-style mystery set in a junior high school in which a blackmailer torments the 8th grade’s basketball star, and the case falls to a student private eye who’s “the lone voice for justice in a morass of middle school corruption”. And the children’s section highlights winners of the Caldecott Medal (for illustration), the Newbery medal (for literature), and the Printz Award for young adult literature.
It’s always fun to browse through books that have been selected as the very best in their categories — and Amazon’s offering the same experience with their own picks for Kindle ebooks. Their “Best Books of the Month” page includes special sections for science fiction and fantasy ebooks, nonfiction ebooks, romance novels, and even mysteries and thrillers. They’ve also included a link to one of my favorite collections — Amazon’s list of the “Best Books of 2013 (So Far)”. It’s a great way to browse through some of the most interesting new titles that have just been released this year — which always makes me feel like I’m staying “current” everything that’s new in the world of book publishing!
So how exactly does Amazon determine which books are the best? “Each month, Amazon.com’s editorial team reads scores of books…” they explain at the bottom of the page. “We scour reviews and book news, we swap books amongst ourselves, and spend our nights and weekends tearing through as many of the best books as possible.” It sounds like a lot of fun, but the finalists still have to face one more grueling challenge. “Then we face off in a monthly Best Books showdown meeting to champion the books we think will resonate most with their readership.”
I’d love to be a “fly on the wall” for that meeting — and it sounds like all of the recommendations ultimately come from a place of love. (“The titles that make our Best Books of Month lists are the keepers, the ones we couldn’t forget,” Amazon’s web page explains.) And it does look like they’re putting a lot of thought into their choices, instead of just siding with whatever books are most popular. “Many of our editorial picks for the best books are also customer favorites and bestsellers, but we strive to spotlight the best books you might not otherwise hear about… ”
I always feel like this is the very best time to be looking at the “best books of the month” page, because there’ll be an entirely new selection of “Best books” to browse through just two days from now — on Thursday, August 1st! Amazon claims that they have a “great passion for uniting readers of all ages and tastes with their next favorite read…and drawing more attention to great books by exceptional authors. ” So I’ve really enjoy browsing through the ebooks they’ve highlighted as this month’s very best new releases — and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve chosen for next month!