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Do Critics Make Bestsellers? Opinion Leaders and the Success of Books

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  • Michel Clement
  • Dennis Proppe
  • Armin Rott

Abstract

Because hedonic aspects of products are difficult to evaluate prior to consumption, consumers seek signals to reduce their uncertainty. Opinion leaders, such as critics, may serve as key informants to consumers. This study considers the different roles and incentives of literary critics and how they influence the success of books. Furthermore, it empirically investigates the impact of 4 book critics featured on Germany's most popular literary television show, Das Literarische Quartett, on reviewed books' success. The variety of control variables included in the mixed regression models provide results pertaining to not only the critics, but also the success factors of books in general. Book success does not depend primarily on the mere appearance of a book on a television show or a favorable review of it; rather, awareness and word-of-mouth effects seem crucial, and books are more likely to succeed if critics disagree about the quality and express extreme judgments, even if those judgments are negative.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel Clement & Dennis Proppe & Armin Rott, 2007. "Do Critics Make Bestsellers? Opinion Leaders and the Success of Books," Journal of Media Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 77-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jmedec:v:20:y:2007:i:2:p:77-105
    DOI: 10.1080/08997760701193720
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Aguzzoni & Elena Argentesi & Lorenzo Ciari & Tomaso Duso & Massimo Tognoni, 2016. "Ex post Merger Evaluation in the U.K. Retail Market for Books," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 170-200, March.
    2. Brinja Meiseberg, 2014. "Trust the artist versus trust the tale: performance implications of talent and self-marketing in folk music," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 38(1), pages 9-42, February.
    3. Trilce Navarrete & Karol J. Borowiecki, 2015. "Change in access after digitization: Ethnographic collections in Wikipedia," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-10-2015, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Oct 2015.
    4. Edlira Shehu & Tim Prostka & Christina Schmidt-Stölting & Michel Clement & Eva Blömeke, 2014. "The influence of book advertising on sales in the German fiction book market," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 38(2), pages 109-130, May.
    5. Keuschnigg, Marc, 2015. "Product Success in Cultural Markets: The Mediating Role of Familiarity, Peers, and Experts," MPRA Paper 63444, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Marco Caliendo & Michel Clement & Edlira Shehu, 2015. "The effect of individual professional critics on books’ sales: capturing selection biases from observable and unobservable factors," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 423-436, December.

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