Washington, Feb 14: A new research from Amanda Sharkey of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has found that a book read after winning a prestigious award will likely be judged more negatively than if it's read in its pre-award days.
In "The Paradox of Publicity: How Awards Can Negatively Affect the Evaluation of Quality," Sharkey and colleague Balazs Kovacs of the University of Lugano analyze thousands of reader reviews of 32 pairs of books.
One book in each pair had won an award - like the Booker Prize, National Book Award or PEN/Faulkner Award - while the other book had been nominated but hadn't won.
"We found that winning a prestigious prize in the literary world seems to go hand-in-hand with a particularly sharp reduction in ratings of perceived quality," Sharkey said.
The researchers theorize that a book's audience increases considerably after an award is announced, as do the diversity and personal tastes of readers.
Therefore, a larger sampling of readers is drawn to a prize-winning book, not because of any intrinsic personal interest in the book, but because it has an award attached to it.
To test this theory, Sharkey and Kovacs created "predicted" ratings for each book based on the readers' past ratings of books in the same genre. They then studied the how a book's predicted ratings change after an award is announced by comparing earlier predicted ratings to post-announcement predicted ratings.
They found that before an award is announced, the predicted ratings of a book about to win are equivalent to the ratings of a book about to lose. But after an award is announced, that shifts and award-winning books have lower predicted ratings than books that don't win.
The study is set to be published in the journal Administrative Science Quarterly. (ANI)