What do you miss? McKinley Valentine on newsletters in general and BookRiot in particular

I kind of wanted to put the entire medium of newsletters as my tool because I do love them, but I’ve chosen Book Riot’s science fiction and fantasy newsletter, which I think comes out about twice a week… It just gives recommendations of science fiction and fantasy books, pretty much. It has the cover, it has the blurb – they’re usually either new releases or there’ll be some come sort of themed grouping like “Books That Are Set in the Desert,” or “Books Where the Protagonist is such-and-such.”


And the reason I like is because I read pretty much everything on Kindle now. And I like that, it’s convenient – but you really miss the feeling of being in a bookstore and just browsing and seeing the cover and reading the back and thinking “I’m going to give it a shot.”


And you also miss that kind of – just the general sense that you know what books are out, or what’s going on in their world of books… seeing what’s on the shelves and seeing what’s changed and, you know you hear an author’s name and you kind of know who that is even if you haven’t read the book. That sense of being part of the reading community, which I do miss from not being in bookstores.

McKinley Valentine on Cool Tools ep.231

In short:

  • The texture of browsing in person;
  • Good quality, bespoke-feeling curation;
  • Serendipitous discovery and non-algorithmic (or less-overtly algorithmic) cues;
  • A sense of a scene or community.

Those who miss such things will miss them more than ever in the world of Zoom.

And check out The Whippet.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...