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A reader-centred approach to quality

Reader development takes an inclusive approach to whatever people are reading. We don’t need to make value judgments about the 'quality' of books as we shift the focus to the quality of the reading experience. It is quite possible to have a poor reading experience with a great book - most of us have experienced this at school or later in life. This doesn't mean that generations of readers have been wrong about the book and you're the first person to see through it. Nor does it mean that there is something wrong with you or that you are simply not up to it. All it means is that you and the book weren't right for each other at that time, something prevented the book from speaking to you.

Conversely, it is possible to have a deep and satisfying reading experience with a book which is actually quite light, which may not be a book of all time, but which just happens to speak to you at a particular point in your life.

Each reader is the judge of their own best book. Reader development will always seek to encourage people to try something different or new to them - but the final judgment on whether it was worth it is down to the individual reader. Everyone is expert in their own reading experience.

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 Audience development

Related Resources

Putting the reader first

The literature world concentrates mainly on writing and publishing. This is true of both the commercial sector and the arts funding sector. Opening the Book's unique contribution has been to introduce the concept of intervening at the point of consumption.

Making the reader visible

Reading is something we do by ourselves in private. There are more readers than there are practitioners of any other art form but because reading is largely an individual and domestic habit, this is often overlooked.

Respecting other people's reading experience

What makes us think that the reader of romances is probably deeply unhappy with no social life?

Opening up reading choices

Think about all the barriers that we have to overcome every time we pick a new book to read. Is this the kind of book I usually like? Is it too heavy? Too light? Will it bore/scare/offend me?