The Blind Book Date Manifesto

Or, why not knowing what you’re going to read can be good thing now and then

When was the last time you discovered a book that you didn’t know you were looking for?
When was the last time you read something that you didn’t think you would read in a million years but were so glad you did after turning the last page?
When was the last time you read a novel that unexpectedly broadened your horizon?

If the answer is ‘quite a long time ago’ or ‘uhhh, never’, a blind date with a book might be the solution for you.

As readers we live in the best of times and in the worst of times. Never before in history have books been so readily accessible. With just a click or two you can have your pick from a selection of books that would have easily filled the library of Alexandria several times over. Finding and locating a specific book is easy now with all the different search engines and websites like Goodreads. Recommendations are fully automated with algorithms making predictions based on the books you liked. Not sure if this is the right book for you? Google it and hundreds if not thousands of reviews and ratings will help you make your choice.

There is, however, a downside to this age of abundance and ease. On the one hand, walk into a random bookstore, or visit a website like Amazon, and you will probably only encounter the usual suspects – the bestsellers and series everyone has heard about. On the other hand, with more and more books available to choose from it becomes harder and harder for the lesser-known good reads to grab your attention. Books by authors who are not G.R.R. Martin or J.K Rowling are unfortunately often hidden or not displayed prominently. Of course, if you know what you are looking for you can still find it in a matter of seconds. But if you don’t know what you are looking for, the chance of going beyond your usual reads are slim. If you love Game of Thrones, you can easily discover ten other books that are just like it. Easy, because we know you like it, but finding something you didn’t know you would like, that’s the challenge. Both yours and ours.

It is the paradox of choice: the more choices we have the more we will read the same thing over and over again. As readers we run the risk of losing that element of discovery and surprise, of letting books broaden our horizons.

The solution to recapture that sense of discovery and adventure might actually be less information instead of more. A year ago I discovered that if you wrap a book and just put a few keywords with cryptic descriptions on it, suddenly something mysterious started to happen. People were drawn to this unknown book. They started to try to guess the obscured title. Interestingly enough, not knowing the title and the author made people more likely to try a new read. All the great (but not widely known) books suddenly started to fly off the shelves. And people came back for more Blind Book Dates. They tried new books, novels that they usually wouldn’t have picked up, and they really liked them.

So, sometimes not knowing what you’re going to read can be the trick to stumble upon a great discovery. Going on a Blind Book Date is the new and exciting way for you to discover that one book you didn’t know you were looking for.

–  Tiemen

Come to our Blind Book Date Party in Amsterdam on November 22nd to find out for yourself how much fun not knowing what you’re getting into can be!