Monday, March 12, 2018

Audible Oddity -- Steam Index?!

I was searching Audible last month for titles worthy of my monthly credits and paused to consider the Julia Glass title above, which is now on my Wish List.  I've read several Julia Glass novels and thought this one sounded promising.  I was taken a bit aback though to see the "steam-o-meter" below the book's details.  I'm certainly not opposed to some steam in a novel as long as it seems organic to the story.  I am not interested in a bunch of sex scenes loosely tied together with generic characters and a weak narrative frame.  If I were looking for a "steamy read" and I would say I am seldom, if ever, specifically seeking that quality in a book (though, again, I'm not opposed if steam is part of the story), Julia Glass would not be the first author that came to mind (or even the fiftieth).  I'm curious about the introduction of the "steam-o-meter" (my term, not Audible's) in general.  The playful language suggests that the meter is supposed to be a selling tool not a warning label.  I just find it odd.

So, this morning, I decided to look up some titles that I enjoyed and that I know to be steamy (though, I did not know that going in since I did not have the steam-o-meter to consult) to check and see whether a) these books were given a steam-o-meter rating and b) what that rating was.
I read Sally Thorne's The Hating Game last summer as a library ebook.  It's a very fun, love-hate office romance story with good characters.  I would agree with the "hot damn" rating.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan is a book I recommend all the time.  It's just a perfect escape.  Great premise, lovable characters, easy to read.  Again, I agree with the "sizzling" rating.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal is a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and available now on Hoopla (a digital service offered by many libraries).  Despite the title (which I initially found off-putting), I downloaded the title for a weekend road trip.  This book is definitely steamy, but it's in the service of a larger narrative about culture, gender, and religion.  I thought it was great.  If I had to give it a steam-o-meter rating, I'd put it somewhere between "sizzling" and "hot damn."  I find it intriguing, however, that this book did not have a steam-o-meter rating.  Perhaps the title tells you what you need to know already? 

Here's what I know:
1)  Some titles available on have been given a steam-o-meter (my term) rating.
2)  For two books that I read that are steam-o-meter rated, I found the ratings to be accurate.

Here's what I don't know but would like to know:
1)  Who's idea was the steam-o-meter? 
2)  Who decides which books are given a steam-o-meter rating?
3)  Who's assigning the steam-o-meter rating?  (Admittedly, I did not dig around on website to see if these come from Audible editors, crowd-sourcing, etc.)
4)  Has Audible received any positive or negative feedback from authors whose books have received steam-o-meter ratings?
5)  Have any steam-o-meter books seen a spike or decline in sales?

As for me, I'm entertained/intrigued by the steam-o-meter feature but think I'd prefer to continue seeking out stories that sound good to me.  If they happen to have a steam factor, so be it, but I think I'd rather be surprised by that element of the story. 

No comments:

Post a Comment