This article examines whether the attention to cultural products on the internet is more democratically structured (in terms of gender and genre distributions) than in traditional print media, and how these types of media attention affect commercial success. For the U.S. fiction book releases in February 2009, I analyze consumer ratings at the web store and the social networking site The results show that on the internet far more books receive attention, and that this indeed comes to the advantage of female authors and authors of popular fiction. Moreover, online publicity positively affects commercial success. These outcomes suggest that online attention to cultural products dampens the effects of institutionally embedded evaluations, while word-of-mouth mechanisms are becoming increasingly prominent in terms of how cultural products are discussed.

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ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Communications: the European journal of communication research
Department of Media and Communication

Verboord, M. (2011). Cultural products go online: Comparing the internet and print media on distributions of gender, genre and commercial success. Communications: the European journal of communication research, 36(4), 441–462. doi:10.1515/COMM.2011.022