While many of you have loved the new updates to the site we rolled out this month including new design and content, new ways to search by genre, and more prominent member thoughts, one overwhelming piece of feedback we've received is that you miss the judges' essays! We hear you, and we want to explain why we decided to remove the essays this month. We also thought it would be a great time to explain how our monthly selections are chosen, as this process has not changed.

Let's start with the monthly selection process that we've used since our launch in 2015. We make our selections using three inputs: our editorial team, a committee of BOTM members called the readers committee, and judges.

Our Editorial Team
Our editorial team (led by @siobhannnj) reviews hundreds of upcoming titles from more than 50 different imprints from all major publishing houses and many indies to scope out which upcoming books we think our members will love. We read, debate, repeat. We then send our favorites to our readers committee.

The Readers Committee
Our readers committee includes die-hard BOTM members like you who read through potential selections and give us their feedback. If you have received more than six boxes from us and want to be part of the readers committee, email us at readerscommittee@bookofthemonth.com.

The Judges
Finally, we've got our judges—book bloggers like the beloved Liberty Hardy, journalists like Elizabeth Sile, authors like Katie Cotugno, and from time to time, celebrities like Krysten Ritter. These super smart folks are in frequent communication with our editorial team, letting us know what books they're most excited about, and what books they are not so keen on.

Ultimately, our editorial team makes the call on the final five selections, using their editorial sense, readers committee feedback, and judges' opinions. They also determine what content to include on the site to help members make their selections. In the past, this has included essays written by our judges and members of the editorial team, as well as the synopsis and first page of the book.

So why no essays?

We're constantly surveying our members about their Book of the Month experience. We take this feedback seriously, and use it to make improvements. We've learned that while members love our judges input, in general, most did not use the essays as the primary factor in making their selections. Specifically, many members commented that the essays were too long, and that they wanted to find out more quickly what the book was about, the genre, and what other people were saying about it. We incorporated all of this feedback into our new website design.

Since rolling out the changes, we've learned that more of you value the unique perspective and nuance provided by the essays than we had thought. Thanks for speaking up and letting us know, and we are on it! We're working on ways to include our judges' input (and other helpful info) in the coming months—and we think you'll love it. (P.S., look out for Liberty next month ;)) Thank you again for the feedback—we truly take it to heart and will use it to continuously improve BOTM. Finally, your comments made us realize that that we didn't do a good job of communicating or explaining these changes ahead of time. We will do a better job in the future.

The main thing is, we are always looking for the best ways to introduce readers like you to amazing new books by talented up-and-coming authors. If you have additional suggestions, please email us at member.services@bookofthemonth.com. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks for being a member!