2014 Best Book Runner-up: Ian Christie, Audiences: Defining and Researching Screen Entertainment Reception (Amsterdam University Press, 2012).
Comments by the panel: This volume is more than the sum of its parts. It is a test case in what an edited collection can be. It benefits from the many voices and the many perspectives, and throughout there is a keen sense that what’s here has been intelligently curated by Ian Christie. Where “audience studies”, for all its insights, has emerged from qualitative and quantitative statistics with a sociological impetus (and has necessarily had to reflect at length on its own methodology), this volume is wider-ranging. It is an energetic (and jargon free) exploration of how and where films have been and continue to be seen. The set of interests here is very impressive: cinema design, stage aesthetics, address to audience, cinema-going, the use of statistics, emerging technologies, and bio-cultural understandings of how we respond to film. Cinephilia in the digital age is explored; a fascinating piece on mobile phones is included; there is back to basics and refreshed consideration of cognitive psychology, as well as a defence of the merits of what the discipline of ‘audience studies’ can bring. As a whole, this is a serious, broad-ranging and immensely readable volume, a genuine contribution to scholarship, and it asks us to think again about what watching a movie actually entails.