Many of my favorite authors are mid-list writers with small followings, writers I've found hidden at the far reaches of the bookstore shelf. In the past, I've often found myself deliberately avoiding the most 'popular' authors on the bookshelf.
I still do to some extent, though this is less true now than it used to be. I'm now willing to pluck any book from the bookshelf that catches my eye, no matter how famous (or not) the writer is.
So why do some people purposefully shy away from reading popular books? One hopes an author who's reached a certain stage in his/her career will produce high quality material. Is it because readers have preconceived notions about the type of people that read 'popular' books? It can't be any good if everyone likes it... Is it because half the fun of finding a book is the joy of the undiscovered country (or in this case, author?). Or is it simply because your taste in books doesn't dovetail with the mass market novel?
How do you find new authors?