Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Tales from the Bookshelf - Book Reviews
Good reviews are something every author wants, but how much do they affect a reader’s decision to purchase a book? Do we really pay attention to the blurbs on the back?
First we must realize that there are many types of reviews.
Pre-publication reviews are aimed more at the industry than at the public, such as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and the ALA. A glowing review from one of these sources affects the amount of publicity, bookstore pre-orders, and library orders a book will receive. Unfortunately, the percentage of books reviewed by these sources is very small.
Magazines often review books that are geared toward their target audience. Niche non-fiction books stand the best chance here, as do books from the big six.
Newspapers such as the LA Times and Boston Globe review books, although primarily only the best sellers.
There’s other pre-publication reviewers such as ALAN Reviews and Independent Publishers Reviews, available to smaller publishers as well.
Celebrities don’t actually review books, but they can provide endorsements.
Online periodicals and reviewers are growing. Armchair Reviews, Genrefluent, Midwest Book Reviews, FlamingNet, etc. Plus sites such as YABooksCentral and TeensReadToo. (Obviously, I know a lot of YA sites! LOL)
There are book bloggers for every genre imaginable, reaching thousands of people.
There’s reviewers on Library Thing, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc. Often these people are book bloggers, too.
And finally there are reviews on bookseller’s sites from all of the above and from casual readers and fans.
Now that I’ve listed many of the sources for reviews, which ones really matter? Which ones do you as a reader trust? If Entertainment Weekly gives the book a C but your best friend loved it, are you more apt to give it a try?
As a reader, how important are these reviews?