What’s the Point of Book Reviews?

What a stupid question, I hear you all saying at the sight of this title. And I agree, it is a stupid question. That’s the whole point of this post to talk about what a stupid statement it really is and the relevance and importance of book reviews. A good year or so ago now, I saw a comment on Facebook I won’t forget and it took everything in me not to start a complete ruckus with this stupid person. The comment, left on another Facebook friends status was, “I don’t see the point of book reviews, they’re irrelevant“. I don’t see the point of book reviews. They are irrelevant. And the person who said this? An author.

What is the Point of Book Reviews

I shit you not, it was an author who made that comment. If it wasn’t going to be bad enough anyway, the fact an author, who’s whole writing career basically survives on book reviews, has such a shallow and quite frankly, absurd opinion is well, beyond me really. This author was a self-published author, who’s career I had loosely been following from afar. I say following, that’s not really the way to put it more like, having shoved down my throat. So maybe the fact she (or he, oops) was self-published made them wary of the reviews they were getting, maybe they thought they weren’t genuine or something, I don’t know but that doesn’t excuse the point I’m trying to make.

Book reviews are not just important, they are vital.

I’m not an author. I doubt I ever will be but I have been reviewing books since I started this blog (in fact, you can find all of them here if you fancy!) and my entire business revolves around promoting authors and getting good reviews for them in order to promote further. I see, every day, the impact and importance of book reviews. It is a naïve notion to think they don’t matter. I myself have bought multiple books from reading a fellow blogger’s review of it. In fact, I think I’m more likely to purchase a book based on a blogger’s review of it than if it was on the top spot at Tesco. Bloggers and reviews go hand in hand. Not just books, but everything. If you don’t care about the reviews, then the people writing the reviews won’t care about you.

There are so many authors around now from all these fantastic publishers (and self-published ones, I’m not dismissing them as I have read some absolutely incredible self-published books) all of whom are competing against each other. Not directly, as I’m sure they mostly get on and support each other but in terms of sales and popularity, it’s always going to be a race to the top. And what is the one thing that can influence that? Book reviews. Good, honest and fair book reviews. Whether that review be a 5 star or a 1 star, it’s still a review. It still matters and it still shapes the outcome in a small way of how a book is going to be perceived by the public. An individual book review may not change the world or your writing career but it is an important part of the much more grander puzzle.

One tiny little book review can lead to another blogger buying the book and leaving a review. Who then recommends the book to their mum. Who then reads it and recommends it to a work colleague. You see where I’m going with this?

Butterfly effect.

So whether you’re a newbie book blogger or a more experienced book blogger, a professional book reviewer or you just leave a quick review on Amazon every so often, your reviews matter. They shape the literary world, one word at a time.

What are your thoughts and opinions on book reviews? Are you an author and if so, how important do you find them?

109 thoughts on “What’s the Point of Book Reviews?

  1. I have always valued book reviews as a reader, especially when I have relied on that reviewer in the past. An unknown – to me – reviewer, may or may not appreciate the same things I enjoy. Now that I’ve published a book, I very much want reviews. Not only can they help get the word out about my book, they help me improve my writing for future books.

  2. This was a great article I am blogger that is just now getting into book reviewing.But before I started doing book reviews I have always read the book’s reviews because it helps me to decide if I want to read the book are not.

  3. Reviews are an essential part of our economy, be it by word of mouth or widely publishized, I wouldn’t buy a new car unless I read a great many reviews. In summary, the individual you speak of was probably on a fishing expedition to create interest from others. Remember, negative publicity is in itself a review.

    • I honestly don’t know what the person I was referring to was referring to herself but I can remember chatting with bloggers about how un-interested they were after hearing her comments. Bloggers talk, authors have to remember that.

  4. My dream goal is to be an author. I’ve written short stories and novellas and last summer completed the first draft of my novel (now onto the second draft) and fully intend to submit it and get published, no matter how long it takes. However, without critiques and reviews of my work along the way, I know that would be near impossible as I would never improve and constantly be stuck in my own subjective view of my work. Its so important to get that outsiders perspective and feedback – if you truly care about improving that is. I also do book reviews on my booktube channel and now am starting to do them in written form on my new blog The Vista Review. Book reviews are important for me to do because I critique not only the content, characters and plot, but also the writing quality, and since books are a product that you pay for (since writing is a business after all, but many people don’t seem to understand that), you deserve to enjoy what you’ve spent your money on just like any other product you buy, and if you didn’t enjoy it and want to review it then there’s nothing wrong with that. So yes, as a reader and especially as a writer, book reviews are extremely important and relevant! Great article 🙂

  5. Shoh! This was quite inspirational. I’m new to all this and I was starting to wonder if my small book reviews had a point because I have so few followers currently. But this made me want to write so many more! Thanks ❤

  6. I am not an author, but I do like to write short stories and reviews on books. I think book reviews help us see if we really want to read the book or not. Why go out and buy a book and then realize you don’t like it? Some people push through it and read it all, but I don’t usually. Book reviews can help get better in sight on the book, especially if the main idea(usually on the back or front of the book) isn’t clear.

  7. Hi Jenny, if you will check our site, me and my partner also do book reviews. When I read your article I am completely infuriated with the author who made such careless comment. Book reviews, in a lot of way creates a community among readers. It bridges gaps and breaks language barriers. It is a complement on the author if hie or her book got reviewed. I read for pleasure all the time but when I am doing a book review I make sure that I comprehend every little detail on the novel. I even do some research as well. I spend time doing reviews. All I can say is that author is some dumbass bastard who do not think before speaking.

  8. This was very inspirational. I started my blog yesterday to do exactly what you wrote about. I want to review books because if they are good, I want other people to know about it, and I want the author to be rewarded for writing a good book! If you could, I would really appreciate some feedback from you on my first review, if you take a while to read this I might have my second review up too.
    Awesome tweet, I really enjoyed it.

  9. Pingback: Objectivity in book reviews: can you be honest AND objective? | Fictionophile

  10. As an author reviews are such a great way of advertising. Especially when you don’t have a lot of money because they are often free. It can get tedious emailing reviewer after reviewer to request a review but it’s so worth it!

  11. Pingback: Happy Birthday Jenny in Neverland  | Jenny in Neverland

  12. Pingback: So, you want to start reviewing books? | Jenny in Neverland

  13. Pingback: Mystery Blogger Award Tag | Jenny in Neverland

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