Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why I Read Reviews

Reviews are Everywhere

There are product reviews from apples to zoos and everything in between. I never book a trip without reading hotel reviews on Trip Advisor. I look for clean, a friendly staff, and a good location to the sites I want to visit. Not everyone judges a hotel by the same standards. I have read reviews, both good and bad that have affected my decision. Some are more descriptive than others and definitely get the point across. One hotel reviewer complained of pubic hair in the tub, but had only nice things to say about the hotel. That was enough for me to take it off my list.

The same can be said about book reviews - Not everyone judges a book by the same standards. I may write romance, but I read all genres. I don't expect to find a romance in every book I read.

RWA STAT of the Week

2014 Romance Book Buyer Report | Nielsen and RWA
While one in four [survey] respondents state that they are not influenced by review sources at all, for those who are influenced, Amazon rating/reviews is by far the most prevalent (46%), with no other source mentioned by more than 10% of buyers.

I consider myself part of that 46% who read Amazon reviews. Like the participants in the survey, the story is the number one reason I choose a book.  I like a review that gives a good summary of the story and tells me something about the characters or location. Sometimes, the author's description is not enough. I have no problem with spoilers as long as the reviewer lets me know right away that the review contains a spoiler. It's my decision if I want to read further. I most likely will.

Some readers are bothered by typos and grammar and will let you know in their review. I usually skip those reviews. I don't read as an editor, I read as a reader.  Even the best known authors will have the occasional typo.  Again, I want to know about story and characters when I read a review. 

I definitely don't like nasty reviews or reviews that don't have at least one nice thing to say.  Really... how bad can the book be? Did you like the cover at least?

I've read reviews where the reviewer states right away that she doesn't normally read this genre. She went on to say that she couldn't get in to the story and that's why she gave it a 1 star review. Why even bother?

The number of reviews doesn't impress me. I have found some really good books with only a few reviews. 

Keep reading and if you write reviews be kind. 


  1. Hi Zelda--
    Great post. I usually don't read reviews. If I know the author's work, I don't read any of the reviews at all. If the author is new to me, I'll read the description and glance at the ratings, and glimpse through a couple reviews. In those cases I only look at the five star reviews. I also do not give any time at all to one star reviews.

  2. I don't give much time to one star reviews either. I admit I've read a few and they always seem like they're written by someone who needs to get rid of some spite. I don't really know how important reviews are. They're not a deciding factor or whether or not I buy a book unless they're written by someone whose opinion I really respect. Nice post.

  3. I read the reviews and often wonder if everyone is reading the same book. As a reader, I don't buy by review either, I try to determine if the story would appeal to me. As an author, I don't pay attention to the one and two star rants. I read the others to see what the readers like.
    Good post. Love to read other opinions

  4. Generally, I ignore 1-star reviews unless the reviewer has a legitimate reason to express his/her disappointment in the book. "Boring" doesn't count! I rarely read reviews of novels - fiction is far too subjective for a review to reflect or inform what I may look for in a book. With non-fiction, I quite frequently enjoy reading the negative reviews - they give great insights into the reviewer, not the book. My mother also said "If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all." Good advice for a civilized society. Thanks, Zelda.