Lately I’ve been reading several comments about an article that appeared in the New York
Times regarding paid-for reviews. (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-book-reviews-money-buy-131408538.html?page=1)
If you’ve already read the article and formed an opinion, you can skip reading my blog. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to click on URLs, I’ll try to quickly summarize the article. Basically a Todd Rutherford decided to start a business in which, for a price, he would write glowing reviews of a book. He charged from $99 for one review up to $999 for 50
In part the article is a warning to all of us. If you are buying a book based on the reviews, you should be aware that up to a third of those reviews are fake. In other words the reviewer probably never read the book and probably received money to publish the review.
Personally, I’ve never based the purchase of a book on a printed review. Word of mouth is what has often prodded me into reading a book I might not have picked up on my own. What I have done several times is looked at the review AFTER I read the book, especially if I was disappointed in the book. I know there have been times when I didn’t particularly like a book and I’ve wondered how it ever received 5-star ratings. Now I think I know.
It’s sad that the business of selling books is dependent on “Likes” and “5-star Reviews.” It’s made us vulnerable to deception. On the other hand, I think if you truly do enjoy a book, you should take the time to write a review and have it posted. Let the writer, as well as potential readers, know that what took weeks to years to write was enjoyed and/or appreciated.
That said, I still believe in what Thumper’s mother said: “If you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”
By the way, last week I mentioned that A Killer Past was a finalist for the 2012 Claymore Award. Well, alas, my entry, didn’t win, but it was certainly nice to be a finalist. The winners were:
Winner: Jonathan Stone for “Again”
2nd Place: V.R. Barkowski for “A Twist of Hate”
3rd Place Tie: Carol Baier for “Wicked Schemes”
& Mark Troy for “The Law of the Splintered Paddle”
Also, on Saturday, September 8th, I’ll be in Saint Joseph, Michigan for the first Harbor Authors’ Book Festival. If you’re in the area, drop by. Here’s an article with more information. (Also it has my picture and the cover of THE CROWS)