Friday, April 11, 2008

How much *do* reviews matter, really?--Pepper

Reading all of the Deborahanne MacGillivray (and what a name that is!) crap has me made me think about reviews again. This woman went to a lot of time and effort to get rid of so-called negative reviews. And she got down-right abusive and threatening towards the reviewer. Clearly, Amazon reviews are serious business.

I know how I feel about reviews as a writer, but reviews are theoretically supposed to be for the readers, yes? I can't remember the last time I even looked at reviews when considering a book purchase--mainly because I've only been reading/buying assigned books for the past two years. But all these review sites must exist for a reason. I don't even read reviews for movies or music.

As readers, when was the last time you bought anything based on a review? And what sort of review sites or articles do you read?


veinglory said...

Sometimes I learn a book exists from a review--or even a cover snark. I tend to buy based on what the book is about.

Kathleen Oxley said...

For a while I relied heavily on the suggestions from sites like Amazon and B&N. I'd go to the page for an author/book I really like and on the page is a "Readers who liked this book recommend/also like..." section. I'd use that to find similar authors/books to check out. It worked really well a lot of the time.

Other than that, I don't pay a lot of attention to reviews.

Anonymous said...

For my manga titles, Amazon reviews tend to help. [but then so does my blog being fed to my product page...]

As for my new novel, I found that reviews at blogs picked up sales and clicks, but when those reviewers placed their reviews on Amazon--sales definitely picked up. 0_0.

I hear lots of readers saying they avoid Amazon reviews, but man...there sure are lots of readers paying attention to those star-ratings.

Anonymous said...

I don't bother with Amazon reviews - I'll read them if they're there, but they won't influence my decision.

However I do read and take notice of reviews for ebooks (go figure!). Perhaps it's because I spend more money on ebooks than I do on print, these days. Although I impulse-buy shedloads of books from LI, Samhain and EC, if the blurb and review catch my interest then 90% of the time I'll buy it.

I've bought books that had bad reviews (sometimes you need a laugh), books that had middling reviews that I enjoyed, and books with great reviews that I didn't care for.

So yeah, review sites are important for me. It's getting increasingly difficult to find honest review sites, though. I used to read one site every day as they had a big turnover of reviews, but they started doing puff reviews and every book seems to get 5 out of 5 now. That's no good to me.

The review sites I check daily are: Mrs Giggles, DA, SB, Speak Its Name, Uniquely Pleasurable, Cocktail Reviews, Book Utopia. I loved Top & Bottom Reviews too but they've gone a bit quiet recently. Once a month I'll look at FAR and Ck2S out of interest.

Valintine Pawson said...

I review for a bunch of site (one is aimed at librarians, one is my own site and I often get emails from people saying they picked up a book because of my review. I've picked up a few books based on a review, but it's sample chapters, or sample stories that sells me the fastest.

Erastes said...

I read the comments on Amazon because that's where I buy all my books from these days - and I take them under consideration. If all the reviews are stinkers, it might mean that I won't bother but not always. I do the same for video games, read as much about the plot and ideas behind the book/game as I can then buy and make my own mind up.

I don't go to review sites - I used to but so many of them simply rehash the plot and don't actually review the book at all. Plus so many of them won't post of a review that they think might criticize the book unfavourably. I was asked to review for a site a while back and the owner actually said "If you don't like the book, don't review it, let us know and we'll see if we can get someone else to do it." Which amazed me - I do know how to constructively crit, after all!

If there was a magazine concentrating on gay fiction, I'd definitely buy it.

Pepper Espinoza said...

Actually, I forgot about video games. Yeah, I rely on reviews for video games. I think it's because video games are such huge time investments. you go into a movie and it takes 2 hours of your life, and a book doesn't take much more than that, but some video games are designed to be played for 40+. I definitely want to know what I'm getting into!

Stacia said...

I read reviews on Amazon and use them, but I actually find the negative reviews sometimes more helpful. If someone hated the book but the review is misspelled or badly written, or I look at their other reviews and they hate stuff I like or like stuff I hate...that's as good as a good review for me (I always check the reviewer's other reviews before deciding how much weight to give the review, always.)

Anne D said...

I'm another of the 'like to read the neg reviews' crowd - in fact I've bought many books that were reviewed badly for that exact reason - I love me some campy reads for some reason!

In the majority I don't buy books solely because of their reviews, but the reviews might well point out a book I didn't know existed.