Let’s Review – Goodreads or Point of Purchase?

goodreads_fI’ve been somewhat of a slacker recently on Goodreads, actually with reviews in general. I used to write reviews for books whether or not I liked them, but that took a lot of time. So I started only writing reviews for the books I loved. Then after hearing about the rise of fake reviews, I stopped reviewing all together.

But the thing is – fake review or real – I read reviews before I buy a book. And having my own book out there makes me realize how important it is to have those reviews from real readers. (I’m so grateful to every person that has ever written a review of my book, even if it wasn’t a glowing review. I just appreciate their time first in reading, and second in writing the review.) So the question remains: how do you get legitimate reviews for a book without begging, bribing or otherwise paying for them? And where do people look for reviews? Goodreads? Amazon? Barnes & Noble? Or old-fashioned word of mouth?

I love reading the reviews that come through my Goodreads feed, telling me what books my friends have read. (And if we aren’t already friends over there, send me a friend request!) I have definitely read someone’s review and then gone online to buy the book. But otherwise, I tend to just look at the reviews at whatever online portal I’m buying the book from.

What about you? Do you generally review books that you read? How much do reader reviews inform your purchases? And where do you go to find reviews?

And speaking of Goodreads, author friend Dawn Malone is giving away 10 copies of her new novel, Bingo Summer. Pop on over to enter for your chance to win!

12 thoughts on “Let’s Review – Goodreads or Point of Purchase?

  1. I do review the books I love. If I don’t care for it, I skip the review. It’s my belief that there are enough people out there who will give a book a low mark for whatever reason – maybe deserved, maybe not – but I won’t be one of them. As an author, I know first-hand about the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into the process, and I just can’t bring myself to be negative about someone’s creative work.

    And thank you for the shout-out about BINGO SUMMER and my Goodreads giveaway!

  2. Sherrie, when I first became more active on Goodreads last year (tried to list books I’ve read, posted reviews, etc.), I think I posted maybe one or two reviews that openly criticized the books. I felt strongly about why I didn’t like them. Because I was spending an inordinate amount of time writing these little reviews, plus didn’t really want to put out negativity, I thought it best to follow the “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all” type thinking, at least in this respect. I also don’t rate the books. I understand the intended “value” of this, but I don’t like ratings, in general. I find them misleading AND they can also negatively affect an author. I don’t want to do that. I have ambivalent feelings about reviews, but I think you can often tell when a review is authentic if something unique is mentioned about the book.

    • I totally agree about the stars! Very few of my reviews have star ratings — I’ve gone back and deleted most. And as an author I get why they have them, but I much prefer the written reviews to the arbitrary star ratings.

  3. I read reviews before I buy a book, and I also read them after I am finished reading. I like to revisit both strengths and weaknesses, and often when I read someone else’s opinions, it changes my own by giving me different perspectives. All this helps me write better balanced reviews of my own. It is never appropriate to judge an author, but I think it is fair to evaluate a published work with honest, constructive criticism.

    • I agree. If there’s something that pulls me out of the story I’ll mention it in my review, but only if I liked the story overall. I feel like if I didn’t enjoy reading the story, it wasn’t worth mentioning the book at all. As I reader, I’ll check out the one and two star reviews to see if they have legitimate issues with the book. But some of those reviews seem to be people who just like to slam everything.

      • I have no patience for those who will passionately gripe about a character and ignore the fact that it takes skill for a writer to evoke those kinds of emotions in the reader.

  4. Hi Sherrie,

    I review the books I can give 4 or 5 stars too. I read a lot of books that I don’t review for lots of reasons. I like to keep track of the books I read. It’s like crossing off a list of things to do. I do read reviews before I purchase. I look at the 2 and 3 star reviews most carefully. That’s where I usually find the truth. Five stars are great and if there are enough of them that tells me something, but if I want to know what the story is like I need to read something constructive about it too. I’ve purchased books off 3 star reviews because I realized what they didn’t like was something I’d love. Does that make sense?

    I also see if it’s a reader or a book blogger. Book bloggers are a little more harsh in their reviews than the average reader. I think that like writers, they read so much, that they’ve gotten a little jaded and hard to please. I do take that into consideration too. Their 3 star is probably my 4 or 5 star. 🙂

    • I’m the same way about tracking the books I read! And the funny thing is, when I started on Goodreads I didn’t actually expect people to be reading my reviews so I was just kind of posting notes to jog my memory about what I liked and didn’t like about different books. Obviously, that had to change once people started looking at my comments!

      And I definitely pay more attention to the three and two star reviews more than the four and five star reviews. Even though as an author I want the four and five star reviews, as a reader I like to see what people had issues with. Sometimes a bad review makes me more interested in reading the book for myself 🙂

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