Are Book Reviews Effective for Their Intended Purpose?

Are Book ReviewsEffective

This is something I ponder a lot. It seems to be a book blogger-wide acceptance that book reviews get the least amount of views. At the same time, though, book reviews are intended for the readers, in hopes to influence what books they choose to read.

But are these reviews really changing reader’s minds? Do people even actually read these reviews to so many book bloggers take hours to write?

I don’t have a problem in mentioning that I get more acknowledgements from authors (both good and bad acknowledgements) over my reviews even though reviews are meant for readers. Reviews are meant for readers, and I’ve lost count on how many authors I’ve seen mention to other authors to not read reviews on their book. But if reviews are meant for readers, are they really effective if the readers don’t . . . you know, read the review?

I read reviews. I read a lot of reviews, but usually only when reading my own reviews over, or seeing what my friends have to say about a book I was iffy on reading. Reviews save my ass when I’m looking for trigger warnings, because more often than not, something in the review will mention them if the author or publisher doesn’t. Other readers, though, don’t seem to read them that often. As much as I want to say that, ‘yes, book reviews are effective for their intended purpose’ I can’t help but to think that they work more towards critiquing the author (and helping them improve) rather than looking out for the reader. 

A lot of the reviews I read seem to focus on the quality of the writing, characters, and plot, and not how the reader feels. Focusing on that kind of thing seems to point to being more of an author critique than a review. How is a reader supposed to know if its good if the review doesn’t focus on what the book will make the feel. Instead, critiquing the style of everything almost makes it seem like the review is for the author, and to improve their writing. And reviews really aren’t for that. Like I’ve said multiple times already, reviews are meant for the reader. But how do we know if the reviews are actually helping? I’ve gotten a few messages saying that my review has influenced someone to read a book, so yay! Getting messages like that prove that not only are people reading your reviews, but they are also doing their intended purpose. The key to this is are people actually reading the reviews?

So, what makes people read a review? Personally, I like seeing a short summary, and a rating somewhere in the review. I also think that reviews shouldn’t be walls of text, so breaking up reviews by headers, bolded lines, or even pictures, really helps. Even lists describing what you liked and disliked help! What I mentioned here is just what I like seeing, though.

Do you think reviews are effective for influencing reader’s opinions? What makes you read a review?

5 thoughts on “Are Book Reviews Effective for Their Intended Purpose?

  1. I think reviews are effective, there are often times that I’ll scroll through Goodreads to see what people have been saying about a book that I am thinking about buying and it does help to know what other people have been thinking. However, I don’t think that reviews are just for readers I think they are both for readers and the author but that’s just my opinion 🙂

    • I definitely think that reviews can be for both, but as I see it, they’re primarily for the readers. Critiques are more for authors, to help them understand what happened. Personally, I find it difficult to scroll through Goodreads, because there is such a range of opinion. I normally stick to my friends, but even then I’ve found myself loving books they’ve hated.

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