For librarians, top review publications such as Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, School Library Journal, etc., play a vital role in the selection of titles. Reviews are the strongest criterion for selection. While it’s true booksellers look at different criteria when making a decision about which books to stock, reviews are a tremendously useful and helpful factor, especially when in doubt or when the author is unknown. Pre-release review publications like the ones mentioned before play an important role in the selection of books, allowing bookstores to order titles in advance of their official release dates, thus making them available to the public immediately after their release. Online reviews are particularly important when selecting titles from small presses or unknown authors who often don’t get reviews in the major pre-release publications.
The fact is, most people read reviews. Reviews and readers go together like wine and cheese. Before spending money on a book--especially in the case of expensive hard covers--most people turn to reviews to get an idea of the book’s quality and whether or not there’s a recommendation. In this age of computers when almost every person has a PC at home, it’s easy for booklovers to access the Internet and read book reviews. With the rise of so many niche review sites, book blogs, and readers sharing their reviews on sites like Amazon, it’s popular to read reviews. Also, the more reviews about a book, the more buzz and exposure.
Do you read reviews before purchasing a book? Do you have a favorite review publication or website?
--Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and is the co-author of the award-winning The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. She’s had over 300 stories, articles, interviews and reviews published both online and in print, in publications such as and , among many others. A reviewer for more than a decade, she now offers numerous book reviewing workshops online. She also offers workshops on the art of picture book writing. Visit her website at www.MayraCalvani.com