Why do people write their own book reviews? I still can’t quite figure this out. When book reviews are splashed across pages of magazines and newspapers as a book comes onto the shelves (or right before), reviewers are either paid to do a review (and thus, promote the book), or they they do it because it is part of their job. It’s good for the book and for the author, even if the reviews aren’t stellar (bad press is better than no press at all). But do personal book reviews really influence anyone? I doubt it.
I’m starting to think that the reason you see so many people writing their own book reviews on blogs etc., is to improve their own writing skills. It can’t possibly be because they think they have something new to say, can it? Most reviews tend to be a chapter by chapter breakdown, covering large plot points and character descriptions. Around the end of each review, in a paragraph or two, the reviewer might actually offer up an opinion on the work, but, really, what does it matter? Do you care about their summary of the book? Do you care that they did or didn’t like the book? If they give it five stars, do you think it MUST be one of the best books out there? I’m going to venture forth and say…..it probably has absolutely NO INFLUENCE on you at all!
I get tired of streaming through blog posts to find something interesting about books, only to be bombarded with book reviews. I suppose they can be useful on library catalog websites….I’d read a quick paragraph review of a book I was considering just to see if it is worth my time, but I wouldn’t bother with an extended essay on the book. I want to actually READ the book, not read a summary.
So, do you read book reviews on blogs, or do you stick to reviews in newspapers and magazines? Do you find personal book reviews helpful at all? Would a review influence you to pick up (or put down) a particular book? Tell us what you think!