Yesterday I was out to dinner with one of my close friends and we began talking about books. She loves books. She went through probably close to fifteen books in our conversation and pinpointed exactly what she did and didn’t like about each of them, so I asked her, “Why don’t you start a book review blog?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know, I’ve thought about it, but what would I say?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “What you just told me!”
Her worry is that what she has to say about a book would mean little and isn’t worth posting. That’s what I used to think as well. I never reviewed books or items or restaurants or anything. I read other people’s reviews of course, but never posted my own. I assumed what I had to say didn’t matter.
But I was wrong – because it DOES matter. It matters to the maker of that product, the owner of the restaurant, the author, musician, and the consumer. Reviews are so important.
How often do you see a book on Amazon or Goodreads and check out the reviews, good and bad, on a book? Even if you don’t go as far as read them – you probably make a point to look at the “stars”. It’s consumer nature to want an idea of what we are buying before we buy it.
Writing book reviews are great for four reasons:
Helpful for authors
Like I said, reviews are HUGE for authors. They can truly make or break an author. Reviews help an author with exposure, gaining an audience, credibility with readers and publishing professionals, and sales.
Helpful for consumers
Reviews give consumers better information to help make a decision to buy or not to buy. “Is it worth it?” is the question we ask, sub-or un-consciously, and with reviews we can answer this with more confidence. Sometimes reviews may even be half good, half bad, and we may just decide to buy it for ourselves to decide anyway. Often times we want to be able to answer the other question: “What am I getting myself into?”
Chance to process the book
Writing a review is like journaling about your day – it allows you to reflect (on the book) and how you felt about it; what you liked, didn’t like, what you are walking away with. On top of that, it can help you let the book go so you are ready to move on to another one. How often do you find yourself caught up after a really great book and not ready to start another because of it? I found reviewing books helped me refresh for a new read.
Embrace your tastes
Reviewing can teach you a lot about yourself as well. You may begin to see patterns – what you like and don’t like in a book. What to stay away from, and what to try more of. It can help focus your tastes and in turn provide for a better reading experience.
Reviews can mean everything, especially in the age of self-publishing. Every single review counts. If you like an author, help them out – post a review!
What other reasons are there to review books? Do you write (and read) reviews yourself?