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Is The Book Review Dead?

Death Valley Sand Dunes, by digitaleye81, Flickr

It seems that placing the power of providing book reviews into the general public’s ands has its pros and cons. Lately, we’ve been reading more about the cons:

  • authors  paying for good reviews,
  • authors  writing a huge number of great reviews for their own books; and
  • authors writing bad reviews for other author’s books.

I’m not surprised that this is happening. For those people that are surprised…you may want to grow up. Writing is just like any other profession and some writers will do shocking things. What has actually shocked me is that the cannibalism of book reviews has been shared by both traditional and self-published authors. Self-published authors have to work extremely hard to gain exposure. I can see how tempting it can be to pay for a few reviews if it means that your work will be seen by more people. Have I done it?
No. I’ve decided to take the honest route. But, I’ve held onto the myth, even though I know that it’s not true, that publishers take care of the marketing needs of their authors. However, traditional authors also need to gain exposure for their work.

The latest rants from a few writer’s blogs concerning this subject have led me to wonder if the book review is serving its purpose. Besides the fact that some authors are  manipulating book review ratings for better standings on Amazon, book reviews have also been written based on  reader’s opinions. We can’t go back to only relying on professional newspapers and magazines that only review books from the top six publishers. The current book review process is rifled with problems. It makes me wonder if the book review is dead.




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