When I started blogging, I was reluctant to post the not so hot reviews. I'm generally a glass is half full person so talking bad about something isn't my thing. I have never felt any pressure from publishers to provide anything but an honest review, but I'm sure there are some who may feel they 'owe' the publishers something. My first priority though is being honest to my readers, that way if I really like something, they know it! What cemented my feelings on posting a negative review was a post by BookNet Canada after a technology conference earlier this year.
Apparently, 75% to 80% of shoppers read online reviews. And, surprisingly, research has shown that “a negative review converts more effectively to a sale than a positive review.” This is because although customers like reading reviews but they don’t always agree with them. They read them for information more than opinion.I recently read a review from a fellow book blogger who hated a book which I loved. They saw the author create a world using gender roles which victimized a woman. I instead took that world as a given and focused on how the character reacted to being in such a position. Needless to say, our personalities play a big role in how we see the world...and books! We all have different views and I love being able to see them, not just the filtered (AKA good) ones.
I only post reviews for books I've read, so the rare book that I could not finish would not get a review at all. I feel this is fair as how can one write a review if they don't know the entire story. Last Friday, the NYT posted an article on fake reviews.
Mr. Pinch’s interviews with more than a hundred of Amazon’s highest-ranked reviewers found that only a few ever wrote anything critical. As one reviewer put it, “I prefer to praise the ones I love, not damn the ones I did not!”I was surprised to see people are paid for their positive opinion, but would this be a person you would trust to follow? Is this similar to only posting the good reviews on a blog, skewing the data so that you only see the positive? The negative, which does and should exist, gets thrown to the wayside... but should it?
The fact that just about all the top reviewers in his study said they got free books and other material from publishers and others soliciting good notices may have also had something to do with it.
Which leads me to another issue which Victoria Schwab brought to light. I have often wondered why books have ratings when the ARC's are not even available, heck I've even seen an author's work in progress, which hasn't even been sold to a publisher, rated! I am a frequent user of Goodreads.com and love seeing the ratings for books. When I'm in-store and see a good deal on a book, my first thought is "hmm, I wonder how it's rated on GR?" to see if it's worth buying or if it's on clearance for a reason. It really bothers me that people can ruin a rating based solely on their desire (or lack of) to read a book or worse because "ohhhh, the cover is so pretty!". Things like this make Goodreads ratings lose their integrity and, sadly, Goodreads is not seeing this as an issue. Please take a minute to see this post by Victoria where she talks about her Goodreads.com issue. I must say I love the idea of a separate interest level rating! The power of the people is strong, just look at what happened with Rick Yancey and his Monstrumologist series last week. Let's tell Goodreads what the readers want!! (**pumps fist**)
We can't be expected to love everything and let's face it, not everything published is good. So let's talk reviews...
Do you post reviews on books you didn't care for? If not, what holds you back? Do you think that bad reviews also generate interest in a book? Do Goodreads.com ratings matter to you?