Last week I was having lunch with the associate publisher of a major publishing house who was a bit late because he had to deal with the following situation: One of his authors had sent him a draft of a letter her husband, a lawyer, was going to send to Amazon threatening a lawsuit if they didn’t take down a negative Publisher’s Weekly review of her book.
My lunch companion managed to stop this from happening, at least for the time being. But it got me to thinking that in this age of blogging (and the internet in general), how important are reviews from the traditional consumer and trade outlets? I went online and found many, many websites and blogs that are set up specifically to “review” and recommend certain categories of books.
There is no doubt in my mind that book reviews do influence what people buy. But it seems to me that more and more readers want to know what their peers think, rather than reading the opinion of a bestselling author or an academic who might be considered more “qualified” to review a certain title.
I really believe consumers are relying less and less on the traditional review outlets, trade magazines like Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist and Kirkus (if it survives) and major market newspapers, many of which have closed their book sections–and are going to those blogs and websites established solely to review books.
I would love to know if you agree.