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Frequent Contributor
WONK
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎09-06-2012
0 Kudos

The bad and good about reviews

I find the quality of book reviews is all over the place.  Many are good to okay but there seem to be an increasing number of just bad reviews.  There is an increasing recognition of the problem but no one seems to have a significant answer. 

 

Here is a short list of examples about bad reviews.  A detective story about a pedophile being tracked and caught is reviewed as if the author was promoting pedophilia.  A book written in one genre reviewed as being in another.  A simplified example here would be a suspense book reviewed as if it were a straight romance.  Finally the trash the author reviewer.

 

I focus on looking at reviews from professional review sites because those reviews have guidelines on reviewing.  For example:  Place the book in the correct niche genre and review it as such.  Limit direct storyline details to the first few chapters and blurb.  Don't limit yourself to just personal likes add in how the general public might consider the story.  Point out flaws but also point of what was done right.  Never make personal comments about the author...

 

My only idea about the massive lack of quality in reviews is a ranking system on the reviews themselves where readers can check off a set of book review standards to rank the qualtiy of the review and then place the review near the top of the list if it follows standards or if it doesn't put it in last place.

 

Does anyone else have an idea about reviews?

Runo singer and curmudgeon
Sirvio's Keep
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Distinguished Bibliophile
RHWright
Posts: 1,617
Registered: ‎10-21-2009

Re: The bad and good about reviews

The B&N review system has been dysfunctional for some time. I do all my reviewing over on goodreads or on my blog & get most of my recommendations from goodreads.
Frequent Contributor
WONK
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎09-06-2012

Re: The bad and good about reviews

Goodreads can be bad as well.  At my Delphi forum, I have posted an article about a number of the problems at Goodreads such as trolls directly attacking an author.  I have personally found a number of reviews at Goodreads where the reviewer was reviewing a book in one genre as if it belonged to another.  If someone accidently picks up a book in a genre they don't enjoy, they shouldn't attack the book but the genre.

 

The reading public seldom knows about the depth and variety of genres.  For example: There is a fun niche in SF that is beyond most people tastes -- erotic SF.  This genre can really go deep into the depths of humanity.  For example -- 'Season of the Witch' is considered the first popular example in this genre.  A drug addicted rack is convicted of murder rape and is given a life sentence but that life sentence means his mind is removed from his body and placed into a woman who suffered brain death.  The story is depends on the conflict in the mind of the male rapist now existing in a female body.  It is easy to see how this story could be blasted as bad by someone who accidently picks up the book because the graphic sex and murder are key to the psychological story.  The most frequent bad reviews that I have seen have been with the cozy style mysteries.  Contemporary readers insist on reviewing them as action detective mysteries and ignore that the point of a cozy isn't the action but to add the setting of the story in as part of the narration and plot.

 

There are a few alternatives.  There are sites that post reading lists from other authors.  Since the authors have a stake in quality reviews, these reading lists are usually well balanced.  I use Midwest Book Review, which is a professional review site that has hundreds of new titles reviewed every month.  It specializes in books that are passed over by the other professional sites such as the New York Times.  MBR is arguably the best professional review site today.  P&E lists it at the top.

 

There seems to be one main problem with public review sites and that is monitoring the reviews.  There is always that 5% of the public that likes to destroy and whenever a public review site gets to a certain size the lack of monitoring lets those 5% dominate the converstations and reviews.

Runo singer and curmudgeon
Sirvio's Keep
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio
Keep's Books and Tales
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio/content.html
Book reviews
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio/reviews.html
Gorden's bookshelf
www.midwestbookreview.com
Taconite Runes
http://TaconiteRunes.com
Pulp Writing
http://forums.delphiforums.com/pulpwriting/messages