Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Problem With Reviews

In the current system, just before a book's release date, an author or a publisher will send out review copies of a book, hoping to generate buzz. They want the book to sell well, from day one. Bloggers across the Internet post a review on their site and their readers, the author hopes, will go out and buy the book.

The problem that I see with this is that people who read don't time their purchases around when a publisher releases a book. A few authors may have fans anxiously waiting for the next release, but most authors don't. People who read a lot may go ahead and purchase the book, knowing they will get to it eventually, but many won't buy a book until they are ready to read it. That may be weeks, months or years after the release date.

I see so many reviews that I mostly ignore them. I happened to scroll through the reviews at novelreviews.blogspot.com. Most of what I saw didn't interest me, but I noticed a review of My Heart Remembers, from fifteen days ago. There it sat, at the bottom of the page, ready to disappear. I don't know if I will read the book, but the premise looks promising. It is similar to that of a book I read several years ago. It is about a young woman looking for her siblings.

It that book doesn't sell well, in a few days, it will disappear from view, replaced by the latest romance novel or chick lit novel or some other novel that I know I won't read. Once that happens, there really is no good way to find this book or books similar to it. There is no way for me to search for a story about a woman searching for her family, so in a couple of weeks, we may discover that the only books we hear about are those about Jack and Jill falling in love or Jane not being able to find the perfect shoes.