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brainstorm77
06-19-2011, 07:27 PM
As a reader, do book reviews influence the books you buy?

Adam
06-19-2011, 07:31 PM
I use the average rating as a rough guide, but I'll always seek out a sample wherever possible first, even if it has 100 five star ratings.

firedrake
06-19-2011, 07:36 PM
No, they don't.

I buy a book because I'm interested/intrigued by the premise or because I like the author.

If I read reviews, I tend not to do that until after I've read the book.

Tracey Taylor
06-19-2011, 07:39 PM
Yes.

Not reviews on big sites like Amazon. I find those reviews to be easily manipulated either by friends of the author giving good reviews or by people who hate the author and give bad reviews without reading the book.

But I have smaller sites with people who review books for fun that I use when looking for something new to read. I find places with similar tastes to my own and I've learn to trust their judgment.

Ari Meermans
06-19-2011, 07:40 PM
Same as firedrake.

scarletpeaches
06-19-2011, 07:40 PM
I use the average rating as a rough guide, but I'll always seek out a sample wherever possible first, even if it has 100 five star ratings.Especially if it has 100 five-star ratings, because in such an instance you can guarantee the author has been pulling in friends and family to jack up the Goodreads average. I could name and shame authors from my own publishing houses who do exactly that.

Charles Farley
06-19-2011, 07:40 PM
Everybody has their own taste . . . I like to read for myself.

veinglory
06-19-2011, 07:49 PM
I may not even know a book exists unless I come across a review for it, so that can certainly influence a purchase.

whacko
06-19-2011, 07:51 PM
I could name and shame authors from my own publishing houses who do exactly that.

I dare you.

Actually, I don't. There's always been an incestuous relationship between a Good Review and the print media.

I thought everybody knew that.:evil

Regards

Whacko

bearilou
06-19-2011, 07:52 PM
Depending on the review, most of the time, no.

On the other hand, I will usually be more influenced to buy a book on a negative review than a positive one, when the reasons for being negative are spelled out.

mscelina
06-19-2011, 07:52 PM
Nope. Once I find an author I like, I ignore reviews. I buy books based on the jacket copy or, more rarely, because I know and like the author.

scarletpeaches
06-19-2011, 07:54 PM
I dare you.

Actually, I don't. There's always been an incestuous relationship between a Good Review and the print media.

I thought everybody knew that.:evil

Regards

WhackoJust about any author whose books get five-star ratings within 24 hours of release; does that help you?

gothicangel
06-19-2011, 08:01 PM
I may not even know a book exists unless I come across a review for it, so that can certainly influence a purchase.

This is how I normally find new authors.

whacko
06-19-2011, 08:12 PM
Just about any author whose books get five-star ratings within 24 hours of release; does that help you?

Not really. I'm one of those arseholes that needs a lecture before he can tell the woods from the trees.:D

And if I could spell seperate, or separate, the above sentence would include posterior region and elbow!

Regards

Whacko

Anna L.
06-19-2011, 08:12 PM
For new authors, I look at the negative reviews and see if they agree. If several people say the book is sexist, then I'm likely going to find it sexist too. That's a pass. Same for racism, homophobia, pointless sex scenes, etc etc. I know what I don't like.

brainstorm77
06-19-2011, 08:27 PM
It's great to see others opinions. I do sometimes. However, like someone else mentoned, I do not take Amazon reviews seriously or Goodreads. It's very easy for someone to just jack up or down a rating because they simply feel like doing so.

veinglory
06-19-2011, 08:32 PM
So, we are equating "book reviews" solely to amazon customer comments? Not, for example, publishers weekly, popular blogs, the NYT book review, RT mag etc etc?

Jersey Chick
06-19-2011, 08:45 PM
There's only one book I ever bought on the basis of a review alone, and that was The Alienist. Other than that, I read the cover copy. If it sounds interesting, and the first page doesn't bore me, I buy it.

kaitie
06-19-2011, 08:49 PM
If we're talking about a review in the New York Times or something like that, then yes, that's been known to get my attention. I first heard of Room because it got an awesome review somewhere, and now it's next on my to-be-read pile. Amazon reviews, not so much for books (appliances or products like that, yes). The only time I read them is when I'm already very iffy on a book or if I've heard something about a particular book and want to find out what the fuss is about (a character who dies, something like that). Oh, and I have been known to read the reviews for a particular author who's series has gone to crap because the reviews are more entertaining than the books now. And I even admit that the last one sounded so awful I was almost tempted to buy it just to see how bad it really was.

So if I read a good review somewhere that makes a book sound awesome I'll check it out, but I don't seek out reviews, and I don't read the ones on Amazon before buying most of the time.

Interestingly, the book I've despised most in my life is one I read not too long ago. Afterwards, I checked out the reviews. It had a four-star rating on Amazon, so even if I was checking them out I would no doubt have bought it. It just so happened that I thought all of the one-star reviews were spot on. I think that's the main reason I don't do it. My subjective opinion on a book isn't necessarily going to be the same as the subjective opinion of everyone else who read the book.

brainstorm77
06-19-2011, 08:50 PM
So, we are equating "book reviews" solely to amazon customer comments? Not, for example, publishers weekly, popular blogs, the NYT book review, RT mag etc etc?

Nope. When I asked that question, I meant all reviews. I follow many blog review sites(romance and erotica).

shaldna
06-19-2011, 09:01 PM
I usually go on the blurb, or the spoilers. i do look at the reviews, but they don't really have an influence. That said, if one of my friends tells me about a book I will listen to their opinions because they know what I like.

Carrie in PA
06-19-2011, 11:23 PM
I usually go on the blurb, or the spoilers. i do look at the reviews, but they don't really have an influence. That said, if one of my friends tells me about a book I will listen to their opinions because they know what I like.

^ That. The majority of reviews I read are on Amazon... mostly because that's where I buy most of my books. Same with movie reviews. I'll glance over them, but if the blurb or synopsis (or trailer) looks good, I'll give it a shot.

Polenth
06-20-2011, 12:01 AM
The main use of reviews for me is finding out the book exists at all. At that point, I'll go find the sample and blurb. This usually applies to reviews on blogs.

But I do use them sometimes when I'm on-the-fence about whether I'll like a book. This is usually because I'm suspicious it'll have elements I don't enjoy later in the story. In those cases, I'll use Amazon or Goodreads and focus on the low star reviews. Negative reviews often given a clearer picture about the book.

fourlittlebees
06-20-2011, 12:21 AM
Yes, but only the negative reviews. Generally, good reviews are meh in my mind, but I want to hear what the negative reviews say.

There was actually a book the other day where the blurb made it sound WAY more interesting than the actual plot (which, in my mind, wasn't even the same story as the blurb). It would have made my wishlist otherwise.

skylark
06-20-2011, 12:30 AM
I have bought books because of reviews.

The last time was Rachel Caine's Weather Wardens book 1, which I bought because Jim Butcher had said something glowing about it and I love his books.

shadowwalker
06-20-2011, 01:05 AM
I pay attention to reviews by people I know (on their blogs, for example). But I don't pay any attention to Amazon's or professional critics'. The pro movie reviewers very seldom like the movies I do, so why should I pay attention to book reviewers? But mainly I'm a browser - I browse the library and new and used bookstores, and then either buy at the store or online (if it's expensive).

ChaosTitan
06-20-2011, 01:51 AM
Sometimes, but only blogs I like (and whose opinions I tend to agree with), or from print media like Romantic Times. As a reader I don't pay attention to Amazon or BN.com reviews.

MJNL
06-20-2011, 02:09 AM
I've never read a book review before buying. But, personal recommendations do influence me. All books I've ever purchased either caught my eye on the shelf (physical or digital), or were recommended to me by someone whose tastes I share.

Xelebes
06-20-2011, 02:39 AM
I don't buy or browse books online, nor do I give 5 seconds to the Book Review pages in the Sunday paper. So no, not really. Commentary from my friends might bend my ear.

BenPanced
06-20-2011, 03:35 AM
I'm another who uses reviews to find out a book exists, and then I rely on the blurb and reading a sample. Even when the reviewer and I like the same book, it's hardly ever for the same reasons.

blacbird
06-20-2011, 04:34 AM
I can't remember the last time I read a book review. I find the books I read by browsing bookstores or libraries, and the cover blurbs may tilt the scale one way or the other. And word-of-mouth from people whose opinions on literary stuff I respect, have induced me to read certain books. Including the opinions of people here at AW.

scarletpeaches
06-20-2011, 04:37 AM
The last 'non-browsing' book I bought was on the recommendation of a Twitter buddy. I ended up loving it nearly as much as he does.

These Mean Streets
06-20-2011, 04:45 AM
Anymore, I never buy a book without reading an excerpt and checking to see what the general reaction is to a book. If I see a lot of reviews confirming my gut reaction, yeah, it definitely influences my buying decision.

In the past (like before the internet) I've bought too many books that sucked to not read reviews and give them some consideration if they tend to lean in one direction.

sunandshadow
06-20-2011, 06:09 AM
If a book review is the first time I've heard of a book, the summary will encourage (or not) me to investigate the book further. Otherwise no, reviews don't influence me.

jamiehall
06-20-2011, 06:16 AM
I buy a LOT more nonfiction than fiction, and the reviews are influential.

For fiction, less so, because I don't want to spoil the plot for myself.

KTC
06-20-2011, 06:50 AM
I would have said no before, but I've met some amazing reviewers on Twitter. The one guy blows me away every time. I've come to value his opinion.

seun
06-20-2011, 01:11 PM
If we're talking Amazon reviews, it's pretty easy to spot the reviews which are either way over the top or harsh because the reviewer has a problem. I look at the reviews which are well-written and obviously impartial, but in the end, I make up my own mind.

Margarita Skies
06-20-2011, 08:32 PM
I let the book influence me, not the reviews. You never know if the author has created multiple accounts to be able to post a whole bunch of 5-star reviews, and the negative reviews, well, those people didn't like the book, or sometimes they give it a one star because they hate the author and probably didn't even read or buy the book. I read a book from the first page to the last, and if I like it I read it again after a while, and if I don't, I read it again to try to find out why I didn't like it. I don't review books anymore. Other people might not like it as much as I did or even hate it, so in a few words, reviews don't matter to me at all because we never know if they are genuine.

scarletpeaches
06-20-2011, 08:49 PM
If reviews are just opinion, they're meaningless. However, if they're opinion with reasons, they can be quite valuable.

Soccer Mom
06-20-2011, 08:55 PM
I pay a lot of attention to reviews, especially if it's a reviewer whose taste I agree with. Often I can tell by a review if I might like the book, even if the reviewer didn't.

I look at Amazon reviews too. If a book has a bunch of low reviews, I'll scan them and see why. If people are rejecting a romance as "too rapey" then I know I probably won't like it. If they are rejecting because "the heroine is a ho and not a virgin" I ignore the low reviews because that won't bother me in the slightest.

So I rely a lot on reviews, second only to personal recommendations from friends.

Phaeal
06-20-2011, 10:01 PM
An interesting review will make me look for a book in the store, but only my own review of the first chapter or so will entice me to buy it.