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View Full Version : Differences between Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly reviews



Debeucci
10-30-2013, 08:30 AM
What are the main differences between the professional reviewing publications?

For example, I know Kirkus doesn't review Mass market paperback (why not?) and that Booklist is from the ALA.

Other than that, are there differences in the way they review or what they represent, or do they just all overlap? Do one tend to review a genre over another, or do more YA over adult? etc... Is one more prestigious than another? Are some known for certain traits?

Just curious.

How does a starred review affect the sales of a book? I know a lot of it is subjective but I've always wondered if the ROI for paying for a professional review is worth it. It's not cheap after all.

Thanks

eqb
10-30-2013, 02:10 PM
Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus don't charge for reviews. There is a "paid for" review option available from Kirkus, but that's not a review that counts anywhere, imo.

Your publisher should be taking care of this for you, though.

Girl Friday
10-30-2013, 07:30 PM
I never understand why the Kirkus reviews are so prestigious, I think they're terrible. Two paragraphs of synopsis and a line or two of actual review.

Filigree
10-30-2013, 09:26 PM
Assigned value. Kirkus has status because publishers, readers, and authors have given it that authority over the years, for better or worse. I agree that the reviews could have more actual *meat* in them than regurgitated jacket copy.

eqb
10-30-2013, 09:52 PM
PW seems to give more detailed reviews. Same with Library Journal and Booklist.

Filigree
10-30-2013, 11:17 PM
At least in my genres (fantasy and romance) Booklist and Library Journal seem to have more useful reviews. Of course, I haven't followed Kirkus for science fiction and fantasy reviews for years, so this is probably just my bias speaking.

eqb
10-30-2013, 11:35 PM
The main thing to take away is that the author does not pay for these reviews.

Perhaps the OP misread the Kirkus site and mis-extrapolated from there, but it's the publisher's responsibility to send ARCs to the major review publications, and they do that three to six months before the book's release date.

Debeucci
10-30-2013, 11:58 PM
Hi,

I'm aware that the author does not pay for reviews. That doesn't mean that there isn't a cost associated with having it reviewed. My main question is what the differences were between the major review publications and how they impact the sales and market of a book as opposed to dozens of respected larger genre review sites.

I wonder if there are metrics that show the difference in book sales for a trade pub reviewed book as opposed to one not reviewed by any of the trade pubs, or say a starred review in library sales over one that isn't starred...etc...obviously would have to be aggregated to an extent.

Thanks.

eqb
10-31-2013, 12:21 AM
I'm aware that the author does not pay for reviews. That doesn't mean that there isn't a cost associated with having it reviewed.

What cost? Your publisher doesn't pay for those reviews either. (Other than paying to print the ARC and mail it.)

Debeucci
10-31-2013, 12:52 AM
Ok, fine. There is zero financial cost to a trade publication review for a publisher. I misspoke and was just trying to not create separate publisher/self publishing categories in the discussion.

I honestly don't care about that portion of the topic and wanted to focus on the organizations.

RedWombat
10-31-2013, 01:26 AM
Honestly, this is the sort of thing it's really hard to do a double-blind study for--it's not like you can have the identical book come out twice and it's reviewed once and not the other times. Did this book tank because it didn't get a review, or because it didn't get placement on the front tower, or were kids out of school on a long weekend the week of release and parents took them to the bookstore just to try to wear them down and picked up a copy while they were there? (Heck, I had a friend just miss the bestseller list because her release weekend came opposite Hurricane Sandy, meaning that the warehouses didn't ship over a sizeable area for quite awhile and certainly nobody was buying books. There are factors that nobody can control for, and it's really hard to say what a review is worth.)

Kirkus is known for being harsher than the others--whether this is true or not, I do not know, but getting a good review from Kirkus as opposed to a mere synopsis (or worse, synopsis-with-savaging) will make some editors and agents very happy.

I've known people who say that a Kirkus starred review makes them sit up and take notice--I've also known people for whom such things came out too late to affect their institution's ordering policy.

(Tangentially, School Library Journal, which reviews children's books specifically, tries to put out reviews and awards VERY early because of the long lead time on library orders for the school year.)

So how's that for an unhelpful answer?

James D. Macdonald
10-31-2013, 02:14 AM
Some libraries can only buy books that have been reviewed in LJ. Others can only buy books with starred reviews in LJ.

Other markets may use various of the review mags in the same way.

Debeucci
10-31-2013, 02:16 AM
Thanks for the information, fellas.

What about Booklist and Publisher's Weekly? Wait, I thought Booklist was the American Library Association. What's the difference then between them and LJ?

Thanks again.

GingerGunlock
10-31-2013, 02:56 AM
Some libraries can only buy books that have been reviewed in LJ. Others can only buy books with starred reviews in LJ.

Other markets may use various of the review mags in the same way.


Library Journal reviews (and Publisher's Weekly) are what my prior boss based her purchases on for the library. New boss is giving a little more latitude, but still, LJ and PW are what we're looking at (and Kirkus, though personally, I find it far less pleasurable to browse).