Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paying for Reviews

Apparently you can get as many positive reviews for your books as you want.  Provided you're prepared to buy them in lots, of course. At least according to this story in the New York Times.  I consider services like this to be about on the same level as those that sell term papers.  And since I commit dayjobbery in academia, you can probably guess where that level is.  Somewhere beneath pond scum.

I want to state for the record that I have never accepted payment for any review.  I have received free books for review, but that's an accepted practice.  Most of the reviews I post here are positive.  That's because I have a good idea of what I like and tend to pick books that I'm predisposed to enjoy.  Some bloggers seem to take great pride in tearing a book apart.  That's not my intention.  Usually if I can't find some positive things to say about a book or story, I probably won't review it.  That's a personal choice I make.

Which is not to say I won't write a negative review.  I've written a few, but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  As I said, I have a good idea what I like and tend to choose things for review I think I'll enjoy.

The difference between anonymous product reviews and reviews on blogs such as this one is that with a blog, the readers can comment, take part in discussions, and develop relationships with the reviewer.  This allows a degree of trust to form over time.  Even when the reader doesn't agree with the reviewer, the relationship can be beneficial.  There are certain reviewers who help me select reading material by the fact that we are so opposite.  If they love a book, I know it's one I probably want to avoid, and vice-versa.  Hopefully, the reviews I post here will be helpful, whether to point you to books/stories/films you might like or to warn you away.

From what I can tell, there's been an increased interest in reviewing on the internet over the last month or so, an increase that just spiked with the Times story.  I wanted to toss my two cents in.  I may visit this topic again when my schedule settles down and the semester is fully underway.


  1. Speaking of reviews, did you see I published another story on Kindle! ;) I'm kidding (although I did publish a story).

    It would never have occured to me to pay for reviews before this whole thing came out. It just boggles my mind the things people will do for selfish reasons.

    1. Yes, I did. I downloaded it earlier today and am going to try to read it while I take a quick late lunch. I'm still playing catch up from the move, or I would have already had a review up.

      It wouldn't have occurred to me, either. Every time I think I've heard of all the ways people can be dishonest, someone comes up with another.

  2. I've known you could pay to have a book reviewed at a few "reputable" sites for awhile now.
    A. I would not be willing to pay for such a review
    B. I couldn't feel good about myself touting such a thing
    C. I know, that soon enough nobody is going to give a damn about such reviewers and they will lose their clout

    It's one of those things like Vanity Publishers that I am amazed are still in business. There must just be that many shifty people still around to prey upon how many naive there are.

    1. I guess I've not visited the right sites, because this was news to me. I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose.

      And the quote (probably wrongfully) attributed to P. T. Barnum is still true today: "There's a sucker born every minute."

    2. Yeah, I had heard about Kirkus doing that awhile ago, all it made me think was I couldn't trust their reviews. I virtually ignore all reviews on the web now except for friends I trust, like you.