The Review Debate Continues…

by | Aug 29, 2012 | Book Marketing Basics

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Much is being written after the New York Time article this weekend on (paid) reviews (see it here), now Galley Cat has shared this graph for reading the Amazon reviews:


What do you think about paid vs. non-paid reviews? The issue has been around for a while. Initially nearly every publishing person said that paid reviews were unethical, but with the extent of books published are paid reviews going to be a “must”? Let us know what you think!



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  1. Shirley Ford

    If you are being paid for a review perhaps you might not be so honest in your comments, as in ‘I am being paid, I had better say something nice or I won’t get any more work.’ Also I have read that well known authors have a group of paid reviewers set up before the book even hits the shelves, so how honest is that? Unpaid works best in my opinion.

  2. Ruth Ann Hixson

    I am a freelance reviewer and do reviews for BookPleasures. My only pay is a free book: paper & ink or ebook. I do not do bad reviews. If a book isn’t up to my standards, I do not write a review. In my opinion, paid reviews are unethical. To whom is the reviewer loyal? The readers who will read the book or the person who paid for the review? As an author and a reviewer, I do not think paid reviews are the answer.Especially, since there are ways to get an unpaid review.

  3. Penny

    Hey Ruth Ann, great comment and thanks for chiming in. This is not pro or con against paid reviews, but some (paid) reviewers I’ve spoken to say that getting a small amount from the author, shows they are serious about their book and it prevents getting an avalanche of submissions.

    Also, do you think we’ll run short of legitimate reviewers with all the books being published these days? I’d love your thoughts on this.

    We love BookPleasures by the way!

  4. Sally Jenkins

    I think the way to combat paid reviews and give a broader opinion of the merits (or otherwise) of a book, is for all of us readers to become more active in reviewing books on Amazon and elsewhere. It only takes a few minutes to say what you thought of a book – so why not start now? If we all do it, it will dilute the impact of any paid reviews.

    • Paula


      That makes a lot of sense for regular readers to make the time to review books on Amazon and elsewhere. I’ve tried to step up on Goodreads, where I’m most active. Authors deserve reviews from people who’ve taken the time to read and then think about their books.

  5. Delin Colón

    It does seem like a conflict of interests to pay for a review. There are SO many free reviewers out there! Truthfully, I refuse to pay for a review (other than the cost of sending my book to a reviewer).

    I think it’s a far-fetched rationalization to say that paying a reviewer shows that the author is serious about their book. I think the hours, days, months and, sometimes, years, that an author spends writing the book and doing research, shows that the author is quite serious. I’m gravely serious about my book, yet I’d be insulted if anyone suggested I wasn’t, simply because I hadn’t paid for my reviews. In fact, I think it shows much greater ‘seriousness’ to take the time and effort to hunt down and query potential reviewers, than to spend a few minutes entering a credit card number on a form.

    The truth of it is the second stated reason paid reviewers give for charging money: “it prevents getting an avalanche of submissions.” (Plus, it makes them money)

    I worked very hard at garnering reviews from reputable and known (and free) reviewers. They knew I was serious about my book without asking for any money to prove it.

    PS – I’m deeply grateful to BookPleasures and to the reviewers who were interested enough to request a copy of my work. And you can be sure they do it for the love of books and literature – because they don’t charge.

    • Paula


      You’ll also benefit from all the outreach you did to those reviewers – those are invaluable contacts to have! By the way, your book looks fascinating – I will be sure to post a review after I read it.

  6. Mary Jane Hurley Brant

    I’m with Ruth Ann Hixson. Those bad reviews that people write seem so assaultive.

  7. Penny

    Hey Sally, I love, love this — yes, it’s a great idea to encourage all of us avid readers to please review the books we read. As authors we know what a big struggle it can be to get reviews. If everyone who read a book took 2 minutes to post a quick review on Amazon, imagine how grateful these authors would be?



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