What’s in it for the reader, author and reviewer

What is a book review

A book review is an unbiased, critical analysis of a book focusing on the style, theme, strengths and weaknesses of the book, criticizing the content and not the author and also not giving away the whole story (or content) of the book.

Book reviews are meant to help you find the right book that can find answers to your seeking (be it joy, knowledge, curiosity or truth). It also helps as a bridge between authors and readers without compromising on each other’s purposes.

The need for a book review

What’s the need for a book review you may ask when there is the choice of reading the blurb or few pages into the book if you are buying offline or checking out author’s or publisher’s talks as part of a promotion? To answer in short, blurbs and promotional talks are carefully curated to impress you.

Now take a look at these two situations:

Situation 1: Have you ever grabbed a book just by one look at its enticing cover and one read of its cleverly written blurb only to regret the buy? I have done that and all I wished was then was to have had/read an honest book review of the poetry book earlier.

Nevertheless, the poetry book actually served the purpose of inspiring me in an unexpected way because it’s only upon reading few pages into that book that my husband said I write much better and that I consider writing poetry seriously.

Situation 2: If you are a parent buying book for your kid and you read the blurb, carefully scan the contents on the index page and also glance through few pages of the book only to end up with your kid pointing out inappropriate content with awkward questions after the buy, won’t you feel upset? Well, I have been there.

The blurbs and promotions won’t tell you much about the settings, the sentiments that run through the book, the feelings that the book may evoke or if there is any content that may be right as per the context but seem inappropriate for a kid to see it out of the context.

It’s to avoid such regrets and embarrassments that one needs honest book reviews.

Also with over a million books published every year and the number just growing exponentially, it becomes difficult for a reader to find the right book just like it’s difficult for an author to reach the right audience. This is where book reviewers come to play.

Book reviewers bridge the gap between an author and a reader.

What’s in a book review for a reader

  1. As a reader, a book review can help to understand the theme, settings and style of writing to know if it’s something of your interest.
  2. It helps you understand the age appropriateness of the content, especially in children’s literature it’s a key deciding factor.
  3. A good review can help you explore new genres which otherwise you might not have picked up.
  4. When it comes to books of debut author’s a book review can be the key deciding factor.
  5. An honest book review can save you from buying a wrong one.

What’s in a book review for an author

  1. It helps in reaching your book to the right audience.
  2. A good book review helps in bringing greater visibility to the book.
  3. Reviews help open up discussions around the book, thereby helping authors to identify the pulse of the audience.
  4. It also helps authors get an idea to what write next.
  5. An honest review even helps the author identify the weakness in the plot/writing and come up better next time.

What’s in a book review for a reviewer

  1. To be able to analyze a book critically and share a review gives the pleasure of revisiting the content/story again.
  2. For a reviewer, it helps as an aid to hold on to key aspects of the book for a longer period of time.
  3. It helps a reviewer explore new genres and also be open to new ideas.
  4. Over time, with reviewing, it helps the reviewer to view their own work with critical lens.
  5. If the reviewer has a good track record for honest and critical reviews, he/she/they get books for free (for reviewing) and also get the chances to be paid too in exchange of a genuine review.

Concluding Notes

With an ocean of books available online and offline, book reviews have the potential to make or break a deal. As much as it’s important to have book reviews, it’s also important on a reviewer’s part to keep it honest.

Let me know your experience with book reviews or book reviewing!

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.


Picture of the author.

Hi, I’m Seethalakshmi (aka) Preethi, a Poetpreneur who can help you find solace in reading, writing and/or gifting poetry. Drop an email at promisingpoetry5@gmail.com to get a customised poetry gift or to get honest feedback for your poetry.

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