Paper & Ink

How important are book reviews?

Evaluation of work and the critique of the same is one of the essential components of the production cycle of literature. Since it is a well-known fact that books help in transferring literature and information, book reviewing is an essential constituent of literary progress. With writing becoming the cash cow for every other individual, the race of getting your book included in the list of ‘bestsellers’ is on. And it is this reason which has enabled the art of book reviewing become crucial.

What is the latest book that you have read? Was it recently bought or long time back? Did you like the book? Did you give your review about the same? I bet nine out of ten times the answer to the last question is a big no. It is the general human tendency to showcase the negative feedback/ criticism on social media than to praise what is good. It is more like too many chiefs, not enough Indians. There is so much criticism but seldom is any positive feedback seen.

The business of book reviewing has almost cornered the market and there are many reasons why this has happened:

1. There are different strokes for different folks and the reviews can help the reader decide what to add and what not to add to the reading shelf

2. Online shopping is one such thing that causes a stir. Nowadays people prefer everything online, right from shopping, selecting, and studying to payments, bookings and what not! This is the reason why the publishing companies offer more widespread online distribution as compared to the offline market. Gone are the days when people used to spend at least an hour in a library or a bookstore. Hence, if the purchasing has to be done online, it is important to get as many reviews as possible

3. Advertisements are important. They are the medium that helps name, fame and opulence fall into your lap. But they come with a price. None of the advertisement companies agrees to sell your ad unless there is a certain count of positive reviews on the retailer site

4. The more the number of reviews, the more likely it becomes for the book to be listed among the top choices or the top few suggested reads

5. Word of mouth can help in transforming a book from being arcane to being the bestseller

6. The readers might not always know about all the books and here the role of retail sites comes into play. The section on Amazon, ‘you might also enjoy’ or ‘other features in this category’ contains the list of books that have higher sales or higher number of reviews. Both ways the sale graph of the book goes higher.


So, yes, it is true that book reviews impact the book sales and that too more than any promotional activity or sponsors. People like to follow the lead. And in this case, the lead of a good book invites a larger number of copies to be printed and ensures the overall success of the author.

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