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Should Readers Always Rely On Book Reviews?

By Author: Tanisha Williams
Total Articles: 12

Technological advances have made the tedious process of publishing a book convenient, fast, and easy. This ultimately provides readers with a larger and more interesting selection of ebooks online. The challenge is, with so many choices, how can readers determine which titles are the best to select? With so many ebooks online, it can be especially hard. For this reason, readers are usually forced to rely on consumer reviews. However, if you’re a reader, you must BEWARE…reviews can be posted by anyone, anywhere and at any time, so you can't always use a review as your most reliable source of information pertaining to the book. Here are a few things to look out for…

While the majority of book reviews are genuine and well-intended, anyone who has ever visited a review site knows that they can also be unreliable and dishonest. Some reviewers post reviews intended to damage the reputation of a competitor. For instance, an author competing in the same genre can visit a review site and put a negative spin on their competitor’s book. In their wicked little minds, this maliciousness will allow them to gain more customers for a book they have written themselves.

Manipulation is another thing readers should be aware of when viewing a book review site for ebooks online. There are a few tricks authors can use in order to get their book onto a bestseller list such as Amazon. For instance, if an author buys and downloads their own book to their Kindle multiple times, and encourages friends and family to do the same, the book will be rated higher on the bestseller list. Authors (their friends and family) can then write customer reviews for their book a variety of times to increase the book’s rankings on Amazon’s bestseller and recommendation lists. Manipulations such as these can skew a reader’s perception of a book.

The ability for reviewers to remain anonymous is another reason not to solely rely on reviews as the main source when choosing ebooks online. In general, some review sites allow users to post anonymously and use pen names as opposed to their real names. To make matters worse, these same sites often having lenient rules to what can or can’t be posted. So an envious competitor or a disgruntled reader can post a one star review without being held accountable. Of course readers have every right to express any negative feelings they may have about a book. However, anonymity can sometimes breed malice, and this doesn't always serve in the best interest of the author.

Many book reviews are not reliable. By having a skeptical eye when you read excessively negative posts or overly enthusiastic reviews about a book, you can use your own good judgment to decide whether the review is reliable. Remember that most reviews are based on opinion. However, while a reviewer’s opinion is important, readers should rely mostly on the reviews that give some useful information in relation to both the story and the writing style. Doing this can increase the change of making the best decision when buying ebooks online.

Tanisha Williams is the author of two non-profit e-books “501c3 In 12-Steps” and “Simple Internal Controls That Protect Your Assets”. Her desire for more interaction with readers was the key inspiration behind the development of her latest business venture ChatEbooks. ChatEbooks, launched in October 2014, harnesses the strengths of social media in order to help authors and their readers engage and connect within the context of the selling/reading experience.

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