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Topic: Do You Avoid Writing Bad Reviews?

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Subject: Do You Avoid Writing Bad Reviews?
Date Posted: 9/19/2008 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
Posts: 1,046
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Just curious because i've had a couple books lately i wasn't really excited about, but i wonder if writing a less than stellar review would put people off of ordering them. One is actually unpostable so it's a moot point since it'd be a freebie with order, but i wondered what others thought or did about books themselves. And the same book HAS a couple not-so-great reviews already, but i guess people's perspective are all different, so perhaps it doesn't really matter.

So another question... if you do check out the book reviews before you order (and i know a lot of people don't) does a bad review or two put you off of ordering a book for awhile, or do you take a gamble and order anyhow? There have been a couple of books i thought about ordering, mostly on deals in the BB, and i didn't order them because the reviews were kind of split down the middle. I don't have a ton of credits and i recently added some WL books, and you just never know when one of those will pop up. I'm trying to get through some of my TBR pile before ordering any more, which can be difficult, at best. =)

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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I write just what I think about the book. If I liked it, I liked it... if I didn't, I didn't. I've not seen any kind of impact on how quickly a book is ordered from be by the reviews on it. I'm sure that many people use them as a guide, but determine whether the overall style/content of the book might be interesting. There's a reson for all the different genres and success of various authors. It's because there are so many varying tastes out there! :)

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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I've thought about that too!  I have been hesitant to write bad reviews of books on my shelf because I know that for myself, reviews make all the difference in whether I order a book.  So, yes, for me, a bad review would put me off a book.  Although I guess it also depends on how many bad reviews there are vs. postive reviews, like, if there is one bad and 15 good, I'd still be likely to order it.

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 1:15 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2008
Posts: 242
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i write what i think of the book, if it sucked then i say so. :-) its just a matter of opinion.....

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2008
Posts: 1,050
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I hardly ever pay attention to the review. I find them helpful, but if I want the book I will order it anyway. I worried about the same thing with the rating system, but the book I rated with half a star was the first one out the door!

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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I don't put much stock in reviews. I will ask questions on genre specific forums about certain authors, etc. I like to make up my own mind and realize every one has different opinions.


Me--I coudln't get into Marsha Canham. I recognize she's a great author, but her books just didn't grab me when I went to read them. Luckily they were all snatched up pretty quickly and I know that if I want to try her again, I can always order from here. I didn't write bad reviews though. I just recognized the books weren't for me.

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2005
Posts: 210
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Well I just posted what I feel is a critical review of L.L. Foster's newest book "Servant: The Acceptance".

Someone had it on their WL and ordered it from me just today. I think bad reviews can sway a persons desire for a book if it is an author they are unfamiliar with, but if it is an author they like, they'll probably get it anyways and form their own judgement.

I like Lori Foster so decided despite the lukewarm reviews to get this latest book by her, I didn't love it but I do like her characters so was able to muddle through the over-the-top vocabulary used.

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 6/9/10 3:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/19/2008 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I read reviews on most books, but I keep in mind that everyone is different and what one person likes another won't. for instance, I have a thing about books written in first person.   I know that isn't the case for most people, so I take that into account when writing a review and reading a review.  I really like someone to say why they liked a book or why they didn't.  Just saying "I liked it" or "I didn't like it" tells me nothing since I don't know what the reviewer values if they don't write that.   I think knowing the critical parts about a book is good information.  I just got through reading a review by someone who said "I got really angry reading this book and now just thinking about it to write a reivew is making angry all over again."  (This was the gist of what they said - but they did specify angry on both counts."  Turns out the reviewer was angry that the main character had to do all the changes in a marriage and got no respect for having done so.  So the reviewer is so angry that after reading the few first books in the series - this one made her/him so angry they aren't going to read the next ones.  I don't know how well or badly the story was, or how well/badly the characters were conceived....etc.  I only know the reviewer is mad.  This "bad" review wouldn't affect me if I were interested in the book, the series , or the author.  I don't want a synopsis of the story - I want to know if it is a "good ride", if the storyline is strong, and if the threads in the story tied up well or poorly in the conclusion.  Is the world the story takes place in well -desribed...does it come alive in the readers' minds? 

Having the book on my bookshelf doesn't prevent me from writing a critical review because what I dislike someone else might like.


Date Posted: 9/19/2008 5:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 285
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I find reviews helpful, so when I finish a book, I write an honest review of it.  Obviously, people will know that the review is just my opinion of the book, not absolute fact.  =)  I don't worry too much about a negative review turning someone off to a book, because everyone's tastes are different.  If I hated it, someone else may love it.  When I'm looking at ordering a book, I read reviews more to get an idea of what to expect  and other people's opinions, but if I want to try it, I'm going to order it anyway.  The only time a review will turn me off to a book is if it mentions that the book has some themes or subject content that I'm not interested in or comfortable with reading. 

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
Posts: 5,638
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Last Edited on: 2/21/10 3:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/19/2008 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 3,326
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I'm about half way through a book that I ordered based on the description. I didn't see the review page until later, and the only review that didn't just quote the back cover was pretty negative.  It's a good thing I didn't see the review before ordering, because the reviewer said they didn't finish it, and so far I'm just loving this book. Very unique and different type of story.

But you're right, I tend to make neutral comments when I review a book I didn't particularly like. I don't want to bias anyone, but I won't say I loved it if I didn't. I rarely hate a book, but I wouldn't write a review saying I hated it, either.

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 9/19/2008 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,094
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 I write what I honestly think of a book.  I've written some raving reviews and I've bashed some of my favorite authors for writing a stinker, too.  I do read reviews.  If it's a book I really want to read, I'll order it anyway, but if it's a book I'm not quite sure about, if there are more than 50% of bad reviews, I probably will save myself a credit and not order it.

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,742
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If a book really sucks, then I probably don't finish it, in which case I don't review it.  If I finish it and think it's a stinker, then I write a review that says it stinks.  People will order it or they won't....if it sits on my shelf too long, I'll trade it in at the used book store.

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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I try to say what I like or dislike about the book and give enough details to help a reader decide if a book is for them. I also talk about whether the author did a good job with characterization, plotting, pacing, realism and so forth. I am an English teacher by training, so I like to talk about English teacher type thngs. But I also address plain old emotional response and general matters of personal taste and personal preference as well.  For example, lots of people loved The Time Traveler's Wife, but I had some real problems with it. The author had a creative idea, and the book was very intriguing. I wanted to like it, but I was turned off by the sexual content and the sense that the main character was stalking his wife through time (even when she was a child) so it was more creepy than romantic.  I like reviews that are open about the book, but even some negative ones won't turn me away. I love cozies and I've read a few reviews that slam some authors for their triteness or the unrealistic resolution of the mystery. But I can deal with that. Truthfully, there are days when I just want some mindless brain candy, so I go for them, even if the reviews say the books stink. (And sometimes, stubborn cuss that I am, I want to read the ones that got the bad reviews just to prove the reviewer wrong! HA!)

Date Posted: 9/21/2008 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
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A lot of the time, it's what I don't like about a book that spurs me on to writing a review, but looking at what I've posted, I'd characterize many of them "mixed to positive."

I like to read reviews when I'm thinking of ordering an unfamiliar book, and often check the reviews at Amazon, too. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. A case in point, a book called "Tending Roses" has a slew of very positive reviews that swayed my decision to order it. But I didn't care for it, and my review reflects that.


Last Edited on: 9/21/08 7:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/21/2008 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,984
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You know, I've wondered at times if many folks read these reviews.  I am always honest, esp. with audios as the reader really makes or breaks a book.  I have written how horrible I thought books were, only to have them ordered faster than those I had just posted with good reviews!

Date Posted: 9/21/2008 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2008
Posts: 36
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Funny topic!   One book on my bookshelf I'm reluctant to review lest I start foaming at the mouth.  It's terrible!  But another book on my shelf I happily gave a less-than-stellar review.  I think the reason I reviewed that one was because I could articulate what turned me off about it.  The terrible one, I'm unwilling to take the time to figure out what makes it so infuriating to me. 

Date Posted: 9/21/2008 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 376
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I may look at the reviews but I have no clue whether I'm ordering the book from someone who wrote a review, negative or positive. Unless I'm doing a deal, I order from the FIFO list and don't have any idea what the person offering the book thought.

However - I do assume whoever is offering the book may not have LOVED it because they are giving it away. I keep the books I love!! I only post the books I never plan to read again. Write whatever you want about the book, I'll never know it was you anyway!

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I rarely write reviews anymore, period. Mostly because I don't read them so I figure why would anyone want to read mine? LOL BUT...when I do write them, I write them honestly. If i didn't like a book, I say so, I don't care if it sits on my shelf for a year. It's only one person's opinion, after all--doesn't mean someone else isn't going to enjoy it! Different strokes for different folks and all that. Some of the books I disliked the most have 200 people wishing for them, so I'm really not worried about someone reading my review and declining. LOL

Mostly if I don't like a book, though, I stop reading it, and then I don't feel like I can objectively review it since I never finished.


Date Posted: 9/22/2008 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,287
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I usually write a review of a book no matter what. 

Most people understand it is just an opinion so that they need to consider that.  I have found bad reviews for books I absolutely LOVED and great reviews for books I hated or couldn't even finish.  Go figure?  It is all a matter of taste.

I do read the reviews that other people have posted.  But, if it is a book I really, really want I will order it no matter what the reviews say.  After all, I might enjoy it.