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Topic: Unhelpful book reviews

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Subject: Unhelpful book reviews
Date Posted: 11/30/2012 8:47 AM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
Posts: 473
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Frequently, book synopsis are posted as "reviews." Why?! Take this example...

Not a review, because I haven't read it, but from the back of the book:

"A witty cultural and culinary education, Immoveable Feast is the charming, funny and improbable tale...

It also happends on sites other than PBS. And yep, it's a pet peeve of mine. Is there somesort of logic for doing this? It strikes me as lazy to copy and paste the book's description... but then if it's laziness, why even post at all? Perhaps the description is posted in the reviews because someone does not know where or how to edit  the book's data page? It has me stumped.

Last Edited on: 11/30/12 8:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/30/2012 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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In the past, there was no way to add book descriptions to the book's data page on PBS.

Date Posted: 11/30/2012 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,399
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Sophia - how long ago was that?  I've been a member since 2007 and I think we've been able to post a book description in all that time.  (I could be wrong here, but I know I've always been able to post a book description when I wanted to).  Like the OP I have a peeve about posting the book description as a book review, and seldom post reviews because I'm not very good at it.  Pat

Date Posted: 11/30/2012 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2007
Posts: 17,400
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Pat, it was during the early PBS days of 2004-2005.

Date Posted: 11/30/2012 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 694
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I can live with that.  What bugs me is the reviews on Amazon that say something like, "This book arrived quickly in good condition.

Date Posted: 11/30/2012 2:56 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 4,679
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On PBS, I think people think a review will get their book requested faster. I've seen some that state the condition of their book as well so they don't understand how PBS works FIFO and that books must meet minimal conditions.

As to the Amazon reviews, they meant to rate the seller not the book.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 11/30/2012 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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I hate that when someone gives the book a low rating because it came late or was damaged. People can really be stupid.

Date Posted: 11/30/2012 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,222
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The person may not know how to submit a data edit or that they even could. Take the information and copy it into a data edit of the description so it will get added into the correct place and then give it a thumbs down. As other reviews get added it will go to the bottom.

Date Posted: 11/30/2012 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,523
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When I think about requesting a book I am not familiar with, I always click on the "Buy From Amazon" button to read the reviews over there too. Many times I have decided against requesting a book due to the Amazon reviews.

When I do reviews here, and I have done over 330 now, I always try and make the reviews interesting enough that the people reading them get a good idea about whether it would be interesting for them. So many reviews here really don't tell you anything about the book.

I guess I need to add that most of the books I review are history books. If I review a novel, I'll tweak a reader's interest with text that does not contain spoilers.

Last Edited on: 12/1/12 8:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/30/2012 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
Posts: 473
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In the past, there was no way to add book descriptions to the book's data page on PBS.

Huh - I didn't realize that. Thanks Sophia. The reviews I like that best are why each person did or didn't like the book. It's fine line between spoiler and specific, but I'd rather read someone's reaction. Something more than, "Great book. Loved it!"

Date Posted: 11/30/2012 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,320
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When I review a book, I try to keep it short & sweet... I just try to say whether or not I liked the book & why or why not.  I don't want to write down what the book is about in my review since someone can see either on here and/or Amazon what a book is about.  I also don't like saying much about the book so I'm not giving away spoilers.

I hate reading a review that tells you what happens in the book as if it's a play-by-play.  I just want to know if the book is interesting or not so I know whether or not to spend my time reading it.  However, sometimes I will read a book even if most reviews say the book isn't worth the time to read.  And sometimes I don't like books that get the highest reviews. 


Last Edited on: 11/30/12 11:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/2/2012 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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When I joined in February of 2007, we were told to enter the copy from the back of the book. That changed shortly thereafter but those "reviews" are still out there. If you come across one, give it a thumbs down and ultimately that "review" will be removed.