Musing Mondays #29: How useful are reviews?

Posted August 25, 2014 in Discussion, Musing Mondays / 0 Comments

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Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
My Musings:

 How many people actually read reviews? I myself don’t read very many, unless I’ve heard of the book or have read it before, or I’ve seen it a lot around the blogosphere. And that’s maybe only 5-10% of the reviews on the average book blog. So essentially, I’m thinking reviews are better for authors and the bloggers themselves (the ones who write the reviews).

Authors can use the reviews both as constructive criticism and as advertising. The bloggers who write the reviews, like myself, can use them to keep track of their own thoughts on a book. That’s what I do. I’m aware that my reviews are my least popular posts and that that’s how it is on most book blogs (unless of course all they post is reviews). But I don’t write them so every single one of my subscribers can read every single one of my reviews. They’re not going to. Even I don’t often look back on my old reviews. So what purpose do they serve to me?

If I choose to review a book myself (it’s not an ARC), then I use the review to write down all my thoughts on a book in case I need to access them later and know what I was thinking. Sometimes I can have some pretty good thoughts. If it’s a book in a series and I want to continue the series, I sometimes use my reviews to give myself a refresher on what happened in the previous book. I use that as a backdrop to compare what I thought about the current book to what I thought of the previous one and see if it fixed old problems or had any inconsistencies. It’s quite useful sometimes.

If it’s an ARC, I’m doing it mostly to help out the author and I know that if it’s not a popular or highly-anticipated ARC, no one’s going to read the review. I don’t mind, because at that point it’s a responsibility to write the review since I got the book for free so I don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s just routine. If it helps out the author, well great, I did my job.

So doesn’t it make the whole purpose of book blogging seem pointless? Didn’t we start these blogs for the purpose of sharing reviews? Well, yes, but it extends much farther beyond that. It’s not just about reviewing any more. It’s about talking. Connecting. Finding things in common with people and making friends. As cheesy as that sounds, that’s the truth. Reviews are just an extra. We have discussion posts. Blog tips. Various other fun memes. It’s a community, not a message board saying ‘hey here’s what I thought of this book’ every so often.

Here’s how I think of the book blogging community. The blogosphere is a country. The book blogging world is a state, a very big one, in that country. Each blog is a house, and we bloggers are the caretakers/owners. Some people have bigger houses and people come from miles around to visit, especially when they have parties (events and giveaways). Some people have just moved in and we come by and bring housewarming gifts (comments, advice and shares). Memes are weekly get-togethers where we all join in and bring our own dishes (posts). Reviews are our jobs. Read-a-longs and buddy-reads are our book clubs. Twitter is our public message board. Discussions are the more popular parties that often attract the most people. Bloglovin’ is our email that we check every day to see what’s going on with other people. Books are our life, the very air we breathe. This is how I see it. (I like metaphors.)

How do you see the blogging world? How often do you read reviews? How important are they, really? Answer below and/or link up your MM post!
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