Do Reviews Really Influence Your Book Buying Decisions?

John asks a good question and one that I, as both a writer and reviewer, want to know. So read and comment!

Johnny Reads

I wrote about book reviews yesterday, so why not today too?

No. They don’t influence mine one bit. Because typically I read a book and buy the next in the series without looking at anything on the product page besides the price. The price influences my decision much more often than the reviews do. Why? Cause I’m perfectly fine spending $7.99 on a book. I’m not always fine with spending $9.99 on a mass market paperback. What is that, like a 25 percent increase? No.

Quite honestly, are reviews really all that important. I think they’re more important when you’re someone like John Green and your books have thousands of reviews that largely say the same thing. But if you’re a nobody like me and your book has 23 reviews, then I think someone not buying the book because of the reviews is just making an excuse not to buy…

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  1. Reviews do influence my buying decisions, usually because a book can have a very promising/falsely advertised premise that doesn’t carry through to the work itself. Browsing over the most helpful ones will tell me if the reviewer/s have any cogent points or, on lazier days, if ‘the kind of person’ that likes this book isn’t anything like me.

    As for reviews on my own work, having just launched it with little planning or preparation means that I hunger for them! I think 23 is a decent number, as there are so many on the best-selling books that they are in danger of becoming noise rather than feedback. I don’t doubt that price is a bigger factor though. A writer’s work has become so devalued on Amazon et al that it’s often viewed in terms of ‘I want at least x number of words for y amount of money’, which is more akin to buying apples than a book.

    So are reviews essential? The best I can say is that they certainly don’t hurt, and tbh I think John has the luxury of musing on their worth only because he has a healthy selection.

  2. I use reviews to guide my book choices all the time; whenever I finish devouring all of my favourite authors’ books, I check out who gave them a good review, and then see what else the reviewer liked. There are so many books out there, I need some system in place to help me make my selections. Reviews are part of that.

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