|...but I didn't have anything better to use for this post. (Source)|
Early reviews are my biggest pet peeve (2). One of the reasons I read book blogs is to find new stories and authors. My book buying habits are quite random, some books I buy after reading just one review or the blurb, others I buy after reading tons of reviews and lots of second-guessing. I’ve bought books just based on one person tweeting about it (3); I’ve had books sitting on my wish list for years. But in general I am an impulsive buyer. That’s why when I read an awesome review I want to be able to get the book immediately. So it’s no wonder that I hate early reviews.
If reviews are for readers, why talk about books readers can’t get? Is it because authors and publishers ask for them when they send the ARCs (Advance Reading Copy)? This has never happened to me (4) but I can see how early reviews can be good from the authors and publishers’ perspective. So even if I don’t like reading early reviews, I don’t think it’s wrong when blogs do it. Unless they post reviews more than three months in advance, then I’m just dumbfounded. What’s the point? Even if it sounds like a good book, chances are I will forget it, and if it’s a truly remarkable story, having to wait won’t make me happy.
Maybe a blogger has the opportunity to read a truly remarkable book and wants to let everyone know about it so they can get it on release day, preorder it, etc. I think that’s a perfectly valid reason. But when I keep seeing early positive reviews, I wonder if there are other motivations behind it. If the review is there for reasons beyond informing readers and book discussion, then it makes me question the blog’s intentions and weary of those reviews (unless the blog has a policy of only reviewing books they like, hence the positive reviews). If early reviews are there to share the blogger’s excitement (or disappointment) regarding a book, then I’m fine with it. But if that review is there to serve a different purpose, things become muddy. Publishers and authors may request the review to be posted earlier (though I would expect this to be more of a suggestion than an imposition), but if this becomes a recurrent practice it would appear that the reviews are aimed towards authors and publishers instead of readers. And that is just plain wrong, needless to say, reviewers do not work for publishers and/or authors.
Part of our review policy is that we do not post reviews before release day. I admit that at times I want to talk about a book so badly I even feel like writing an early review. I might talk about it on twitter, but I usually refrain from doing it. I no longer participate on the Waiting on Wednesday meme because it was torture. A pile of great books that I have to wait for, frustration at its worst.
Having said that, there’s one instance in which I look forward to reading early reviews: sequels and series. I want to know everything there’s to know about the upcoming book without spoiling the plot (5). I want to know if other fans liked it or not and why, I want to talk about the book and the series as a whole. I figure that since I’m already jonesing for the book, the early reviews won’t make me crave it even more (6).
I would like to hear your opinion on the subject as a reader, but also as a blogger (in case you are one). Do you like early reviews? Do you hate them? If you’re a blogger, do you post early reviews? Have you received positive feedback regarding them?
I’m adding a poll (7) so we can vote on it. I’m really curious to see the results so vote and let me know your thoughts on the comments.
(1) Maybe they got wet and started multiplying.
(2) Lie: my biggest pet peeve is noisy eaters.
(3) My credit card hates Twitter.
(4) Confession time: I’ve only once requested a book from a publisher, and they only give review copies after release day, so no problem with early reviews there.
(5) Lie: I love spoilers! I seek them, read them, and then hate them for spoiling the book for me (it’s a disease).
(6) Lie: of course I crave it more after reading the review!
(7) Yep, this whole post was just an excuse to test the widget.