Are reviews actually helpful?
DUH. They're really helpful.
Or I might just be saying that because I'm a reviewer.
But let me tell you what I think from the perspective of a full-time reader.
When I see positive or negative reviews regarding a book I've wanted to read for a long time, I will try to look at what the reviewer has said about that particular book in terms of characters, plot, world-building and more.
I also look at the number of positive to negative reviews so I get the bigger picture: whether people actually liked it or not.
In the past, reviews have actually helped me with deciding what to read next, and I normally have to choose from a huge TBR pile, so it makes things easier for me. Goodreads is the best place to get reviews, as well my favourite bloggers.
Reviews are important, not just for readers, but authors too. To them, it's good publicity, especially when there are 5 star reviews of that book everywhere. (By the way, that's why there are ARC copies). Even negative ones help, because these critiques will help the author as this will give them an idea of what readers want.
Andddd when the person reviewing the book is someone from NY times, Entertainment Weekly, etc.? Or even a famous author?
BOOM. The book gets boosted to instant popularity. Trust me, that's how New York Times bestsellers are made.
Or not. It really depends. I mean, not all reviews are positive, right?
But the truth is, reviewers are important to everyone in the book community: authors, readers, publicists and even cover designers. This isn't me saying I'm great or anything. It's me saying that reviewers are such a beautiful and awesome part of the bookish community, and I love every single one of them, even the ones I haven't met, and also the ones I have met.
So if you finish a book and you love it a lot, leave a review. It doesn't matter if it's one word, or one sentence, because if it says what you really feel about this particular book you've finished, then it's something worth writing down. If you didn't like it, write it down as well, it's still a memory, even though it was a bad one.
Let me tell you another thing. Reviews are as important to reviewers as they are to authors, etc. They're something we can look at after a while, a memory of reading the book we'll never have again unless we do reread it. And sometimes, the feelings won't be the same when we read it the second time, or the third, or fourth. Think of writing reviews as writing a reading journal. Doesn't it sound fun?
I decided to write about this topic because sometimes I question myself. Do my reviews get read? Do they really help people? Why do I write reviews?
Now it's time for you to answer these questions. As a reader or a reviewer, how important are reviews to you?