Sunday, 10 March 2013

Integrity of Book Reviews.

Children's book reviewer, Sue Morris, at Kid Lit Reviews responsed to my previous post, The Problem with Amazon Reviews, where writer, Michael Drakrich, talks about the importance of getting and giving honest book reviews.

             Integrity + Honesty = Pride

By Sue Morris.
I find myself agreeing with everything Michael Drakich wrote. The reviews part is most distressing, considering I am a children's book reviewer. Just recently, I was asked to review a book and at the bottom of the email were links to three reviews. The author invited me to read the reviews to help me decide to accept the book. It was good advice but caused me to reject the review request.

Two of the reviews were written by the same person who was paid to write a positive, 5 star, review. The third was, according to the website, written by the author. The author denied, but the terms of service clearly stated that each book must be reviewed by the author to get on the top page. Needless to say I refused the request. I have plenty of books from legitimate authors that I have no desire to waste time on those that cut corners to cut out competition.

I have known for a long time that authors are writing their own reviews, or simply 5 star rating their books after uploading them to places like Library Thing, Goodreads, Jacketflap and the like. Doing so is not against any official policy on any of those sites. Still, what about ethically? Is it fair to give yourself a false leg up by giving yourself a 5?

Sure the author believes this is true, or they should if they believe in their writing. But to take 5 stars from systems that are relying on reviews from outside sources is, to me, unconscionable.

Honesty is important, especially in children's books. Kids view some authors like movie stars or super heroes. They need those authors to be good people, honest people, people the kid can look up to and emulate.

Cheating is wrong. "Only trying to make a living," is no excuse. 

I agree totally, Sue Morris and Michael Drakich!

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