Book reviews! Controversy! Two reviewers enter, one reviewer turns out to be a spambot paid $999 an hour to gush on Amazon! YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT BOOK REVIEWS!
And so on.
I may or may not have an erudite opinion on the recent book reviewtroversies (probably not), but here’s the background:
The New York Times: The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy, and a complaint review of the intrepid entrepreneur profiled by the NYT, via Ripoff Report. (I have my doubts about any author who doesn’t seem to know what Kirkus is.)
In the Telegraph, British authors are warning that fake reviews are everywhere and are probably written by other authors whose books totally suck. I may have made up that last part. (The Christian Science Monitor gets to the point: some authors have been sockpuppeting.)
Naturally, Richard Curtis at Digital Book World wants to know if anyone has seen an honest reviewer. Don’t look at me. I have only two settings: “here is this book’s single best feature” and “snark.”
E-Reads points out the obvious question-begging in all this: If Amazon reviews are meaningless, why are authors paying to have them written?
Ron Hogan points out that being a book critic is nothing special and that, ergo, some literary critics might want to tone it down a bit. I’m torn. My moral compass says he’s right; my pocketbook wants to know why I haven’t busted out my inner Mean Girl and jumped to the head of the literary-critic queue already.