This week’s question is suggested by Puss Reboots:
How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?A coworker of mine had a tube of the most delicious smelling lotion. I had to have some for myself. I searched and hunted with no success and finally resorted to searching for it online. I was ecstatic to find it. Not all of the customer reviews were favorable, unfortunately, and they gave me pause for thought. I hate sticky or oily feeling lotion. And then there was the comment that the scent does not linger long. What to do? I ordered the lotion and even though it is not the most soothing during this windy season when the skin on my hands is cracking dry and even though it is a bit oily on my skin and the scent fades fast, I still like it. It was worth it. At least this once.
The thing is, I gave it a try. The reviews offered me a more realistic impression of the product, and so my expectations were not quite as high as they might have been otherwise. Negative book reviews work a lot like that for me as well. If I intend to read a book, a negative review will not likely turn me away from the book completely. I may push it off a little longer, but I learned long ago that just because one person does not like a book, doesn't necessarily mean I will not like it either. If anything, a negative review often prepares me ahead of time. I am better able to select the right time and place to read a book, know which of my moods is most fitting, and maybe the review will help lower my expectations so that when I do read the book, I end up enjoying it more than I might have otherwise.
If I am on the fence about a particular book, a review, positive or negative, can make all the difference. Depending on the negative review, I might decide against reading a book, while on the other hand, if the review is good, I will definitely add it to my collection. The key, of course, being that the subject matter of the book interests me. Just because Jo Ellen loved that technical manual on how to put together your own pencil sharpener, it does not mean I will care to read it. Occasionally too, many positive reviews will turn me off of a book I am on the fence about. I may decide to read the book anyway, but it will be with some reluctance (Water for Elephants, for example) However, if it is a book I am dying to read, positive reviews will increase my desire to read the book.
Blog book reviews have proven to be a great source for recommendations, whether they are books I hope to someday read or ones I had never heard of before. There have been a few books I have added to my wish list that were given mixed reviews, and while the reviewers may not have been blown away by the books, I still think they sound interesting enough to try. Reviews by fellow readers do have some influence over my choice in reading materials, but they do not have the final say in the matter. I do.
And for the record, it should be a crime to create such yummy smelling lotions. It really should. Someone might forget the lotion is not edible.