Do blog book reviews influence people to buy books?

There’s been some discussion online lately about whether book reviews on blogs influence readers to buy books. I think a lot more people are online regularly than ever before, and go to Google and blogs to find information, things that interest them. I know I do.

I don’t even read print reviews. (They often seem dry to me, and/or don’t seem like the kind of books I’d enjoy.) But I do read blog reviews of childen’s and YA books. And yesterday, when I bought a bunch more books for my birthday in August,* I found myself poring over blog reviews and purchasing a bunch of books based on those reviews. Some reviews I’d already starred or bookmarked, others I read for the first time. Before I put any book in my cart, though (and I bought books from three different online bookstores), I had to find and read an excerpt of the book online. If I couldn’t find an excerpt, I didn’t buy the book. (That’s something to remember, authors and publishers. Excerpts are important to serious book buyers.) Because I had to make sure that the writing really worked for me. And I needed to read the first few pages, just the way I do in the stores.

I purchased picture books, middle grade books, and YA books,** mostly fantasy, since I love that genre. Most books I searched specifically for, based on reviews.*** But I also found myself recognizing book cover after book cover, based solely on blog book reviews–some of which I hadn’t even read yet, but had just seen in my blog reader. That reinforces for me the importance of getting a book’s title, cover, and author name out there in front of readers–and that blogs are a great way to do that.

Hm. Writing all that made me realize that when I bought books a month ago, I did the same thing. Most were based on blog book reviews.

So, based on my own personal experience, I think book reviews on blogs definitely get some readers to buy those books. I’m one of those readers–and I’m looking forward to a rich reading experience this August.

* Hey, I have to buy myself birthday presents. I don’t have family (well, only bio family that abused me, and I don’t have contact with them).

** Curious about which books I purchased based on blog book reviews? Here are some of them:
Picture books:
Sally and the Some-Thing by George O’Connor

Middle-Grade Books:
The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

YA Books:
Into The Wild by Sarah Durst
The Unwritten Girl by James Bow
Little (Grrl) Lost by Charles de Lint
WorldWeavers: Gift Of The Unmage by Alma Alexander

*** What were the other books, you ask? They were books by authors whose work I love and am familiar with, including A Hidden Magic by Vivian Vande Velde (middle-grade fantasy) and You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Glasser (picture book), and 100% Whole Grin Rose is Rose by Don Wimmer and Pat Brady (I just love that comic strip). And one was based on seeing the actual book–Dex: The Heart of a Hero by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner (picture book).

There. Curiosity satisfied? 🙂

About Cheryl Rainfield

I write the books I needed and couldn't find as a teen. I write teen fiction--paranormal fantasy and gritty realistic fiction. I'm the author of SCARS (WestSide Books, 2010) #1 ALA QuickPicks, and Governor General Literary Award Finalist, HUNTED (WestSide Books, Oct 2011), STAINED (Harcourt, 2013), The Last Dragon (HIP Books, Sept 2009), and Walking Both Sides (HIP Books, 2011). I also enjoy drawing, surfing the web, connecting with people I like, doing crafts, and being with my dog.
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