Do you read reviews before buying a book?

Bookish Question #66 | Do You Read Reviews Before Buying a Book?

This might sound odd coming from a book reviewer, but I rarely read book reviews before buying a book.

Why not?

Mostly because I’m a book reviewer. Reviewing means I get a lot of books free (so I’m not buying them at all), and I’m often reading pre-release or new release books that don’t have many reviews.

When it comes to buying books, I’ll sometimes buy pre-order books (e.g the entire Tuscan Legacy series). Again, I’m often buying before release date, so there are often few reviews if any. Pre-orders are tempting, because many of the books are offered at special low prices for the preorder period only.

I also buy sale Kindle books, such as those advertised through email newsletters like BookBub. These are often free or 99 cent books. I never look at reviews for the free books (they’re free. Why would I). And I rarely look at the reviews for the 99 cent books. If I buy, it’s on the strength of the cover, author name, and book description (and price). I figure BookBub has already checked out the reviews, and they won’t advertise the book if there is an obvious issue.

I do check book reviews most when it comes to buying full-price Kindle books or paperbacks. But even then I’m checking the reviews that point out the faults (so the one-star and two-star reviews), or the reviews from authors, friends, or reviewers whose opinions I trust because we like similar books

What about you? Do you read reviews before buying a book?


  1. Jayna says:

    Yes, but I start my way up from the bottom on Amazon. I usually cut it off at 3 star reviews. To me the 1-3’s show me any glaring problems (yes cranky spoilsports sometimes leave low reviews), but 4-5 star reviews don’t tell me what I want to know. If a book passes the test with no glaring problems on the low-star end I’m good. I only like reviews that are not Amazon by reviewers I trust (like you 🤗)

    • I’m pleased I’ve earned your trust as a reviewer!

      A lot of readers say they prefer reading the lower-star reviews, especially the three-star reviews. And I’m never quite convinced by a book that only has five-star reviews.

  2. Beckie B. says:

    I read reviews for a few reasons — 1) to find out more about a book when it is unfamiliar and an author has asked me to review it, 2) to provide info on others’ views for my book club, 3) for the fun of it! 😉

    I look primarily at 1 and 2 star reviews to find out why people don’t like a book. They rarely dissuade me from reading it. Those reviews are often cruel and hurtful. I check out 3 and 4 stars for honest opinions. I rarely read 5 stars because a book has to be the best of the best to receive that rating from me.

    • It’s a strange conundrum. Authors want five-star reviews, but readers want lower ratings because the reviews are more balanced. Yes, some are unnecessarily cruel, but even those feel more honest than some of the five-star reviews I’ve read.

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