Discussion: Bloggers' Etiquette For Reading Reviews




A discussion with P.E. and Mari.

The other day, I was browsing the interwebs and came across a statement to the effect of "I'm sorry I can't read your review, I'm planning on reading the book and reviewing it myself". This intrigued me, because it isn't something I do myself. The only time I ever refrain from reading a review is immediately before reading the book. When I decide whether to pick up the book or not, I often read some reviews, both positive and negative, and I usually read the book weeks later. I don't think those reviews influence my own simply because I have an awful memory. Is this shocking to people? What's the etiquette for reviews?

I guess I can say that I understand where they are coming from, being a person who can easily get thrown off a book due to negative feedback and in this case reviews on it. Reviews usually serve as a sort of medium for information and motivation for me. When I'm interested in a book I read a couple of reviews and gather a general idea of what to expect. I usually don't go into a book without knowing how it was received as I've found that most of the time although not always, the community rating is reflective of the books content. Still, if I'm really bent on reading a book I don't think any review can stop me.

Is there an unspoken rule that you can't read another's review before you write your own? I think it makes sense given how much honesty and orginality matters when blogging, but is there a certain time period before reading a book where you say you can't read the review or you'll be influenced?

I think there is that unspoken rule for reviewing because it's really hard not to be influenced by another's writing to the extent that you might not notice that you're using another's writing. I don't know if you have noticed it but writing about the same topic as something you read recently usually results in you spewing out the same information. Still, I don't think this is as important when going into a book. Thoughts?

That makes sense. So do bloggers only read reviews of books they're not going to review themselves? Another thing I wonder is how many people read reviews without actually being reviewers themselves. I know some authors read reviews, but I've always heard that reviews aren't for authors. Do people that don't write reviews themselves read reviews? 

Well, I don't know about everyone else but I never know if I'm going to review a book until after I read it and realize I have something to say about it. Is that how it is with you guys? I never thought about premeditated reviewing schedules, unless it is a book you received for review. Honestly, I think not reading reviews just because you "plan" to review it yourself is unconventional, especially as reviewer/bloggers are notorious for their never ending tbr lists. In the end, reviews are for anyone who wishes to know more about a book and how it was received by a certain reviewer. I read reviews way before I thought I would ever review as well. 


What do you think?


-P.E. & Mari

20 comments:

  1. I know where your coming from with this discussion post and i love you for it! I think every YA book reviewers should read it because there's no doubt we all think the same things you do, just none of it want to say it out loud. Too me I only read certain reviews from reviewers for books i'm going to read later if i trust them in not spoiling the book in their reviewers and if i trust their judgement.
    Great post!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

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    1. Agreed, it seems to be one of those implied aspects to book blogging. Also, I hate spoilers in reviews. I might even have a post on it later. :p

      -P.E.

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  2. I also love, love, love this post! Although I do sometimes say "I skimmed your review because I haven't read the book" it's because of spoilers. I usually tend to read the whole review anyway, and if it says spoiler free, I for sure do. Isn't that the whole point of book reviews? For people who HAVEN'T read the book?

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    1. I definitely agree. I love to read reviews as long as they're spoiler free.

      -P.E.

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  3. We don't review books on our blogs, but we're avid readers so we still find review posts on other blogs to be quite helpful in deciding which books are worth our time or might fit our interests. We don't really have "rules" about when to read or not read reviews... but we can definitely understand someone not wanting to read a review RIGHT before they read a book, or right before they write their own reviews, just because "proximity influence" (made up that term!) can be strong for some people.

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    1. Ha, I like the term. It's something I've taken to heart a little too because I stopped reading reviews of books right before I started reading the book. Now I allow a few weeks to pass so that all I remember is whether the review was favourable or not.

      -P.E.

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  4. Interesting post.

    I usually read reviews before I decide to buy a certain book. Reviews on the blogs I follow are always read, with one exception: if I read the specific book at the moment and I see it reviewed on one of the blogs I follow, then I won't read the review now, just later on after I have finished the book I was readind and after reviewing it myself.

    Andreea

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    1. That makes sense too. Some people notice things I don't in my reviews and it would definitely influence my opinion on the book I'm currently reading.

      -P.E.

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  5. For me, it all depends on the book. If it's a book that I'm really looking forward to, I won't read reviews beforehand for a number of reason: one, because I'm a spoilerphobe and don't want to risk spoilers; two, because I don't want other people's opinions to influence my reading of the book; and three, because I don't want to hype the book up too much. I will and do read reviews for books I'm more on the fence for, though, the kind of books where it's a genre or topic I don't usually read, or if it's receiving mixed reviews already.

    You make a good point about trying not to be influenced by other bloggers' reviews and styles, though. I think it can be really easy to 'borrow' turns of phrases without realising it.

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    1. I completely understand, I remember making that mistake back when Mockingjay was coming out and the spoilers have ruined the book for me enough that I will probably never read it. Still, I find most spoilers in the comments and such rather than in the review where it would be specified.

      -Mari

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  6. If it's a book I've really been looking forward to then I won't read any reviews, because I don't want to get even a hint of what's coming. I like not knowing what to expect. If it's a book I'm going to review, I don't like reading other people's reviews because I might subconsciously plagiarise a sentence or and idea or something. I also just don't want my own opinions to be biased.
    I don't think there's really a "rule" though. You can do whatever you like!

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    1. That's very interesting. I can see what you mean by not wanting even a hint- do you read the synopsis? I know some people don't. Sometimes I think even that's too spoilery.

      -P.E.

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    2. Actually if it's a sequel, I usually won't read the synopsis because I sort of already know what the book is about. But by "hint" I just mean that I'm scared of people putting in weird spoilery comments or something.

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    3. Yeah, I get that. I like the idea of not reading the synopsis for sequels though. I'll try that from now on.

      -P.E.

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  7. If it's a book that I'm getting ready to read then I usually stay away from the reviews. However, if it's one that I'm debating on buying then I will search Goodreads for reviews before I buy. Great Discussion!

    Christy @ Christy's Book Addiction

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    1. I do that too! My phone is essential when it comes to acquiring books, just because if I'm iffy about it, I usually check Goodreads.

      -P.E.

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  8. Sometimes I'll read reviews to see if a book is worth reading. If I decide I want to read that book, it is usually just added to my TBR pile where it is at the bottom of a very long list. That way, hopefully by the time I get to it, I have forgotten the reviews I read so it won't influence my own review (if I write one) and my expectations and view of the book. That being said, I usually refrain from reading reviews if I'm going to read the book the next day. Great post! :)

    Emz @ Icy Cold Reads

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    1. That's my way of doing it too!

      -P.E.

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  9. I agree with Nikki -- it depends on the book.

    If I know I'm reviewing a book because I requested it, then I often avoid reading other reviews, just because I like to go into reading and reviewing with a completely open mind, no preconceptions, and no spoilers.
    If I'm trying to decide whether or not to read a book, then I read a bunch of reviews just to get a wide range of opinions.

    Great topic :)
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

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  10. I tend not to read reviews of books I haven't read-I am much more likely to comment if I have read the book because I feel like I have something to say then. There are exceptions but usually I stay away to avoid spoilers and having my hopes raised too high or smashed to the ground. I'm especially sensitive to trying to avoid being influenced by someone's words-I would never want to copy their sentence structure and ideas.

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What do you think?