June 15-30, 2005 Edition

Book Reviews

Not a Major Driver

Of Book Sales

NEW YORK, NY/06/12/05—An item in the Financial Express notes that book reviews are not as effective in promoting a book sales as are the writer’s track record, quality of writing, topic, fan base, and the author’s own promotional efforts.

Express Journalist Sridhar Balan quoted Dee Power and Brian Hill, authors of THE MAKING OF A BESTSELLER: SUCCESS STORIES FROM AUTHORS AND EDITORS, AGENTS AND BOOKSELLERS BEHIND THEM, as saying that good reviews do not necessarily drive sales. An exception is if those reviews appear in such key publications as The New York Review of Books, New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, Financial Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today or Wall Street Journal. The authors of the book surveyed more than 100 editors, agents, and authors to draw their conclusions.

Reviews need to be seen as a part of a total exercise aimed at both publicizing the book and the author, the Express report said.

“It would be too much to expect that a good review will lead to queues outside the bookstore. Readers are perceptive enough to read through a review and reserve their judgment, particularly when they read both good and bad reviews. But, of course, the influence of a review while deciding the purchase of a book cannot be discounted,” Balan wrote.

He also noted that publishers are working with sympathetic editors to increase the space devoted to books in newspapers in countries throughout the world.

“Our newspapers would be poorer without the review pages, particularly when the pages are embellished with news from the world of publishing,” Balan said.