The Future of Book Reviews Critics vs Amazon Reviewers

Top critics Morris Dickstein and Cynthia Ozick debate who are truly the book critics today (hint: Amazon reviewers) and what this means for reviewing. Jane Ciabattari reports.

In the age of rapid digital revolution in publishing, when readers have book review options ranging from decades-old publications like The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Book Review, to Twitter book clubs, literary websites, online publications like this one, and Amazon reader reviews, what is the role of the book reviewer? And how has that role changed?

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Amazon

The problem with amazon reviews is that you never know when a review is by a friend of the author. I think amazon should have 5 official reviewers for all the major categories. I think they do this a little with their Vine program but I think this program could be expanded. The idea with Vine is that they give people a free book if they agree to write a review. When you see a Vine review you can be fairly confident that the review is not by a friend of the author.

With the kindle around Amazon should have an easier time getting books out to people to review.

Amazon benefits highly from book culture and I think they should have at least 50 paid book reviewers on staff that do nothing but read and review books for a job.

the same role professionals always had/have...

you can ask your neighbor about that rash on your butt and you'll get an opinion and maybe a diagnosis and treatment, but you should still see a doctor.
that's how I feel about Amazon reviews; they are opinions. But if I want a qualified, professional review, then I go to the experts. So I use both, if available. But I've never made a purchase based solely on an Amazon review.

-eff.

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