Editorial reviews or ratings by the masses?
I was in another city's library the other day and read the first few pages of Say Anything. It looked interesting so when I got home, I looked it up on Amazon – I no longer acquire a book without first checking ratings on Amazon.
Say Anything is obviously not a popular book. First I had a hard time finding it as Amazon assumed I really wanted to know about lots of other movies and books with "Say Anything" in the titles. Then the rating … it only rated 3 stars. A book which only rated 3 stars is one I'd usually pass on. I've got several hundred to read on my list that all rate much higher. But then I saw it only had 4 reviews (which reinforced the fact that it's not a popular book) so I scrolled further down … and noticed that it had some very respectable editorial reviewers like Seth Godin, Craig Newmark, Lisa Stone and Howard Rheingold. I puzzled it over for a while and then went back and reread the editorial reviews – and realized that with one exception, none of the seven editorial reviewers said anything great about the book. And obviously they didn't all take the time to go to Amazon and rate the book to help out the author.
I've added Say Everything
to my Paperbackswap wish list and if I read it, I'll let you know how it goes, but for now I'm going to continue to trust the ratings by the masses or what my friends recommend, not the number or caliber of editorial reviewers.
What do you think? What do you pay attention to when deciding to read a book or not?