The Grapevine in Action
Posted by hyperpat on August 15, 2007
Apparently, some book, game, and CD publishers are finally getting hip to the fact that the online community of reviewers are a valuable resource, and that the reviews such people post are often as good or even perhaps better than those written by ‘professional’ reviewers (though not always – there are quite a few pretty atrocious ones out there too). Evidence for this is a new program from Amazon, which they are calling ‘Vine Voices’, where those who are members of the program can get free advanced review copies of some works in return for writing honest, unbiased reviews of same – which is basically the same deal that professional reviewers have gotten for many years, and this program is obviously being supported by the publishers. I’ve signed up for this program, and ordered up as my first choice under this program a new book by Michael Chabon, Gentlemen of the Road.
There have been at least a few instances of the book publishers using quotes from some of these ‘amateur’ reviews as back-0f-book blurbs, and there is now a fair amount of evidence that decent reviews on places like Amazon can have quite an influence on book sales. With many newspapers and magazines cutting down on the space they allocate for reviews, for many books online reviews may be the only recognition a book gets.
For a long time, many of the ‘professional’ reviewing set have denigrated these ‘amateur’ reviews as poorly written and/or ineffective. It looks like at least a few are waking up to fact that this is not true.