A couple of weeks ago I posted a discussion piece about my thoughts on writing negative reviews and it got me thinking about what it’s like reading them and whether or not they actually impact my decision to read a book.
I honestly don’t think that negative reviews have much of an impact on me as a reader. Admittedly, I try to stay away from reviews on books that I haven’t read. I know a lot of people check out Amazon or Goodreads before they buy a book, but I like to go into a book with little/no influence on my opinion of it from other people (I’m a very impressionable person). The exception to this is when reviews are posted on blogs that I follow. I’ll read these because it’s generally only one or two reviews on any particular book and they’re unlikely to have much of an influence on my opinion.
But aside from the effect that reviews overall have on me as a reader, I don’t think reading negative reviews deters me from picking up a book. If I see a lot of negative reviews, then I might not pick it up. If I do, I generally will wait to get it from the library rather than buying it and spending money on a book that I may not like.
The only other thing about negative reviews that I can think of that would stop me from reading it is if people are giving negative reviews because it’s offensive (i.e. has inaccurate or harmful portrayal of a minority/marginalized group). But if it’s a book that I was really anticipating, I still might pick it up (although I would definitely be looking out for offensive things and mention them in my review and again would probably borrow it from the library).
Seeing a few negative reviews doesn’t stop me from reading a book though even if it’s from people whose opinions I generally trust. I think this is for two reasons:
- I’m pretty easy to please. There are few books that I’ve read and really didn’t like and I know this.
- People have different opinions on just about everything! I know that seeing one or two people dislike a book does not mean that their opinions represent all or even most readers and just because they didn’t like it doesn’t mean that I won’t either.
I also fully admit that there are a few bloggers I follow that I know are pretty harsh reviewers. They could rate a book one or two stars and I honestly wouldn’t care at all. I know that they tend to be harsh and because of that know that a 2 star from them could easily be a 3 or 4 star for me.
However, I know that there are people who could see one negative review from someone they know or whose opinions they trust and that would be enough for them to not want to read that book.