Sunday, April 1, 2012

Here's a Thought: Negative Reviews

Negative reviews have been causing a lot of drama in the blogging world recently over the issue of weather or not a person should post reviews that are negative about a book.

Negative reviews can be both a good thing, and a bad thing, depending on which side of the situation you are on. Negative reviews are beneficial for people such as publisher, readers, and sometimes even the writer who wrote the book. When a publisher reads a negative review they get to see the opinion of a person who may not have liked an aspect of the book, and if that topic is something that is commonly not enjoyed in the story, they know that they should avoid publishing books that might have that issue. Readers can benefit from negative reviews because they are given the opinion of someone who did not enjoy the story, so if they think they might also not enjoy the story they will choose a different book. Authors can also benefit from negative reviews, both of their book and other authors books so they can see common things that readers do not enjoy seeing in stories so they can avoid them. The author of the book can benefit because they can see what they may want to consider when writing again, though I do know that some authors do not read reviews of their own books as a personal choice.

Negative reviews can also negatively impact people. Reviews are a key aspect of book sales. If a book is often given negative reviews, both the author and the publisher will loose money because of the lack of good thoughts. Negative reviews can also turn people away from books they might enjoy very much, but because of the negative review they have decided to stay away from the book.

Many bloggers debate about weather or not to post negative reviews about books they have read. There are some people who refuse to write negative reviews entirely. Some people think that refusing to write bad things about books they didn't enjoy a way not sharing the truth, especially if they only write the good things about the book.

One of the major things that has been brought up by those who do write negative reviews is that there is a difference between a negative review and disrespectful, mean, violent review. Bloggers like this think reviews that say only the bad things about a book or attack the book or the author about the views or thoughts portrayed in a way that is disrespectful is not the right thing to do. They think that describing things they did not enjoy in a story, such as the characters or character development or the setting or the way the plot was set up is alright. Calling the author names or accusing them of believing in something is considered attacking the author, and this is a very unprofessional way to review.

Personally, I do write negative reviews. I do not, however attack the author in anyway and I always try to say both good and bad things about a book. What do you think? Do you think people should write negative reviews? Do you write negative reviews? Comment below!


  1. Your post comes at a good time for me because I just wrote my first truly negative post on my blog the past week - since I'm still a "new" book blogger, I was battling really hard what to do because I didn't want to completely trash a book, but it was one I really, very much did not like.

    Here's my take on it, and why I ultimately did end up writing the review: I started my blog because I wanted to talk about books. I wanted to meet people who have read what I read and discuss them. And most of the time it's so I can squeal about how awesome a book is, but sometimes it's also so I can discuss why a book didn't work for me. I talk all the time in real life about books that I didn't quite like or what bothered me about things, and that extends to my blog. If I just wrote about the good things, that's kind of a lie and goes back on why I started blogging, anyway.

    Of course, that doesn't make it any easier to post a negative review, and I always believe you should be respectful and kind in a review, even if it is a negative one. Saying you have no idea why the author bothered to write the book? Not good. And not even helpful, in the end! But saying it was the character development, or a plot hole that distracted? That's constructive and meaningful. Every review should still somehow invite readers to the book, and be understanding that you (the reviewer) is not the end-all-be-all of book opinions.

    Great post and discussion, I'm eager to see what others think!
    Ashley Loves Books

  2. I believe in negative reviews, but I believe in doing it nicely. If I feel like being snarky or whatnot then I just edit out those thoughts and find a way to professionally say how I feel about the book. And, if all else fails I just keep the review short and sweet because like Thumper always told me "If you don't got nothing nice to say then don't say nothing at all!" ;]

  3. I've written a couple of negative reviews, but I really don't like the mean, snarky reviews that you can see on GoodReads and I definitely don't believe in author-bashing. However, I think what constitutes these things is subjective - I don't think any of my negative reviews have been mean, but someone who loved the book may have thought they were too harsh. Also, I've seen some GoodReads reviewers comment that they wouldn't attack an author personally, when, to me, in their reviews they have done this, because I think suggesting an author wrote a book as a cash in or to jump on a bandwagon is a personal insult to the author. But obviously, these reviewers don't see it that way.

  4. I believe that a person can not like every single book he/she reads so a negative review is bound to be written. However, the review needs to be strictly about the book, not be mean or rude to the author and just talk about THE BOOK. However there is something that you mentioned and it is that you can't include the bad things and discuss it without including the good things.. well what if you don't HAVE any good things to say about the book? I just think a review is a very subjective thing, people are talking about the plot, storyline, what they like etc, I just don't want to give false information to my readers just so that my reviews aren't negative, i speak my mind, while at the same time being respectful and remembering that the author spent days, nights, and hard work on it to get published.

  5. I personally prefer to read a book blog that contains negative reviews, as long as they are written respectfully. I like to read about what others don't like about books, and I won't deny if one of my favorite bloggers doesn't like a particular book I'm less likely to read it. I prefer a blog that is honest and admits they don't like a book instead of just not posting a review :)

    On the other hand, I have read some awful negative reviews on goodreads, not on actual blogs, which consist of author bashing instead of explaining what they didn't like about the book. It's those sort of negative reviews which I don't like.

    But I don't feel anyone should shy away from posting negative reviews, as long as they remain focused and don't 'author bash'.

  6. Negative reviews are tricky. Too many on a blog, and it can seem like you're way too picky with books, and that you're doing it on purpose. If you don't have any negative reviews, it may seem like you're purposely doing it.

    I do write and post the occasional negative review. I feel like they're necessary. But it really depends on how you write your review. There are people out there that are just purposely trying to be funny and mean to the author, and I don't like those reviews. Those are usually people just looking to be cool, and looking for attention. But the reviews I like are the ones that people do as nicely as possible, and actually explaining why they didn't like the book. Those are the type of reviews I really appreciate.

    For me, and it looks like, other people, writing a negative review is pretty hard. Especially when you've talked with the author and they're super nice. I've had a couple cases where I tried so hard to love the book, because of the authors. But if I don't like the book, I just don't. I'm not going to hate the author, or stop talking to them. It's just the plain fact that I didn't like it. And that's it. I'm not going to tell everyone how horrible the book was, just post the review and move on. Some people spend so much time telling others what books to not read, it gets annoying! Move on, people!

    Anyways [I got kinda off topic there], I like helpful negative reviews. I think they're necessary, and super helpful, if they're respectful.

    Fabulous discussion post! You've got some great stuff in there!

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  7. Great discussion!

    While I try to focus on the good side of a review, I do post negative reviews. Often times if the review is negative I decide not to post it on my blog. But then again, it is MY blog and I should get to choose the content that goes on it. And even with a pretty negative review, I always try to find at least ONE good thing for the review.

    But writing negative reviews does sometimes make me nervous. In a negative review, I always try to be respectful, but I'm still always a little scared that the author or publisher will be offended. I actually have a pretty negative review going up on Saturday that's sort of making me bite my nails. I just feel kind of bad writing a negative review because I know that the author has put their life and soul into that book. But at the same time I want to be honest.

    Fabulous discussion topic! :)