Do they help? Those reviews you see when you shop for books online. Do they? Or is it just reassuring for the author of a book to see many reviews, hopefully mostly positive?
If I wasn’t reviewing books on a blog like this, I would most likely put up a lot of reviews over there instead. As it is, I do a few of them. I don’t have time for more, because I tend not to be able to use the same reviews as I write for Bookwitch. They are often in a style that wouldn’t work elsewhere.
But then I get told by authors how valuable the shopping site reviews are. Some authors actively ask people to post a review once they’ve read their book. So it is at least perceived as useful. When there are truly awful reviews on the shopping site, I can see that having a more favourable one added will balance things somewhat.
I assume it also matters more if there are only a few reviews, whereas some books have more reviews than I as a potential buyer would ever want to read.
Which brings me to the question whether my reviews here make a difference. I just don’t know. Sometimes readers leave a comment to say they will definitely buy the book now, or that they have ordered a copy, and occasionally they report back later to say what they thought of the book.
But that’s just a handful. No one will eat well off that number of sales.
On the other hand, perhaps I start avalanches of book buying in silence. I hope I do.