Do Book Reviewers Ever Cheat?

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Do book reviewers ever cheat?



This thought recently crossed my mind, as I was tempted to do just that. It was a brief fleeting thought. Still it came. Then I thought I wonder if other reviewers do especially authors who review for their platform. Let me set up the scene for you of what was going on to cause this flow of ideas.

In the great iPhone, PC, Google, yahoo calendar debacle of 2011, (what you didn’t hear about that) my calendar was ruined. I spent weeks trying to get the thing sorted out. In that process I unintentionally book 3 book reviews for the same day. I review for a Pump It Up Books regularly and after they had to email me about some late reviews, they decided to remind me instead. Well I got 3 in one day say…hey where’s such and suches review.

After closing the shades and dead bolting my doors because those women aren’t playing, I’m kidding they are nice, I got to work. Luckily, for me I had already read the books. However, what if I hadn’t what would I have done then?! These reviews had been scheduled for months…authors were counting on me.
Luckily, for me after posting the cover art, the blurb and exert I was reminded of the stories and was able to do a decent review. However, to my dismay they were not the quality I usually deliver. In order to clear up any more calendar issues I haven’t accepted any more reviews and won’t until September.

Back to what could have happened. Because of my ethics, I don’t think I would post a review of a book I hadn’t actually read. Instead, I would probably feature it with an explanation and an expectation of delivery…like what I was excited about reading in the book.

What do you think? Is it ok for reviewers to cheat?

About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

15 thoughts on “Do Book Reviewers Ever Cheat?

  1. I would say no, it isn’t okay. (But you knew that.) If you don’t read the entire book it isn’t fair to your readers or the author. If a reviewer did this often I think it would become apparent in their reviews over time.

    1. I’m with Al on this. I’ve never done a review on a book that I didn’t read or only read parts of (not that I’ve ever read PART of a book) I think it’s unfair to both the author & the audience. HOWEVER…I have noticed, on several popular blogs (that will remain nameless,) that some reviewers out there have zero problem not finishing a book, boldly exclaiming they didn’t, and then turning around to write a full blown review of it. THAT I do not understand at all. If you didn’t finish it. Say “I didn’t finish, you should seek other guidance in reference to this book” and leave it at that.

  2. I will admit to suffering much pain in finishing a couple books just so I would feel okay about reviewing them. 😀

    I see lots of Amazon reviews that are like Misty is talking about where they make it clear they didn’t finish. I couldn’t imagine doing that, but at least they admit they didn’t finish. A reader can decide how much stock to put into the review in that situation if it is a blogger. On Amazon it effects their average star rating. (Usually lowers although I’ve seen 5 star reviews saying, I’ve read the first x chapters and it is great.)

    More concerning is someone who claims to have read the book and didn’t. I’ve seen rumors about one of the prolific Amazon reviewers questioning whether she reads everything she reviews. I won’t give a name, but you could guess and get it right.

  3. No, it’s not okay to cheat. How arrogant is it, to take someone’s heart — as poured out in a creative endeavor — and judge it after a glance? Those who admit they don’t finish a book should at least say why they didn’t, and those who can’t be bothered to finish should go into another line of work. Humph!

    1. I really do think it’s a morally questionable thing to do. As Ann pointed out, that’s is someone’s blood, sweat & tears, and if a reviewer can’t respect that and give the author & their work his/her full attention then they need to reconsider reviewing as a whole. Sometimes we don’t like a book or find it difficult to finish it, but you push through it anyways so that you can properly express the issues with the work so the reading audience knows what they are spending their money on & the author can gain some constructive criticism.

  4. Not reading the book you’re reviewing, to me it’s breaking the fundamental CONCEPT of having a rec blog. The point of having one is to give your opinions on a book so that we as potential readers have at least come reference. If you’re gonna just say it’s great or whatever, probably using other people’s comments then that’s cheating on us. Don’t have a book blog or review less books if you’re not gonna be able to read the book.

    I don’t know, it’s such a weird concept to cheat on a review, lol. It’s hard for me to thingk people do this.

  5. I have had to post a review of a cook book without testing any of the recipes, I acknowledged that this was a bad thing and went on to review what I could of the book.

    I don’t think that it is acceptable for a reviewer to cheat on their reviews and have postponed reviews to avoid doing so. That’s caused me to get a bit backed up around finals or major holidays, but I get to keep my personal integrity.

  6. I know as an author and reviewer I feel both sides of the possibility of deceit. However, I’m almost certain it doesn’t happen. But I wanted to share. It makes me feel great that yall think as I do. Thanks for having me.

  7. I think it happens more that they skim the books and review them as I have had a couple of reviews, one this week, where they got something in the plot wrong 🙁

  8. Hi Bri, hopefully it is rare, but I can tell you without question that it DOES happen.

    I posted a review of Julia Madeleine’s new book, NO ONE TO HEAR YOU SCREAM, a few weeks ago on my blog, then that same review, almost word for word, appeared somewhere else shortly thereafter.

    I was honored that someone else would find my words so enticing that they used them as their own, but it’s hard to imagine anyone doing that if they had actually read Ms Madeleine’s book.

  9. KiKi I would expect that. I’m sorry to hear that. A review is coming up shortly at romancing the book for you. How do I know this cause I’m the reviewer and I can guarantee you I read it.

    Al, that is just wrong…not it’s WRONG. I’ll admit that I myself as a reviewer have gone and looked at others reviews about a book. But only after I post my own. I could be influenced and I don’t want that but it also is nice to know if others felt the same or have other insights.

  10. I would hope that this does not happen often – should not happen at all. As a writer, I take pride in my work, as well as other writer’s work that I review. I would hope that if a reviewer accepts the opportunity to read and review my work – they will take the time to do so. Like you mentioned, I sometimes take a look at other reviews, but only after I’ve finished my own.

  11. A prime example of fake 5-star reviews and rankings cheating going on is under Bristol Palin’s book “Not Afraid Of Life”. Palinbots there still think it is Dancing With The Stars. How unfair to up and coming authors to vote their comments & reviews down just so they can keep Bristol on a little list. Pretty sickening.

  12. Having been the victim of this on Amazon with a couple reviews of my stuff, I do have to say it’s disheartening when someone has only read the preview of your work then decides on a review of it. Whether they leave a good or bad review, it’s irrelevant. Sure, good ones feel great and the bad ones, not so much, but if you are indeed going to comment on my stuff, I’d prefer you get the whole story versus just a piece of it. A writer can’t grow when the praise or criticism is placed on only part of a work.

    I’ve reported these types of reviews to Amazon on the rare occassion when they occur.

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