Writing online book review articles

Well I have a physical library, yes real books, and it’s approaching about 4000 titles now. It’s amazing how much space the bookshelf takes up and I have books all over the house. It’s starting to look like a museum because no one seems to be buying books anymore, well, they are e-books on their e-readers. The worst thing I can imagine is reading a book cover to cover, especially a non-fiction book, and feeling so underwhelmed upon completion.

Perhaps, like you, my time is valuable, and perhaps for this reason, as a writer of online articles, I would like to encourage you to create book reviews of the books you have read. Post them online for all to read. They might save someone a lot of time and help recommend the very best books and help the best authors spread the word. Still, when you write book reviews, do so honestly and with integrity, we don’t need any more shrill words out there promoting the wrong stuff.

There was a rather disturbing article recently in the New York Times on August 26, 2012 entitled; “The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy” by David Streitfeld, who told of a gentleman who had a business of doing book reviews for authors and publishers for a fee. This is a real problem if the person doesn’t clearly state in the article that they were paid to do the review, otherwise they’re violating the FTC’s “shrill marketing” rules.

Trust me when I tell you this is the wrong way to play it, instead you should be doing it right and if you get paid remember we require full disclosure. That is, if you paid for or received a free book to read in order to give a positive review of the title, you must tell the individual reader of this online book review. It could be a simple note or a few sentences about how excited you were to receive the free book from the author to do the book review.

That way, the reader knows that your article might unintentionally contain positive biases. Maybe there isn’t, and I certainly hope there isn’t, but if there is, you have revealed the truth and reality of the situation to the reader. That’s only fair, would you agree? As you prepare and write online articles that are book reviews, I hope you take that into account and do it right.