Reviews are always wanted by authors and readers like to see them. They are impressed when they see a story has 100+ customer reviews, but are they always a good thing?
Here are reasons readers should be cautious of reviews.
Spoilers: This is the main reason I'm writng about reviews. Recently, I was reading a novel and at a certain point I became curious to know if other readers were reacting to the story the same way as me, I ended up going to the reviews on Amazon. Then I came across one and before I knew it, I was reading a spoiler and guess what? I don’t have to read the rest of the story now. I still might, but I’m not sure. Reviewers should not post spoilers, but the customer is not a professional reviewer, so it’s going to happen.
Inaccuracy: I have read some fantastic stories by small press and self-published authors and have noticed that some readers have slammed these books for typos and grammar errors that I have found to be minimal if anything. Some people think 2 typos are a lot. They see a couple in a self-pubbed book and say “Uh oh…here we go. It’s self published. I should have known.” I have even overheard readers on forums thinking of it as a game to find a typo in a self-published book and then label it as needing editing. The truth is there are errors in plenty of traditionally published books and professionally edited. I have found them in both. The average novel is 90K words long, so it’s difficult to not have one error. This is just one kind of inaccuracy a reviewer might mention. One review I received mentioned that the story takes place on the moon (ahem...it's Mars).
We all like something different: Some people don’t like Coke. Others don’t like chocolate. Every book has weaknesses and therefore anyone can make a book sound idiotic. If you let a negative review convince you to walk away, you might be missing out on something you will love.
Lack of reviews doesn’t mean bad: I know of a couple of novels that are excellent, but they only have one or two reviews because the author just doesn’t market well or push for reviews.
Reviews from Friends: A book could have most of their positive reviews from friends. Just because they like, it doesn't mean you will. But on the other hand, never assume this is the case. Most authors seek honest reviews.
Sample: Don’t let others make your decision. The best thing you can do is sample a book before you let any review convince you to walk away. Consider the overall ratings. What is the average? If it’s a 2 star out of 50 reviews then you might want to walk away.