NYT Book Reviews are irrelevant – You NEED Rabble instead. As I write this blog post, Amazon lists ninety-one thousand, seven hundred ninety-eight (91,798) books in the “new releases, last 30 days” section. The NYT has eleven reviews on their books webpage.* The LA Times doesn’t mind making you scroll through all twenty-one of theirs; the Washington Post, sixteen; and the Wall Street Journal – kings of the scroll down – one hundred eighty-nine. Collectively, 91,600 short (give or take).
Goodreads? Sure, there are reviews there. Many of them are honest, thoughtful and well written. But even when I look at the reviews of my book, I wonder: How many were written by a jealous writer trying to leap-frog me on Amazon’s rankings? (I know of one.) How many were written by people who wrote a review of a book they won through one of Goodreads’ ubiquitous giveaways, but don’t really like the genre and really shouldn’t be reviewing it?
Why bother reading reviews anyway? You only buy books that were recommended to you by a friend, right? Surveys have proven that we buy books via peer pressure. You still want to know if your brother-in-law’s favorite book is another eye-rolling tale about strippers and whiskey before you plunk down your cash.
Where do you turn?
Is there a reliable review mechanism? You know that no publisher, retailer or author (traditional or independent) has an economic incentive to give you an honest opinion about the content. And you can’t expect Amazon to create a verified review process. Nor can you expect the newspapers to keep up with the tsunami of books coming at them from all sides.
You need a review site that pulls together vetted and reliable sources into one place. And you need someone you TRUST to make it happen. Someone like Amy Edelman, who opened IndieReader.com in 2007.
YOU NEED RABBLE. Amy told me that Rabble is “a website that will aggregate trusted, verified reviews into consensus, like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.” All she needs to make it happen is for you and a few of your friends to back the project with a few dollars on Kickstarter.
Look at your bookshelf, ask yourself, “How much did I blow on books last year?” and put in half that much. (Unless you’re a grumpy old man who doesn’t like any of them anyway, then double it and quit whining.) If you’re like me, maybe a fraction of what you spent on books. But you know in your heart that having reliable reviews is something worth backing.
- If you believe intelligent book reviews play an important role in the world, BACK THIS PROJECT.
- Do you distrust reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and elsewhere? BACK THIS PROJECT.
- Ever look at the 3,000 reviews on a hit like “Wool” and wonder which one you should read? BACK THIS PROJECT.
- Tired of reading 5 star reviews that say little about the book or have too many spoilers? BACK THIS PROJECT.
- Do you want one place that you can trust to give you an aggregated review? BACK THIS PROJECT.
Amy Edelman is a hardworking entrepreneur who is the only person capable of creating this kind of resource. As a reader, you need Rabble. As an author, you need Rabble. Get behind it for $1 or $1,000 or $10,000, whatever you do –
Tweet it, blog it, Facebook it — Spread the Word!
NOTE: I am not connected to or compensated by, financially or otherwise, Amy or her project. My ONLY interest in this project is knowing the overwhelming need for it in the marketplace. Yes, I am a backer and have put my money where my mouth is.
* Plus, they’re mostly intellectual or literary books which represent a very small percentage of what readers buy. I mean, really, who reads crap like James Joyce anyway? “He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding land and the awaking mountains.” Really. Thrice? Gimme a break.