How to Review A Book

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Readers’ book reviews truly matter. Book shoppers appreciate insightful comments about a title that they're considering because reader reviews help them decide if a book they are viewing will interest them. Reader feedback also helps authors to know more about how to please their customers.

Customer reviews can make or break any product's success but a useful book review doesn't have to be lengthy or intellectual. The goal of a review is to honestly share your experience of reading the book, in your own words. Your comments will help others to gauge their own potential interest in the book before they commit to reading it. Insightful reviews help other readers in their quest to find books they like as they also help authors thrive. 

It's best to post your review soon after you finish a book while your reading experience is still vivid to recall. An online review can be as short or as long as you like, even a single sentence plus the rating stars you select to match your summary reading experience. But more information can be even more useful.

On Amazon, when you finish reading a book go to the book's Details Page to share your thoughts. You'll be prompted to log in. To get started, find the Reviews section on the product details page and click the "Write a Customer Review" button. On other sites, do the equivalent to post your review.

Thoughtful, informative reviews are fair but honest. They should reflect a readers' real reading experience. They may contain praise or criticism for a book, or some of both. First, jot down the textual part of your review. You could simply say what you liked or disliked and give your reasons. Your review isn't being graded but book browsers do appreciate other readers' insights. You can go into as much depth as the website where you are posting allows.

Here are a few review-writing prompts if you can use some help. Pick and choose the ones that are relevant to your overall assessment:

How would you describe the book to a friend?

What other books and/or authors you’ve read are similar or different?

Did you finish the book? If not, why not?

Was the book well-formatted?

Or did you find a lot of typos or format glitches?

Did the cover interest you and draw you in?

Was the cover relevant to book’s genre and to the content?

Are you glad you read the book? Why and how? 

Or was reading that book a waste of time?

Did you have trouble with the reading process? What was the issue?

How about the content, the length, and the writing style?

Did the book draw you in and keep you interested? Was it relevant?

What were your favorite parts of the book?

What parts of it did not meet your expectations? 

Did you find specific writing faults? What were they?

If the book is fiction, or another type of narrative, comment about the story's pace, length, tension, story arc, and resolution. How about plot, characters, settings, and the author's narrative style, and voice? What about themes and the title?

If the book is nonfiction, was the content interesting, useful, and/or valuable? Was it clear and credible? Were the author's assertions backed by facts and thorough research? How was topic coverage? Did the book hold your interest until the end?

Was it easy to stay engaged throughout the book?

Is there anything else you want to say?

When your evaluation is done it’s time for your star rating. This naturally follows the textual section of your review because as you write, the text will clarify and justify the number of stars you pick to summarize your whole evaluation, showing the book's overall value and quality.

How strong was your summary feeling about this book? Five stars is best, one star is worst, three stars is neutral. Did you like it (4 stars) or love it (5 stars)? Did you dislike it (2 stars) or hate it (1 star)? Did the book leave you on the fence (3 stars)? Do you recommend this book (4 or 5 stars) to other readers? 

Each time you take five to fifteen minutes after reading a book to share your impressions, feelings, and thoughts with fellow readers, you're becoming more deeply vested in the worldwide community of book readers. That sets you up to receive contributions in like kind from other readers.

Everyone involved benefits from your online or offline book reviews. Thank you in advance for the reviews you post or have posted.

— JR