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All Book Reviews Are Biased

Thursday, January 21, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments




All book reviews are biased. That's my opinion at least. Why? How? That's what this post is for!

Recently, I've heard some drama about #bloggerconfessions. Nick and Nereyda of Nick and Nereyda's Infinite Booklist have posted a couple of blogger confessions, which included things like how the below:

  • I hate when bloggers/readers uprate a book they didn’t like or didn’t like as much simply because they are big fans of the author.  You can be the biggest fan and it’s still okay to not love one or more of their books.  Doesn’t make you less of a fan. Yes it happens.  A lot.
  • - Nereyda
  • Inflated ratings are EVERYWHERE. It makes me want to punch people in the face

  • - Anonymous


It made me realise that I'm a HUGE culprit of this. And, it also made me wonder, are all book reviews biased to some extent? After thinking about it for some time, I believe that all book reviews are biased.

With book reviews, there are so many ways to be influenced nowadays, especially with the huge influence that the Internet has on us, From Goodreads, Twitter, to even just plain old word of mouth, we go into reading books with a LOT of expectation.

Reasons Behind Bias in Book Reviews

Hype

From Goodreads to Twitter, to even just plain old word of mouth, we go into reading books with A LOT of expectation nowadays. Even just picking up a book., and looking at the back, sometimes we see recommendations from authors - especially the authors we love- and feel compelled to give a great review of the book.
Twitter and Bloglovin' have definitely helped bias my reviews. I see reviews from other bloggers who love a book, read a book, and feel more compelled to write a great review of the book. Heck, I sometimes subconsciously find more good things about a book just because it's super hyped up! An example is Truthwitch (see my review here!) - I read it, and felt compelled to find loads of great things about it, like the friendship and the world-building, emphasing that over how much I hated the beginning, how info-dumpy the beginning was and how I disliked what felt like instalove between Merik and Safi (I mean winds being whipped up? Lots of dramatic flair that really didn't appeal to me).

Author

Now personally, I've never had that much experience with this. I've heard bloggers complaining about how hard it is to review a book when they are friends with the author, because it's hard to negatively review a friend's book and then still be able to talk to them afterwards. As such, they sometimes hype up their reviews. Personally, the only time I've hyped up a review because of an author, is when I see that author writing a new book from a series I love. If I didn't like that book, I'll try to positively bias that review, because of my loyalty to that series.

The Deep DEEP Reason We Bias Book Reviews? 

I think it's peer pressure. We all feel pressured to see a book a certain way because of how x blogger has blogged about it, y author has written it, z person has raved about it. For me, especially if I ADORE/HATE the blogger or author, my reviews will get more and more biased, in many different ways. Some of which, I'll outline below.

Ways to Bias Book Reviews

Ratings Inflation

Raise your hand if you've been guilty of this at least ONCE in your life! I know that when a book is super hyped and I feel pressured to give a good review because everyone else is, I'll add one star or so to my review. Similarly, if the book is by an author I love, and the book is terrible, I'll go on and rant for quite some time about how bad the book is, and lower the rating by at least one star.

Finding More Good/Bad 

When lots of people praise a book, I actively try to find good things about it if I find it's terrible or not to my tastes at least. When I hear lots of hate for a book, I try to find bad things about it, even if I enjoyed reading it. Case in point - Twilight. I've never actually reviewed in on my blog, but I recently talked to a friend about how bad Twilight was, with how Mary Sue Bella was, and how unrealistic it was, etc. Personally, I remember when I first read Twilight and enjoyed every second of it. Once the negative reviews came out though, I changed completely, found more bad things about Twilight and toned down my opinions on the good things about it.


What do you think? Do you think that all book reviews are biased? Why? Why not? Do you agree with the points I made? What else do you think adds to bias in book reviews? Does it all boil down to peer pressure? Let me know in the comments below!

Keep reading and loving books,
Geraldine

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