I have been curious for quite some time now about reviews. I like to write reviews myself but wonder how much they actually influence a potential buyer. So that is the theme of my second blog poll.
How much importance do you place on reviews? (The poll to the right is anonymous; please be completely honest. If you'd like to share your views, comments are welcome. If there is an answer missing that you feel should be added, let me know.)
On the one hand, I tend to be influenced by the negative ones. If the negative review is poorly written, attacks the author, or is so vague it could have been written for a dozen other products, I ignore it. I have recently found reviews written by people who haven't even read the book. How ethical is that? This gives me a much more cynical outlook of chronically negative reviewers and their reviews. Conversely, I become more interested in the product being slammed.
On the other hand, positive reviews can be off-putting for me. Nobody's perfect. If all the reviews claim perfection the hype builds until the book cannot possibly live up to it.
I try to take each review as it comes, make an educated decision based on the reviewer's review history and the tone of the review.
How much importance do I place on reviews? It all depends on the reviewer, so I would say moderate importance. Please note, this does not mean I would not buy a book with no reviews. If the book sounds interesting, reviews, or the lack thereof, mean nothing.
So that's my opinion. What's yours?