Quick Thought: Posting Negative Reviews

Hi everybody and welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Firstly, I wanted to mention how happy I was to receive so much positive feedback on the latest instalment in my “Quick Thought” blog series. I wasn’t sure if many people would be in to a discussion-based post, since I don’t see them very often on other book blogs, but I was so glad that most of you enjoyed it! Last time, I wrote about “Returning Rough Reads”, which you can read here if you missed it!

Today, I wanted to discuss posting negative reviews for books on the internet. I have recently read a lot of different opinions on this issue (specifically on Facebook and Twitter), and I am very interested to read all of your thoughts on this topic.

While many people live by the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it” rule in the book blogosphere, I actually feel different about this. Whenever I read a book that I plan on reviewing, I will post my review no matter what. I like to post my thoughts on books I read whether I enjoyed reading the book or not. As a reader and reviewer, I feel a responsibility to share books I did not enjoy, as well as those that I did. Sometimes when I read posts from other book blogs that only have 100% positive things to say about books or give almost all of their books 5 stars, I find that I may not trust that book blogger as much as others because I think that they may not be telling the truth/being honest about their thoughts on the book. Whenever I receive ARCs from publishing houses, I am accepting them in exchange for an honest review, even if I did not particularly enjoy the book. For example, I recently reviewed an ARC that I rated only two stars, and you can read that post here.

What do you think about posting negative reviews on your blog or social media? If you are only a reader and do not post many reviews, do you appreciate when bloggers post both negative or positive reviews, or do negative reviews hinder your blog reading experience? Let me know in the comments and we can discuss!

Good Night Book Owls!

25 thoughts on “Quick Thought: Posting Negative Reviews

  1. Couldn’t agree more with you. I definitely think that posting a negative review of an ARC is the right thing to do β€” otherwise, why would anyone trust you as a reviewer? Also, when people say “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” they’re thinking of reviews that are mean and bash the author. There’s a fine line that separates negative but polite reviews from negative and nasty reviews. And I’m all for the former! Usually, I like to end my review by saying that it wasn’t for me but that it might be for you (my blog follower)

  2. I agree with you. Negative reviews should justify why a book was bad and not just written for the sake of writing off a book. They should be posted because they save a lot of time.

  3. I can see the point from both sides of this argument. Personally, I will always post an honest review on Goodreads no matter what my rating or where I got the book from. With my blog, if it’s an ARC I’ll generally post a full review either way as, like you said, I’m obliged to in exchange for receiving the book but if it’s just one from my TBR I’ll post a quick wrap up in one of my mini review posts. I love to shout about books I love but I also feel like I have an obligation to be honest. I do try to be constructive in my negative reviews though as opposed to just being negative.
    Gemma @ http://www.gemmasbooknook.blogspot.com

  4. I totally agree with you, I’m not blogging to sell books. I warn writers and publicists that I only write honest reviews and have been kicked off several street teams for writing reviews that were less than complimentary and/or with fewer stars than they demanded. I’m posting my opinion, good or bad. Although I try not to be nasty about it unless the book was totally vile and/or poorly written. While a book may not my cup of tea, it most likely would still be a tasty treat to someone else.

    • That makes sense. Personally, I have a hard time DNFing books, especially since by the time I fully form a “negative” opinion of a book I am always more than half way finished it, so I feel like I should just continue to read it since I am already so far into it.

  5. I feel honesty is the most important, not making friends. I have made people upset I’m sure. I just want others to know what I think .

  6. I agree with you. Even when I post a review for a book I didn’t enjoy and am giving a lower star rating, I try to find something positive to point out.

  7. I agree with you completely that posting negative reviews isn’t necessarily bad. I’ve personally done it. BUT I make sure not to tag the author, because a book is an author’s baby and who really wants to read all that negativity about something you put your heart and soul into? It just seems like the polite thing to do, you know? But that’s just me. Anyway, I enjoyed this post! Thanks for writing it πŸ™‚

  8. I am so happy to see so many people support your opinion. I am both an author and a reviewer. As an author, I can tell if the negative–or let’s call them critical–comments in the review are well grounded and point to a genuine weakness of the work, or are a result of the reviewer/commenter posting their opinion without giving the work proper consideration. Thus, I can usually nod in agreement as I read critical reviews of my own work, and I think that’s a healthy way to be an author.
    As a reviewer, I strive to justify my criticism — that is my job. In fact, I’m just about to embark on a whole series of blog posts on the subject of how to form a defensible opinion about a book πŸ™‚

  9. I find it difficult to write reviews on a book that wasn’t (entirely) to my liking but I always try to not bash the book and author you know? Every author has put a lot of work and effort into writing their book(s) – something I could never do – and I respect them for it. And liking and not liking a book is so personal. What I like, could be hated by someone else and vice versa… I always talk about what wasn’t to my liking but then I also want to point out the things I did like. I don’t like giving only negative thoughts on a book. Thankfully it rarely happens that I didn’t like a book at all and still… Even if it’s the case of not liking a book AT ALL, I try to explain as to why I didn’t really like it but I also point out that if you’re interested in the book, you should give it a go nonetheless. But I do think being honest is important. If I didn’t like certain things, I Do want to point them out, otherwise I shouldn’t review books at all if I’d only be positive about everything because that isn’t realistic either I think. Honesty is the most important thing when reviewing books, to me, but I always try to find a balance between being honest and not bashing a book/author since reading books is something personal. Everyone likes and don’t likes a book for different reasons.

  10. My blog has always been about giving 100% honest feedback on a book and that means if an author or publisher asks us to read a book that no matter what the rating of the book is the review is going on – with exception to books we DNF as I feel that unless I’ve completed a book I can’t judge it as a whole so don’t review these. We have books that have a one star rating on the blog, there aren’t many of them – I think around 2 or 3 of them in four years, and a handful of two star ratings too. Plenty of three stars though. I don’t like giving negative reviews but I’m not here to sell the book to you, I’m here to give my honest opinion on it and if that makes you buy the book then that is a bonus. My policy is that the review has to stick to the plot, characters, setting, writing etc. Never include anything about the author in negative reviews and never slate the book but be critical nicely.

  11. I agree completely. I think that as reviewers, we have a duty to be honest to our readers about how we feel about a book. When I write a negative review, I always try to point out something positive about the book as well. I also don’t trust bloggers who are always throwing around 4 and 5 star ratings because realistically you’re not going to love every book that you read.

  12. I think posting negative reviews on your blog is a good thing as well as posting positive ones. If I do have to post a review for a book that I didn’t like, I try to be as nice as possible when writing my review. Like I don’t want to bash the book or author for writing the book, because it just might not have worked out for me but others may love it. I also try to find some things I liked about it too. I think negative reviews are just as important as positive ones. Great post!

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