From The Atlantic:
When Megan Nolan published her first novel, fellow authors warned her in “ominous tones” about the website Goodreads. The young Irish writer looked at the book’s listing there in the winter of 2020, the day the first proof copy arrived at her house. “Nobody but me and the publisher had seen it,” she wrote recently. “Despite this, it had received one review already: two stars, left by someone I had inconsequential personal discord with. It was completely impossible for him to have read the book.”
The terrible power of Goodreads is an open secret in the publishing industry. The review site, which Amazon bought in 2013, can shape the conversation around a book or an author, both positively and negatively. Today’s ostensible word-of-mouth hits are more usually created online, either via Goodreads or social networks such as Instagram and TikTok.
Publishers know how important these dynamics are, and so they send out advance reading copies, or ARCs, not just to independent booksellers who might stock a title, but also to influencers who might make content about it. “There’s an assumption that if you receive an ARC that you will post about it,” Traci Thomas, host of the literary podcast The Stacks, told me—“whether that’s on your Goodreads, on your Instagram, on your TikTok, tell other people in your bookstore, or whatever. And so that’s how it ends up that there’s so many reviews of a book that’s not out yet.”
Link to the rest at The Atlantic
As long-time visitors to TPV already know, PG thinks Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads many years ago was money unwisely spent. Online review sites are a dime a dozen plus the top reviews that show up on Amazon are much more important because they’re appearing at the point of sale.
There are also a zillion other places to find intelligent reviews online. Genre readers can easily locate review sites focused on romance, sci-fi, etc.