Much of my reading over the past year has been influenced by #bookstagram, the beautiful bookish corner of Instagram our likeminded friends hang out on. In the past couple of years, publishers have caught on to how beneficial bookstagram can be for new releases and have helped turn the hygge vibes into influencer and book stack central. This means new releases are getting LOTS of hype, whether people are reading the books or not. This can be a great thing because it brings awareness to books people might not have known about. As a bookstagrammer myself, it’s always exciting to have my hard work recognized by publishers, which allows me to sometimes receive free books.
However, lately, I’ve noticed many of the hyped books which have boasted exceptional reviews from many of the big named reviewers have been subpar reads for me. It’s made me question if the reviews are authentic or if the reviewers are worried the publisher might drop them from their mailing list.
It seems the advance reviews of books are mostly glowing, then once a book releases and through a bit of wading, one begins to find the “unpopular opinions”. Naturally, it’s difficult to judge whether someone truly loves a book based on their review – it is an opinion after all. But, I do believe the numerous ARCs, publisher relationships, and author pushback recently regarding reviews have all placed pressure on influencers to shine a positive light on most books they are reading. This obviously leads to more readers picking up the book, and in my case lately, feeling as if I’ve wasted precious time on what should have been a new favorite based on popular opinion.
This raises the question – are reviewers compromising their integrity to save face?
Do you trust the reviews you read or do you prefer to make up your own mind?