This is ridiculous. This book has 48 ratings and 19 reviews. It isn’t published until Feb. 2016 so all these reviewers are receiving ARCS, but most are not declaring this.
Doubleday the publisher is providing these books and Doubleday the GR member is then liking the reviews. Doubleday the member has rated a lot of books, only the ones published by them and all 5 star of course. They publish reviews that are written by their marketing department (they do declare this some of the time, but not all) and so are not reviews at all but advertising, in other words a PR release. Spin.
The majority of the ARC reviewers do not declare it is a freebie either explicitly or at all do not declare any of their books to be freebies in exchange for an almost invariably good review. It is easy to check them by looking at the review date and book publication date. Some put it on a shelf called ARC which is certainly meaningless to the majority of readers. I asked every customer who came in to my bookshop for three days this week if they knew what an ARC was. Not a single one did.
People occasionally think it’s a bit much when authors ‘like’ every single good review members write, I think it’s more than a bit much when the publisher supplies the book in exchange for a review and then likes the review having also 5* and ‘reviewed’ the book themselves.
If you look at Doubleday the member you can see that this is what the profile exists for – marketing their books, posting advertising as reviews and promoting freebie reviews. That is fair enough for a publishing company, but not as a reader, since it obviously isn’t. I think publishers as members ought to have a different status, perhaps publisher pages, like author pages.
My own declaration: I worked for Doubleday for quite a long time years ago, Great company. Pay well and promote fast. So well in fact I was able to go sailing around the world and never went back to work. So it’s nothing personal.
But I’m a reader and bookseller now and books do not make much money. I make money from repeat customers so when I promote books I have to tell them the truth and not just 5* advertising. I rely on advance reviews to get sales of new hardback books and when a publisher and a load of reviews are playing fast and loose like this I can’t trust their reviews.
I gave up ever again ordering self-published authors’ books because so many of the reviews reflected the desire of the reviewer to get more free books and not at all the content of the book meaning a lot of disappointed customers who would complain the book had been crap. I don’t want the traditional publishers to go this way too.
A note: I have friends who review only or mostly ARCS. They always declare that and they write really good reviews but not necessarily positive ones and they are in the minority.
Comment: This review was deleted by Goodreads. It is apparently against their ToS which is then fair enough, I contravened the rules. But what rule? It seems more likely Doubleday complained as it had more likes than any other review of this book and so appeared at the top of the reviews list. I’m not particularly upset about it, but I am a bit put out that I lost a long, 65 comment, discussion afterwards.
The book now has over 140 and all freebies, every one. It has an average of over 4. I appreciate that this is to create a buzz for the book, and it might help sell them, but it is damn fake. If everyone had to declare it was a freebie in the first sentence and Doubleday had a publisher page, everything would be transparent, but the way it is done, it looks like a cynical marketing campaign endorsed by Goodreads.
I do really want to read the book, and I will order it at the earliest opportunity, I’m not put off the author by the marketing tactics of the publisher.