How to Read a Book Review

Deborah Grant-Dudley

Reading a book review is not as simple as you might think. Other readers’ views are often not particularly helpful. Because what you want to know, and what they want to say, are not the same.

Image of a woman looking at a laptop screen with an expression of confusion.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I’m not talking about professional book reviewers here. Or people who review books on blogs, podcasts, social media, or video sites, as a service to readers. That’s a whole other conversation. This post is about reviews on book retailer websites, or reading websites. Which can be posted by almost anyone.

You may have very different preferences and views to the reviewer. So is there even any value in reading the reviews? How do you filter the useful reviews from the unhelpful ones?

Ratings versus reviews

Let’s start with the difference between ratings and reviews. Ratings are the number of stars a book has been given, out of five…

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