Welcome to What Do You Think Thursday, a periodic feature in which I pick a topic, tell you what I think, and invite you to discuss.
When I was a newer blogger, I'd often get comments on my reviews that went something like this: "I haven't read/reviewed this book yet, so I'm going to come back and read your review later."
I don't get comments like that anymore, which means that one of two things happened:
1) I don't post as many early reviews as I used to. This is possibly true, though I haven't done any kind of statistical analysis.
2) More people have become like me: they don't avoid early reviews.
I used to be an Early Review Avoider. I think I was afraid that if I read another blogger's review before I read the book, I'd be influenced by their opinion -- that I'd somehow absorb their opinion instead of forming my own. (There also seemed to be more incidents of blogger plagiarism going on a couple years ago, so that spooked a lot of us, I think....)
So while I used to like to go into reading and reviewing blind:
I don't anymore. I definitely scan early reviews, especially if I'm torn about whether to request a book or not. That's because:
1) I now have a better understanding of my reading preferences. I've become better at reading early reviews and using them to decide if a book is for me. And, hey, if I change my mind and miss out on requesting a review copy, I can always buy the book after it comes out.
2) I've read so much YA that I've developed RAS (Review Amnesia Syndrome) and a related disorder, SAS (Synopsis Amnesia Syndrome). Between the time I request a book and the time I read it, I often forget what the book was about, why I wanted to read it, and what anybody thought of it.
3) I've become comfortable having an opinion on a book that goes against all the reviews I've read. Most often, that means I perfectly okay liking a book that others are sort of "meh" on. Like this one, for example.
But that's just me -- every reader needs to do what feels right to them. I don't think there's anything wrong with avoiding early reviews, or not reading reviews until you've figured out what you think of a book.
Where do you come out on this? Do you find early reviews helpful, or avoid them like the plague? Let me know in comments.