Sep 2, 2013

Posted by in Question | 31 Comments

Question – Do You Think It’s Right For A Publisher To Ask Not To Post A Low Rated Review?

Question Visual Again

I was chatting with a blogger friend of mine a short while ago and she told me that the oddest thing happened to her:  she received a review copy of a book and was asked by the publisher to only post a review for it if she was giving it a high rating.

Um…what?!  O-o

I had never heard of such a thing.  I mean, what happened to honest reviews and personal opinions and all that jazz?  I would understand the publisher’s reluctance if the blogger in question made it her mission in life to hate everything she read and write unprofessional and inappropriate reviews but that is not the case at all!
As for me, I actually had the opposite thing happen.  One day when I first started blogging, I was reading a review book and was NOT getting into it at all.  Because it was that bad.  They said yes!  I was shocked but impressed.

So what are your views on this?  Should a publisher be allowed to ask a reviewer not to post a low-rated review?  Do you think that’s right?


  1. I have had that happen to me in a review request from a small press pub a couple of weeks ago. It’s an absurd request. –I didn’t even consider reading the book at that point. They lost me as a reader when they tried to dictate terms for me as a reviewer.

  2. I just had this same conversation with peeps at AADSAV. I don’t agree with the policy and would not accept the book if that was the request. HOWEVER, I did receive a request recently from a blog tour company that if the rating was less than a 3, to please hold off the review until after the tour was completed. They did not ask NOT to publish it, just not as part of the blog tour. They even offered a “spotlight post” for the tour, if the review was less than a 3. I was torn on that. They didn’t ask me not to post a low review, just asked me to wait. I wondered what people thought of that.

  3. Readsalot81 says:

    Well.. my blogmate (Steph at @ParanormalHaven) fields the blog requests.. but I can honestly say if I were given terms like that, I’d refuse to read the book.

    I haven’t had anyone go nuts over a bad review I’ve written (knock on wood) (or maybe they email my blogmate privately for all I know).. and I don’t get all huffy when bloggers I like write negative reviews of books I love. It happens. By muffling (ahem, I mean requesting to NOT put out a review that happens to be less than a 3) the blogger’s reviews, you’re doing a disservice to the entire blogging community.

    All books are, in fact, not created equal.. and I like seeing a wide range of reviews so I’m able to get a better feel of what I’ll be reading and purchasing. By doing 3 +’s only, you ruin that for me.. and damned if I’ll ever feel like reading or reviewing for someone that asks me to do that.

  4. 99% of the time, I’d say that’s a big red flag for me. If they’re giving the book in exchange for “an honest review” then my 2 star review should be allowed. However, I do understand when tours ask you not to publish a less than 3 star review as part of the tour. The tour has a specific purpose of promoting the book with positive hype. That’s only ok with me though, if they allow you to remove yourself from the tour and post the review separate from the tour.

  5. No, No, No! I depend on my bloggers giving me reviews good, bad, and the ugly. Once I read enough reviews then I decide whether to buy the book or not.

  6. I don’t think a reputable publisher should ever place “terms” on providing review copies. Erf!

  7. I would decline the request to read the book – it is dishonest to ask a reviewer to only post positive reviews.

  8. I’m the friend Julie is talking about and the publisher is one of the big ones. The funny thing is that the book is not by a new author but by a “famous” one. One I love and have never given a bad review.
    What the publisher said was this “If you found your review to be unfavorable, please refrain from posting”.
    I want to read the book but reviewing it after that warning I’m sure will leave a bad taste in my mouth.

  9. I don’t think it’s okay if it’s a regular review copy. They give you the book, they accept the risk that you won’t like it.
    The only situation where I think it’s okay is if you’re on the blog tour for that book and they ask you to hold back negative reviews (below three stars) until the tour is over. The author is paying to have their book promoted, not bashed, so I get it if they don’t want to draw attention to negative reviews.

  10. No! Back when I was reviewing, the shock of this never wore off. Reviews need to be honest. I will even question if I want to read a book “everyone loved” and wonder why no one found a single thing to complain about since someone, somewhere ALWAYS finds something to complain about. When I read reviews, I always read the bad/lower star reviews. A bad or low review does not mean I will not read it, in fact many times it is the reason I read the book. One of my favorite books actually has very mixed reviews and it never ceases to amaze me the number of people who gave it low reviews, but I chose to read it anyway and LOVED it.

  11. Jen – I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t read the book either…

    Twimom, Berls & Carmen – I think that asking you to wait to post your review until after a tour is acceptable. Carmen, you said it well: the author is paying for promotion and a negative review is not what she is paying for. But posting the review after the tour is done still lets readers know how you feel without taking away from ‘release time buzz’.

    Readsalot – You are absolutely correct with how different reviews will give you a better idea of a book. I think it’s important to see good and negative reviews out there. As long as they are well written. 🙂

    Vicki – I would have trouble trusting a reviewer if they only ever gave 100% reviews. It would look too suspicious lol.

    Jeffe – The publisher in question here is a major house! I am hoping that the publicist is new and made a mistake lol.

    Lauren – And I feel it shows lack of confidence on the publisher’s part. It’s almost like saying “you’re probably not going to like this book because it’s poop but here it and hope you actually like it”…

    Bookaholic Cat – I know you usually enjoy that series! Read it from the library and don’t post a review at all 😉

    blodeuedd – Agreed.

    Courtney – I have heard similar things from others before. Many books they read weren’t really enjoyed by many but they loved them! And you may read an unfavorable review and it may point out all of the things this reviewer didn’t like…and they all turn out being things you usually enjoy in a book! So you buy the book and love it. If you had never read that review, you would have missed out on a great book for you.

  12. I don’t think it’s okay, but I’ve heard of this quite a bit. Like many others above, it would make me refuse the request and maybe not want to deal with that publisher anymore. It’s unprofessional.

  13. We had that happen a few years ago — a small press publisher was livid we gave a book a 3 out of 5 and demanded we take the review down because, as she said, she would never accept a book that was less than a 5. We refused. She got pretty nasty, threatened to sue us, yada yada. She said she’d put us out of business. We’ve been in business since 2001 and we’re still in business and still getting more requests for review than we can actually do the review so her threat didn’t do much except turn us all off on doing any more reviews for that publisher which was fine because she never submitted to us again. That company is now out of business.

  14. Erica Pillera says:

    Wow this is terrible I cant believe the nerve.

    Ive never been asked but my answer would be a big fat NO!!

  15. so weird, it never happenned to me either… I don’t understand why anyone should keep his review because of the rate. It’s really not normal

  16. Wow. Seems I agree with everyone else, it would turn me off from reading the book. Honest review, that is what bloggers offer and that is what a publisher should expect.

  17. As a reader, I eat up the reviews on several book blogs before I decide if a book is worth buying. I don’t think you should hold back regardless of a promotional tour, or a negative review. We trust in your opinions, and it is unfair and dishonest to hold back an unfavorable review for a writer on a promotional tour. So many writers and publishers tell us to buy books within days on release to show our interest and support of writers with our money so that they will continue to get published. We don’t know when you’ve held back negative or luke warm opinions, or you’re just too busy with your real life to post until we’ve been suckered into a crappy book that we can’t in good conscience give to our best reading buddies.

  18. WTH?!?! *SMH*, I don’t think it’s right at all! Every publisher and every author should understand that 100% of the reading population is going to enjoy your work. There are books that I LOVE and my friends didn’t like them at all and vice versa…but if you’re a publisher and you’re going to send your book to someone for a review, then you better expect them to review it whether they liked it or not. If you didn’t want honest reviews, then you shouldn’t be sending your books out to reviewers for them to read and review. That is all I have to say about that. 😛 😉

  19. I feel sorry for the authors, I’m sure they did not ask for that. They may even be expecting a review. The publisher (probable because they are large) is over stepping here. The job of a reviewer is to review good or bad, the job of the publisher is to publish. You may want to add a policy when getting books from a publisher stating you review all books not just the good ones.
    When I see a book that looks good I go to different review sites and read what they say. I do expect my reviewers to be honest, but I don’t judge the book by just one review. The more sites the book is reviewed on the better chances I will buy it. Unless all the sites have bad reviews. I know which reviewer I agree with most and which I agree with sometimes and not at all. So even if you don’t like the book its still in the best interest of the publisher for you to review it. I am not saying you (bookaholic cat)should review this book just that the publisher is losing because they have degraded themselves by asking. (btw great post on Adam Levine!)

  20. Well, that is just wrong. I am not in the habit of accepting books for review, only rarely do I accept as I hate reading on command when my own new books pile up. I do understand the request to wait until after the blog tour.

  21. Midnyte Reader – It would make me question dealing with the publisher too. But what if it was a major pub who puts out most of your favorite reads?! I would be torn then…

    Gina – Shut you down?! Holy cow…. That’s nuts.

    Erica – Big fat NO is right!

    melliane – No, it’s not normal.

    Lexi – An honest review is what I expect and what I try to write. I would hope everyone is the same.

    Nikki – Good point about readers not knowing if we held back for a book tour. Hmm…makes me think…

    Deanna – Exactly! Not everyone will enjoy the book no matter how amazing the publisher or writer thinks it is!

    Jamie – I feel for the author too. You are correct, it is not her fault. Yet thanks to her publisher, she is being penalized. Not right…

    aurian – Reading on command can get tricky lol

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