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Does the Cost/Value of a Book Affect How You Review It?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Imagine this scenario:

You have four books to read and review.

Book #1 retails for $12.95, but you got it for free, signed by the author, in a giveaway.

Book #2 retails for $5.99 and you purchased it on sale for $3.99 (a 33% discount).

Book #3 regularly sells for $0.99 but you got it for free.

Book #4 is a hardcover that you paid $24.95 + tax for because you couldn’t wait for the paperback.

What is the inherent value of each of these books? Is the time the author of the $25 hardcover spent writing that book more valuable than the time of the author of the $0.99 book? Is the value of the book that you won in a giveaway that’s signed by the author more than the $3.99 paperback you purchased?

Then, once you’ve determined whether or not you perceive a difference in value of these books, does that perception affect the way you review them?

Will you be harder on the author of the hardcover book for which you paid so much money than you would be on the author of the $0.99 for which you paid nothing? Or, if the author of the hardcover is a favorite, but this new book disappoints, are you more likely to give the $25 book a softer review/higher rating than a $0.99 book that disappoints? Or is it the opposite? If you get a book for little to nothing, are you more willing to give the author a “free pass” with mistakes and plot holes than you are for a book you paid 25x more for?

Does the perceived value of a book affect how you review it?

2 Comments
  1. Dora permalink
    Wednesday, March 5, 2014 2:13 pm

    I never really considered this issue. Although, I think I mainly look at the price of a book to determine if I wish to purchase it or request it from the library,not whether or not I will want to read it. Once, the book is read, I don’t weight it against what I paid or didn’t pay for it. I generally look for authors I enjoy reading, when deciding whether or not to purchase a book, not the price. Although, now that most of my reading is electronic or audio, rather than hard copy, I generally download from the library or “purchase” the reduced priced books. I am interested in reading the other comments to compare.

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  2. Lady DragonKeeper permalink
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 5:43 pm

    I don’t know if the price affects me as much as the ARCs or books given to me in exchange for a review. My 5 star scale similar to goodreads, so I often feel guilty rating a review book less than a 4 (though I often rate it four and write “3 1/2 stars” in the body of my review.

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