Freebooksy suggests that the reason for this is that readers eager to download free books choose those that have more reviews because a higher number of reviews “validates” the book and indicates it is worthy of a download. They also suggest that in the readers’ eyes, this metric is more important than the ranking (number of stars) the book has because the readers understand that some people may not like a good book and leave bad reviews.
My only qualm with this finding is that books compete with each other for advertising space on the different book blogs. Books with a greater number of reviews have a higher probability of being featured in these blogs. Thus there is a chance that the effect found by the folks at Freebooksy just reflects the fact that books with more reviews get advertised to a greater extent gaining more visibility, as opposed to readers being more likely to choose books with more reviews over those that have fewer. But if this effect is found to be true, it would give authors yet another reason to be actively engaged in gathering book reviews.
The recent finding that some authors paid for positive reviews has given book reviews a bad rap. Some people now claim that the sheer number of dishonest reviews out there makes them all but totally useless in evaluating book quality. Whether this is true or not is debatable. However, from a practical standpoint book reviews still remain an important metric in every author’s promotional equation.
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