I've been reading recently about companies that sell book reviews. Today The New York Times published The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy. It's a long article, so I'll quote a couple of juicy bits.
1. A professor from the University of Illinois, Chicago "estimates that about one-third of all consumer reviews on the Internet
2. One woman who worked for the company profiled in this article described her work process: "For a 50-word review, she said she could find “enough information on the
Internet so that I didn’t need to read anything, really.” For a
300-word review, she said, “I spent about 15 minutes reading the book.”
She wrote three of each every week as well as press releases. In a few
months, she earned $12,500."
Reading this article suggests that readers should be particularly leery of books that have large numbers of 5 star reviews, since those are the most popular purchases. I have to wonder if some day we'll be seeing writers announcing, "I am a 3 star writer, and I'm proud!" Or at least "I'm honest!" or "I'm not out a lot of money!"