Or, I should say, conventional wisdom suggests a lot of somebody's should be looking embarrassed after this weekend's New York Times article on buying book reviews. Salon has an article arguing that the news is a step back in self-publishing's quest for respect, since you're not hearing a lot about, say, Joyce Carol Oates or John Irving laying down cold, hard cash for a few five-star customer reviews. Shelf Awareness's comments on the Times article include the following: "Locke and others who pay for reviews may have benefited handsomely: Amazon reportedly does major online and e-mail marketing pushes for books that receive a certain amount of four- and five-star reviews, efforts that are greater than for some established authors. These programs have created bestselling authors, some of whom were then signed by traditional publishers."
Please note that that quote includes the word "reportedly," as in "Amazon reportedly does major online and e-mail marketing pushes..." So, interesting as that tidbit is, it's something we've heard but can't be sure is true.
Yesterday a friend sent me a link to the original NYT article to make sure I knew about it. And I heard from a writer friend this morning who told me he's heard of a site where you can buy a book review for just $5. No, I did not ask him how to find it.