Study: Readers trust amateur book reviews as much expert book reviews

WASHINGTON – Literary critic. It is one of the most prestigious positions at a paper. But are their opinions worth the paper they’re printed on?

A study from the Harvard Business School says when it comes to book reviews, readers trust each other as much as they trust the so-called experts.

The study’s authors found that online reviewers at sites like were usually kinder to new authors, while media critics heaped praise on established literary figures. Amazon has a specific page for consumer reviews

The study also found that media critics chose books based on their ability to sell papers, increase their audience and hype ratings, rather than for the content of the book itself.

Some critics who were quoted disagreed with the study’s findings. Forty media outlets were studied, including the Washington Post and the New York Times.

WTOP’s Del Walters contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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