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'Books reviews should inspire reading'

11 July 2005

'Book reviews should inspire reading. They should excite, stimulate, agitate and empower readers to discover new books and avoid bad ones. They should turn you on to undiscovered authors, prompt you into finally reading the writer you have never quite got round to, and make you wonder at the world of delights that remain unread. But let's be honest. They don't, do they?...

Don't get me wrong. Reviews can sell books, and should do. When you get several positive reviews of a book around publication it can help to stimulate interest and hopefully sales. The problem is that this so rarely happens, and it won't happen while authors, agents, publishers and retailers sit back and do nothing. If the music pages can manage to feature a diverse selection of CDs, all released that week, then surely we can encourage one literary editor to do the same?'

Scott Pack of Waterstone's in the Bookseller