3-2 Get Industry Book Reviews

Book reviews are important in the early and perhaps ultimate success of a book. If the author’s book is favorably reviewed by one of the major newspapers or book review services, it is more likely to be ordered by libraries and other institutions that rely on reviews as a way to choose among the many books that are published each year.

There are two categories of publications that review books: one inside the book-buying industry, the other aimed at consumers.

1. The four main industry review services are PW (used to be called Publishers Weekly), Midwest Book Review, Library Journal (sister publication of PW), and Booklist (published by the American Library Association). PW, the largest, reviews about 10,000 books every year.

2. Consumer reviews are in the major U.S. newspapers such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, as well as more local newspapers, magazines and business and trade journals.

Newer sources of reviews include online reader reviews. You can list the author’s book with these services and regular reviewers may choose to review the book. Different services cater to different types of books and readers. Some of the more reputable online reviewing services (free) include:

Send Copies to Consumer Reviewers

It is important to compile a list of trade and consumer publications that are likely to be interested in reviewing the author’s book. These might include local newspapers and magazines or newspapers and magazines that cater to the people interested in the subject matter on which the author is writing. Check into review requirements printed in the publications themselves or on their web sites. The New York Times now has an ebook Best Seller List.

Send Copies to Industry Reviewers

The circumstances under which a book will be accepted for review, the “submission guidelines,” include:

• Timing: How far in advance of the publication date you need to send a book or advance reading copy (also called prepublication review copies)

• Quality: Whether the review service wants finished books or only advance reading copies

• Paid or non-paid: The possibility that the book will be reviewed by non-paid readers who do not guarantee that the review will be favorable

Send the book with a cover letter that gives all the relevant data on the book: title; author; price; press release; info on intended book audience; author bio; name, address, and telephone number of publisher; publication date; number of pages; and ISBN number, if available.

Advance reading copies are books in galley form (typeset but not bound yet with the final cover) or books printed digitally for the purpose or providing copies for early review. Because so many books are printed digitally now in short print runs, this is almost an antiquated term, but you will still see it used.

The following independent (unpaid) review services are considered the most prestigious. Each receives thousands of books to review every year, but getting reviewed at any one of them represents a tremendous boost to the potential book sales.

Midwest Book Review

• Reviews only finished copies of the book
• Must include a publicity release or media kit
• Gives priority to small publishers, academic presses, specialty publishers and self-published books. Be sure to identify a self published book as a “small press” book
• Non-paid reviews
• Reviews about 33 percent of the books submitted
• Contact info:
Mr. James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Dr. Oregon, WI 53575-1129

Library Journal Book Review

• Wants to receive books three to four months in advance of publication date for prepublication review
• Prefers advance reading copies but will accept finished copies from small presses
• Non-paid reviews
• Receives 40,000 books annually and reviews 6,000 (15 percent)
• Contact info:
Book Review Editor
Library Journal
160 Varick Street 11th floor
New York, NY 10013

Publisher’s Weekly

• Wants to receive books at least three months prior to the month of publication and never reviews books after publication
• Reviews self-published books with print runs of at least 2,000, which are distributed by a reputable distributor.
• Requires two copies of any book submitted.
• Has a quarterly review of the best self published books

• Contact info:
Publishers Weekly/Nonfiction
71 West 23 St. #1608
New York, NY 10010

Booklist (American Library Association)

• Wants to receive galleys at least four months prior to publication date, but will also take finished copies if four months prior to pub date
• Requires two copies of any book submitted
• Non-paid reviews
• Contact info:
Brad Hooper
50 E. Huron
Chicago, IL 60611
Booklist Online

Watch a Slidecast

Next Steps

Download material for your notebook

Button - how to guide

Button - 3 to a page slides


Download a PDF version of the log on this page to use with authors
Download an Excel version of the log on this page to use with authors


Are you feeling stuck?

Go to our Facebook page to ask your book question and get a good answer.