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Hints and tips for finding book reviews in journals, magazines, and online.
Last Updated: Nov 11, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Types of Book Reviews

Life is an Open Book

A good critical book or literary review, in addition to describing the narrative or topic of a book, will supply an analytical study of the contents. For non-fiction books, it will also discuss an author's argument, style, evidence, and conclusions. A book/literature reviewer may also compare a particular book with similar works. Book reviews and literary criticism may also judge a work's contribution to a field or knowledge base, and supply substantial biographical information about the author.

  • Popular book reviews are found in mainstream publications, ranging from Newsweek to the local newspaper. If you want popular reviews, search publications up to one year after the book was published, reprinted, or issued as a new editon. Note that some, though not all, popular book reviews may be quite short.
  • Scholarly reviews are found in academic journals that are peer reviewed or in other authoratative compilations, such as websites maintained by scholarly societies. Search publications for up to three years after the book was published when seeking scholarly reviews. 

Tip:  Keep in mind that many books are never reviewed.

Photo by Dharmit Shah


How to begin

This guide serves as an overview in locating book reviews, both scholarly and general interest. 

A couple of things to keep in mind:

The vast majority of books published are never reviewed. If you exhaust the resources in this guide looking for a review, there is a good chance the book was not reviewed.

Book reviews generally appear near the time of the book's publication. A book review may include a summary of the subject of the book, a discussion of style, or comparisons with similar books. When searching for book reviews, you will need to confirm (perhaps on Amazon):

  • The name of the author.
  • The exact book title.
  • The year of copyright or publication.


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