Being able to trust a book review on popular sites such as Amazon and Goodreads is getting difficult. These sites have fake reviews—some good and some bad—designed to work the system by raising and droping books in the rankings.
Amy Holman Edelman and those at IndieReader are looking to help readers with this problem. They recently created a Kickstarter campaing to raise funds for Rabble Reads, a website with aggregated book reviews for both traditionally published and self-published books. (Think Rotten Tomatoes for readers.)
“This site will help people to zero in and what’s good and what’s not,” says Holman Edelman, of Montclair, N.J. “If I want to read a book, rather than look in a bunch of different places, I can just look at the Rabble website. I’m very confident in the greater consensus.”
Only verified, trusted sources will be used to the review metrics; Rabble Reads has already begun to compile a list of sites and people who create legitimate reviews.
Sock puppets need not apply.
Rabble Reads will include any book on the market, without discretion for how the book was published. In other words, it’s not just a promotional prop for the traditional publishing houses. Rabble is as much for indie authors as for those who’ve received an advance.
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Holman Edelman created IndieReader to promote self-published authors in 2007.
“Through the IndieReader website,” she says, “I see how difficult it is for authors to have their books taken seriously and get treated on the same level. Self-published books are definitely on the level in terms of quality, and what’s being read.”
Holman Edelman points to music and movies. Indie artists, for instance, don’t seem to go through the same struggles as indie authors. And independent movies and music can get attention from mainstream media outlets without being labeled with stereotypes. Self-published books, however, don’t often seem to enjoy the same level of respect. Occasionally, even best-selling titles that happen to be self-published are left off some bestseller lists.
Beyond reviews, Rabble will include lists of bestselling authors, regardless of how the book was published; best and worst rated titles, author interviews; and more.
“It’s the first venue where traditionally published and self-published books will be listed side by side,” Holman Edelman says. “I just really think it’s a way to help get books an introduction.”