Book Reviews As a Tool for Assessing Publisher Reputation

Matthew L. Jordy, Eileen L. McGrath, John B. Rutledge

Abstract

This article reports on the authors’ efforts to develop a method of using book reviews to establish the reputations of publishers. The authors examined the quality of books published by de Gruyter, Greenwood, Doubleday, University of Georgia Press, and Louisiana State University Press as it is expressed in abstracts of book reviews published in the online version of Book Review Digest. The authors extracted a sample for each publisher from Book Review Digest, examined the sample, and compared each publisher sample against a control sample. Although it is true that most book reviews are positive, there are discernible variations in how reviewers express themselves about books. The study also looks at Choice as a source of book reviews, and briefly examines the relationship between price and quality. This study adds to the literature of the use of book reviews as a selection tool.

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