Top-Notch Book Review Sites for Readers & Writers
Book reviews are for all of us.
Readers need to know whether books with the best covers are worth the time they’re about to put into it. They find it helpful (and fun!) to check out reviews after reading the books, too, so they can see what other real-life humans had to say about it.
Authors & publishers need to get book reviews to build buzz and credibility for their product. Librarians & booksellers need to hear from trusted sources that the book they are about to buy for their collection has the capability to get picked up & to satisfy.
Book review sites have transformed the book-recommending landscape.
We can write reviews on product pages, on social media apps, and some of us, for publications that have been around since before the internet. Book reviewing has changed. But maybe it also hasn’t.
What kind of book review sites are you looking for? Chances are, this list has you covered.
Here are 30+ book review sites to read, write, and bookmark.
Does this logo look familiar? (Hint: You’re sitting on it).
IBR, the website you’re on RIGHT NOW, is all about indie books. There are so many books in the world right now, but if you feel like you keep seeing the same ones recommended over and over, start reading indie!
Independent presses & self-published authors are doing some incredible work right now. IBR reviews books, curates lists, does indie bookstore round-ups, and uses starred reviews & best-of-the-year lists to show which books are going to blow your mind.
2. Book Marks
Lit Hub rules. You already knew this.
But do you know about Book Marks? They’re a branch of the Lit Hub network, and they are an excellent way for booksellers and librarians to get shorter recaps from multiple sources and voices.
Their staff peruses book review sites and shares pull-quotes from them in book lists & more. By reading all of these sites, they can give the book a rating based on the average: “Rave, Positive, Mixed, or Pan.”
My favorite book-buying platform, Bookshop, uses Book Marks’ scale for their books’ ratings, and I love getting access to that.
Publishers Weekly has been around since 1872. By now, they’re a review churning machine. They cover so much of the book industry in so many different ways, reviewing nearly 9,000 books per year and providing publication announcements, agency announcements, industry job listings, bestseller lists, industry stats, a self-publishing partner, and more.
Another one that’s been around since before the internet! 1933 to be exact. Kirkus is a widely recognized publication that book buyers & librarians follow carefully. I dare you to find a bookstore or library that doesn’t have multiple books with Kirkus Reviews plastered on their front and back covers.
The American Library Association runs Booklist, a platform dedicated to helping libraries, educators, and booksellers choose books. They’ve got a magazine (since 1905!), book reviews, lists, awards, and one of my favorite bookish podcasts out there: Shelf Care.
As you might be able to guess, Library Journal & School Library Journal focus on librarians too! They review a ton of books, and they write often about library-related news, collection management, technology, programs, and more. If you’re an author hoping to land your book in libraries, these are essential targets.
You may have seen BookPage in your local library or bookstore. Some shops provide it for free so that patrons can look through it to find which books to buy in-store. Their website is clean and intriguing and always full of the most up-to-date releases and bestsellers.
Speaking of libraries! Have you seen our gifts for librarians?
Foreword is such an enthusiastic and dedicated champion of indie books, and they’ve been doing it since the 90s! I love how much attention university presses get here too. Their reviews are well-written & thorough, in both print & digital, and I always find something to speed-purchase once the Foreword Indie winners come out.
LoveReading is a top book-recommendation website in the UK. They’ve got starred reviews, lists, staff picks, a LitFest, eBooks, and they even donate 25% of the cover price of their books to schools of your choice. It’s reader-friendly and apparent how much they appreciate the wonder of books.
What’s not to love about The Independent?
Back in 2011, a group of writers & editors were frustrated by newspapers dropping book review sections and decided to do something about it. The Washington Independent Review of Books is quite a lovely something! This nonprofit posts every day: from reviews to interviews to essays and podcasts. They host events too!
11. Book Riot
Try being a reader and not finding something you love on Book Riot. Book lists, podcasts, personalized recommendations, newsletters, book deals—this site is a haven.
It doesn’t post solo book reviews like other sites, but they do share mini-reviews in book lists and talk about reading in unique & passionate ways. The Book Riot Podcast is such a winner too! I love listening to Jeff & Rebecca laugh about the latest in books & reading.
12. Electric Lit
From novel excerpts to original short fiction & poetry, they might not only be a book review site, but they do offer a lot in the world of book recommendations. Their Recommended Reading lit mag features unique staff picks and short, insightful book reviews.
13. The Millions
The writing in The Millions is something to behold. They are an artful source for all things book reviews & recommendations. They write stunning essays about books & reading and long reviews of new and old books. They’ve got some of my favorite Most Anticipated lists too.
What are the biggest benefits of reading? 🧐
Did you hear? Bookforum is back! This book review magazine announced in December 2022 that they were closing, and my heart sank a little bit. This company means so much to the publishing industry and has for 20+ years, so when I saw (last week!) that they are returning, I did more than a few jumps for joy.
Welcome back, Bookforum! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got coming for us in book world coverage.
BOMB is in it for the art. Art, literature, film, music, theater, architecture, and dance. There are reviews and interviews, and the literature section is a real delight. The reviews are like poignant essays, and the author interviews are in-depth and feature some fascinating minds.
The only dedicated pan-Asian book review publication! It’s widely cited and features some of the best in Asian books and art, so booksellers and librarians have a source to trust to stock their collections with high-quality pan-Asian lit.
Have you seen our gifts for book lovers yet?
I love so much of what Chicago Review of Books does. They have a clean & sleek design that features some of the buzziest books as well as plenty of hidden gems from our favorite indie presses. I’m a particularly big fan of the spotlight they put on books in translation.
18. Rain Taxi
I love Rain Taxi’s style! They champion unique books, publish their own fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and put a real emphasis on art for their magazine covers. It’s a beautiful print magazine to subscribe to, but they also share free online editions & digital archives. They even run the Rain Taxi Reading Series & Twin Cities Book Festival if you’re a real-lifer in Minnesota!
19. The Rumpus
Oh, The Rumpus! This mostly volunteer-run online magazine publishes reviews, interviews, essays, fiction, and poetry. The reviews are in-depth and personal and heart-melting, and in addition to the site, they’ve got cool perks like the Poetry Book Club and Letters in the Mail. The book club is where you get a pre-release book and meet the poet via Slack with other club members at the end of the month, and Letters in the Mail are actual postcards sent in the mail to you twice a month from your favorite authors.
20. Book Reporter
The selection in Book Reporter is carefully curated & enticing: hot new releases, forthcoming books, major presses, & indies. And there are plenty of unique ways to learn about them, like video interviews and monthly lists & picks. It launched in 1996 and is in The Book Report Network, which includes Reading Group Guides, a super useful resource for book clubs.
BookTrib does such a great job of making their site browsable. The different ways you can enjoy what they offer—from book lists to giveaways to ebook deals—are difficult to keep your purchase finger off of.
23. Lit Reactor
Writers & readers—where bookish people meet! LitReactor’s book reviews are in the magazine portion of their website, and they’ve got plenty of them! Reviews, interviews, lists, introspectives, writing tips, and reading discussions. I’ve found some really unique content on Lit Reactor, like this ranking of literary parents. The website is a haven for writers especially, as there are workshops, writing blog posts, and even a forum to participate in.
Dark alleys. Stray bullets. Hard-boiled detectives. Runaway thrills. If you’re a mystery-thriller reader, you’ve got to know about Crime Fiction Lover. They’ve got a passionate group of readers and writers talking about the best books in the genre and the ones that are soon to come out too.
25. SF Book Reviews
Speculative fiction fans unite! SF Book Reviews has been reviewing sci-fi and fantasy books since 1999, and while they’re a relatively small staff, they publish regularly, feature books of the month, and work wonders for their fantastical community.
For all you historical fiction fans out there, the Historical Novel Society has reviewed more than 20,000 books in its twenty years. This one works like a membership for “writers and readers who love exploring the past.” You get a quarterly print magazine as a member, and if you’re a writer, you can join critique groups and ask for book reviews.
The Poetry Question writes about poetry published by indie presses and indie authors. They are a small passionate team dedicated to showing the world why indie presses continue to be a leading source for award-winning poetry.
Did you know that there are over 125 million members on Goodreads? When users review books, they can have conversations with fellow readers and follow reviewers too. If you’re looking for the biggest community, there’s no doubt Goodreads is the one. I like using sites like this because it helps you catalog books, one of my favorite ways to build a strong reading habit.
29. The Storygraph
A big community of active users that’s Amazon free! Come review books, use half & quarter stars (!), and complete reading challenges. You got this.
Bookwyrm is small (around 5,000 members at the time of this writing), but doesn’t that sound kind of nice? There are active members and a genuine collective goal in talking books. Grow with it. I think you’ll be comfy here. There are other communities within the Bookwyrm umbrella too, like Bookrastinating.
30. Reedsy Discovery
I hold a special place in my heart for book review sites dedicated to helping writers! I got into this business as a book marketer, and I experienced first-hand, through hundreds of books, how hard it was to get exposure & validation for small press and self-published authors.
Reedsy Discovery is a branch of Reedsy (the author resource company) that connects authors & reviewers so that people can read free books, sometimes receive tips for it, and authors can get more reviews in the process. Readers can choose from the latest books as well as the ones that are getting the best reviews.
Netgalley is a book review site for pre-released books. Reviewers sign up for a free account, request galleys from publishers and indie authors, and get to read them before they’re published so that they can leave reviews for the book, preferably on Amazon, Goodreads, or their blog. They also run Bookish, the editorial arm of Netgalley, which has book recommendations, interviews, and more.
32. Online Book Club
This review site combines a bunch of cool things! The 4-million member community gives me a lot of Goodreads vibes, especially with the Bookshelves app. But Online Book Club is a place for you to get eBook deals and talk about books in reviews and forums.
What are your favorite book review sites to follow? Let us know in the comments!
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