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message 1: by Bridgit (new)

Bridgit | 475 comments I'll preface this by saying that no offense is meant by this post.

That said, does anyone have an opinon of Harriet Klausner? (For those that don't know, she is the number 1 reviewer on Amazon).

Has anyone actually met her? Has anyone heard the rumor that she is not a real person?

I personally don't believe that she reads all those books. It seems like she reviews at least 5 books a day. I know we have some really fast readers on here, but I think her 'pace' is impossible.

Also, considering every review i have EVER read of hers is 4 or 5 stars, I think her reviews are pretty useless. I have seen numerous occasions where she gives the book five stars, but almost every other reviewer gives her 1-2 stars.

Has anyone ever read a review of hers that helped?

That said, I am quite jealous of all the free review copies she gets.


message 2: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 94 comments If she works for amazon, it makes sense. bad reviews don't sell books. Amazon is in the biz of selling books. it'd be hard for her to keep her objectivity ...and her job.




message 3: by Mocha Girl (new)

Mocha Girl (mochagirl) | 6 comments Bridgit wrote: "I'll preface this by saying that no offense is meant by this post.

That said, does anyone have an opinon of Harriet Klausner? (For those that don't know, she is the number 1 reviewer on Amazon)..."


Her reviews are useless to me because as you mentioned she always gives a 4 or 5 stars and a hastily written book/plot synopsis that I can easily get from the publisher's description or PW review. So I mainly ignore her contributions/reviews.



message 4: by JSou (new)

JSou I've never even heard of her. Though I never buy books or read reviews on Amazon. If I do buy books online, it's either from Better World Books or B&N. That does sound kind of suspicious. 5 books a day...really? It would be nice getting all of those free reviewer's copies though.

When I want to read book reviews, I come here to Goodreads, where I know I can find an honest review about the book I'm looking for.


message 5: by Mocha Girl (new)

Mocha Girl (mochagirl) | 6 comments Jessica wrote: "I've never even heard of her. Though I never buy books or read reviews on Amazon. If I do buy books online, it's either from Better World Books or B&N. That does sound kind of suspicious. 5 boo..."

I agree -- GoodReads has much more in depth, honest reviews and critical analysis of books than Amazon.


message 6: by Bridgit (new)

Bridgit | 475 comments j wrote: "If she works for amazon, it makes sense. bad reviews don't sell books. Amazon is in the biz of selling books. it'd be hard for her to keep her objectivity ...and her job.

"


I'm pretty sure she doesnt actually have an affiliation with Amazon. She is just the most frequent reviewer there. So TECHNICALLY they shouldnt have a bias because of that.

I believe she has explained at some point that she just doesnt post reviews for books she doesnt like becuase she feels bad. BUT that would mean that she reads MORE than 5 books a day.


message 7: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 94 comments Maybe she has a Phd from Evelyn Woods. LOL

I can see her point, although it lessens her credibility. I don't post bad reviews, especially when we're dealing with something so subjective. How a writer can slam another writer, I've never understood. If their review is not constructive, it says more about the reviewer than the reviewed. Reader reviews are another story. I see them more as personal opinions.


message 8: by El (new)

El But aren't writers also readers?


message 9: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne (Bellamy22) | 610 comments I agree completely, Jess...


message 10: by El (new)

El Her Amazon profile does say she's a speedreader and reads usually 2 books a day. I suppose if she doesn't work or other responsibilities it wouldn't be unheard of to read and review a few books a day. I think it would also depend on what kinds of books she reads - some genres are easier to breeze through than others. I'm always a little suspicious of these sorts of reviewers too though... but I'm just throwing this out as a devil's advocate.


message 11: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Actually she reads 40 a day.. If you look at the dates on her reviews she posts up to 40 reviews a day sometimes.

Until recently, I posted my reviews on Amazon but I have grown so tired of the corruption, I have quit. First, you have people voting on reviews to books they have already read. Does anybody stop and think that reviews are not about whether or not you agree with a person, but does it help you decide whether or not to purchase that book?? I have grown so tired of being "attacked' because I don't LOVE a book someone else did. They need to do away with the voting and comment thing completely on Amazon.

Second, their top reviwers.. give me a break. They want the free books so bad, they give the worse written stuff a 5 star review.

Third, authors go on under fake names and post fake reviews for their own books. I have wasted so much money on those books. LOL


message 12: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 94 comments Sorry El, but writers are not readers. Think about it. Can you read a book without noticing technical aspects -- grammar, syntax, wordy, opps typo? Than you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. LOL


message 13: by Bridgit (last edited Feb 05, 2010 01:31PM) (new)

Bridgit | 475 comments Tara wrote: "Actually she reads 40 a day.. If you look at the dates on her reviews she posts up to 40 reviews a day sometimes.

Until recently, I posted my reviews on Amazon but I have grown so tired of the..."


That's exactly what I'm talking about. The number of reviews she posts a day is absurd. I just used the number five because I didnt bother to look up the actual number - BECAUSE FIVE is ridiculous enough. 40 is just fraudulent in my opinion.




message 14: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Phyllis wrote: "Jessica wrote: "I've never even heard of her. Though I never buy books or read reviews on Amazon. If I do buy books online, it's either from Better World Books or B&N. That does sound kind of su..."

I have to add that goodreads has its bad seeds too. I posted a review for The Woman Who Would Be Pharaoh: A Novel of Ancient Egypt and gave it one star.. Within weeks, some lady comes on here, give it 5 stars and writes a review attacking MY review. LOL


message 15: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Bridgit, so true. I wouldn't even want the free books if I had to review 40 a day.. I wouldn't have time to thoroughly enjoy them! I am a fast reader but it takes me one day to read a 200 some page book and that is on my day off of work. 40 a day? Impossible!


message 16: by Bridgit (new)

Bridgit | 475 comments Tara wrote: "Bridgit, so true. I wouldn't even want the free books if I had to review 40 a day.. I wouldn't have time to thoroughly enjoy them! I am a fast reader but it takes me one day to read a 200 some pa..."

I just went and counted. She added ,63 reviews today. To me, that means she is not a real person and just a marketing scheme. And frankly I find that insulting as a reader and a consumer.


message 17: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Holy moly!!!! That's gotta be a new record. You know what else is funny? Have you heard about the really controversial book with that author behaving badly? Electra Galaxy's Mr. Interstellar Feller? Harriet posted a review for that and got (last I looked) over 160 negatives.. BUT it didn't hurt her rating any.


message 18: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Ok.. only 12 out of 146 people liked that four star review but she still up there. LOL


message 19: by Tara (last edited Feb 05, 2010 03:30PM) (new)

Tara Chevrestt LOL. My friend Misfit posted this link today. Apparently a few days ago, Harriet wrote a review for a quilting how to book.. and you must look for yourselves but I fell off my stool laughing.. I guess she posted the wrong review for the wrong book... http://www.amazon.com/review/R160A1Z0...

Much thanks to my friend for finding this.. I got a good laugh. I had to post it since we were discussing this today.


message 20: by El (new)

El j wrote: "Sorry El, but writers are not readers. Think about it. Can you read a book without noticing technical aspects -- grammar, syntax, wordy, opps typo? Than you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din...."

I guess I don't understand your point. Some of the best writers in history were or are voracious readers.


message 21: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 9809 comments Mod
Wow. I WISH I could read that many in a day. I would clean off my to-read shelves in less than a week :)

Are all her reviews are generic and blurb-ish as the one you linked Tara? She is not really reading them, methinks. She is just snatching and posting and snatching and posting. But why? What is she getting from it?




message 22: by Carol (new)

Carol Her name in lights so to speak. We are talking about her.


message 23: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Free books. All these publishers probably send her free books in exchange for the 4 or 5 star review but how she finds time to enjoy any of them is beyond me. Or it could all be just for the title of number one reviewer. People have asked her but she never responds to any comments posted on her reviews. No time I guess. LOL

It makes authors look bad tho when they have a HK review. I have a lot of friends that balk at reading a book completely when they see a review by her on it.


message 24: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 9809 comments Mod
She hasnt made her way over here though, has she? I havent heard of her.


message 25: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt No. Not unless she has another name. LOL. I don't think she would have the time. My guess is she is being paid for fake reviews, in money or books, I don't know. Well, goodreads isn't gonna pay for fake reviews.. so what would be the benefit in coming over here and posting 63 reviews a day?


message 26: by Carol (new)

Carol Do they pay us for reviews I think not. I think our reviews are spot on. So much better than hers, because we actually read the books.


message 27: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Carol, funny thing. A book I have, actually has her quoted on the page of rave reviews for another book by the same author.. It has her review on page three and her name and says "independent reviewer" after it. After her name and title, it says Barnes and Noble.com so I dunno who pays her but it looks fishy. Sad thing is, it is actually a good book but with her reviewing it, it not racking up lots of sales. LOL


message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol You would think the authors would put up a stink. Surely they notice people are not buying their books because of that. I would ask the sellers not to have her review my book if I were an author.


message 29: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt That's just my assumption. But I do know people that won't buy a book if it has a five star review by her. LOL. It becomes a "get it from the library" only book as soon as they see an HK review down there on the Amazon page. LOL


message 30: by Carol (new)

Carol LOL, I really never read the reviews .I purchased the new Nabokov book, I should have read the reviews what a waste of money.


message 31: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (Rowenacherry) | 58 comments I am sorry to see so much unkindness towards Harriet and such prejudice against any author whom Harriet has reviewed.

Reviewing is Harriet's job. She syndicates her reviews to dozens of places including magazines such as Affair de Coeur, and the MidWestern Book Review, Romantic Times, and some of the science fiction publications.

She does not work for Amazon or for Barnes and Noble. As I understand it, she posts to Barnes and Noble as a courtesy to the authors.

You should realize that professional reviewers are often sent the sorts of books that people think they will like based on their reviewing record. So, Harriet gets a lot of SF and Romance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_...

Occasionally there are witch hunts against Harriet and any book she has reviewed, and I take it as a very sad reflection on human nature.

It is unfair to try to destroy the careers of the authors whose books Harriet enjoys simply on the basis that Harriet reviewed it. Where does such malice come from?

Authors have no control over where their publishers send books for review. Midwest or ADC or RT will take a review copy, put up a synopsis and ask their reviewers to volunteer to read it... rather like a GoodReads giveaway.

Some reviewers sell the paperback and hard cover ARCs and others destroy them. I've no idea what Harriet does with books.

Disclaimer, all four of my books have been reviewed by Harriet Klausner.


message 32: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (Rowenacherry) | 58 comments Tara wrote: "Holy moly!!!! That's gotta be a new record. You know what else is funny? Have you heard about the really controversial book with that author behaving badly? "

Tara, you've made me cry. I am appalled at the flaming that went on on Amazon. And you say that the author behaved badly? My word! I am outraged.

What went on on that page is absolutely shameful and entirely uncalled for.

Tara, it is not funny to deliberately try to destroy another person's livelihood and wreck their chances of happiness in whatever career they wish to try, at any time, but especially in this economy.



message 33: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (booktrovert) Rowena wrote: "I am sorry to see so much unkindness towards Harriet and such prejudice against any author whom Harriet has reviewed...."

Thank you for this information Rowena. While I agree negativity is a downer, I do have to agree with those questioning the pace Harriet maintains, even as a speed-reader. She is only on record saying she can read 2 books a day. I wasn't aware of Klausner or the controversy but think there are many valid points being made. It is difficult to take a person who cites themselves as a professional independent reviewer seriously if all of their reviews give 4 or 5 stars. The nature of being a reviewer or critic necessitates less favourable comments from time to time as it is impossible to love everything. I don't think she can be seen as unbiased or having some type of agenda. Do you know what I mean?

El, I am with you on your point about writers and readers. Writers are readers too! (Sounds like a t-shirt!) It is possible to read a book and not have the writer hat on while doing so.In fact, it is a great escape and a welcome diversion. I know many writers who list reading as their most favourite thing to do, with no connection to their profession, other than wanting to be transported by a good story. I think to dismiss writers as readers is short-sighted. If you substituted other careers, would you have the same thought, i.e., a chef as an eater, a singer or musician as an music purchaser/audience member? I'm just curious and not trying to be inflammatory, in any way.



message 34: by Tara (last edited Feb 06, 2010 10:20AM) (new)

Tara Chevrestt I'm out. This lady wants to get nasty like Amazon style. It's been fun tho. And Rowena, um.. you miss the entire point 63 books a day?? Can you do that?? HM? And do explain that quilting review. The synposis does not match the book. I rest my case.

I have no doubt you were given rave 4 or 5 star reviews by her and she typed the back summary on it. If you are happy with that as an author, then I am glad for you. This was harmless banter. The topic you will note was started above with no offense intended. If Harriet does not want her antics known, then she needn't post it all for the entire world to see.

I personally, don't let a review by her deter me. I was speaking of friends of mine that do.

I'll be skipping yours tho, due to your unpleasantness alone.

Have a great day, everyone. Bridgit, it's been fun laughing with you.


message 35: by Laura (new)

Laura Rittenhouse | 56 comments I don't think this thread is full of malice, isn't it more people taking a step back and saying "hey, I'm not going to be fooled". I have never even heard of HK before this thread but surely it doesn't take a great amount of brilliance to see something is fishy here. Much like those emails from Africa that tell me if I send $3000 to free up $30mill I will get 10% for my time. If we don't stop and look at things with a bit of common sense, we're sort of doomed to fall for scams.

Better still, look at things with a bit of common sense AND a sense of humor.

Bridgit, thanks for posting this - and Tara, thanks for posting the review of the Quilting book. If you hadn't told me it was hilarious, I would still be scratching my head. My initial thought was "what the ...?"



message 36: by Carol (new)

Carol Tara were you saying that you will leave the group? Don't do that if you are thinking about it. . You make the group interesting. I enjoy all the comments.


message 37: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (Rowenacherry) | 58 comments I didn't miss the point about 63 books a day. I don't believe that 63 freshly written reviews are posted by her every day.

I'm inclined to give Harriet the benefit of the doubt.

If 63 reviews have been posted daily, recently, I wonder if they are all fresh, never-before-seen reviews of new releases.

I've heard that Amazon has done some strange stuff recently, including deleting a lot of reviews, or migrating a lot of print reviews over to Kindle and leaving the book site with no reviews.

And there's the MacMillan button removal issue.

It seems to me that reviewers may have to re-upload archived reviews, which could create the impression that they are impossibly productive.

I think it quite likely that Harriet has an assistant who does uploading to Amazon (just guessing). In the case of the quilting book, someone obviously made a mistake.



message 38: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 9809 comments Mod
I have been following all the comments here, and do not think that any post here should be taken personally. Let's not start slinging dirt over a difference of opinion.

Personal ties make it hard to be partial, and tend to draw out defensive feelings. Let's keep that in mind when we are replying to posts here.

That is all. The great and mighty mod has spoken. (ala Wizard of Oz style)

:)


message 39: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 94 comments "Differences of opinion is what makes horse races." Mark Twain

I simply posted a personal opinion about writer as reader, I didn't mean to hit a nerve. (I liked the t-shirt idea. xxxl pls). but yes, I was basing it on another profession. I am a musician (40 yrs and never worked a day job). But it's a young man's game; the road takes more than one kind of toll. Fortunately, I figured out how to take a sax solo on a keyboard. Spell/grammar check takes care of the rest. Neber cud spil fer shet.
As for Harriot, it's called 'boilerplate'. anyone can do it. standard form, change name and a few catch phrases, done. We're not talkin' rocket science here. Just like a lot of novels she reviews. Boilerplate. boy meets girl, girl doesn't like boy, boy gets girl, boy loses ...me as I fall asleep. There should be a genre called CFI (cure for insomniac)
Or, how bout the boilerplate queries we send agents, and get boilerplate rejects?
Stick around Tara, you keep the party interesting. Every forum has a few who need to go to a proctologist for a hair cut. Writers, like musicians, can be a bit temperamental over NBD. Seems to got with the territory

j


message 40: by Laura (new)

Laura Rittenhouse | 56 comments j wrote: "As for Harriot, it's called 'boilerplate'. anyone can do it. standard form, change name and a few catch phrases, done. We're not talkin' rocket science here. Just like a lot of novels she reviews. ..."

I think the point isn't whether anyone can do it, it's whether anyone should do it. IMHO the answer is unequivocally NO. If you aren't actually reading all the books, thinking about them and taking time to give them an honest review with your honest opinion, then you are spamming.

This is very different then boilerplate queries and rejections to/from agents publishers. Those boilerplates are necessary. Yes, I'm an author and write boilerplates, but they accurately represent my novel (or so I believe). The standard rejections accurately represent the agents/publishers opinion - namely they are overwhelmed with great and ghastly work and mine is either the wrong work or the wrong time. It is honest even without customization. So I'm okay with it.

So maybe I'm saying shortcuts or boilerplates are okay if they are honest and necessary to save you from drowning in correspondence. But writing a lot of reviews IF you didn't review the work for some mystery reason (fame, free books, money) and trying to pass them off as your honest opinion is WRONG WRONG WRONG.


message 41: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt carol (akittykat) wrote: "Tara were you saying that you will leave the group? Don't do that if you are thinking about it. . You make the group interesting. I enjoy all the comments. "

Leave this group? Heck no. LOL I just don't want to participate in this discussion if people going to come on here and get all offended and imply I have said something wrong. It too Amazon like. LOL


message 42: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (booktrovert) Tara wrote: "Leave this group? Heck no. LOL "
j wrote: " (I liked the t-shirt idea) ..."
Lori wrote: "That is all. The great and mighty mod has spoken."

Oh, Tara, I hope it wasn't because of my comment?? I was really trying to be unoffensive and, perhaps, give an additional way of looking at the concerns. I am sorry if my comment caused a problem.

Hi j! I know as soon as I typed the words, it seemed catchy! LOL

Hi Lori! You are too funny...and you do a great job ~ curtain or no curtain! LOL!!

Jennifer



message 43: by Bridgit (last edited Feb 07, 2010 09:32AM) (new)

Bridgit | 475 comments While I think the 63 reviews may possibly have been highter than normal, the fact that there are over 21,000 reviews by her - ALL at 4s or 5s - really discounts the theory that this is a fault of Amazon's re-loading its database, or a technical issue. I just don't think that is possible.

Personally, I believe that "Harriet Klausner" is a brand name at this point and the reviews are doled out to more than one person to complete. I have no idea what the business model for this would be, but I can't possibly imagine an individual with this many reviews.

That said, I even have no REAL problem with that. I do have a problem that HK has never disliked a book. If you are going to be a professional reviewer, your opinions are not really valid if you can't be critical. Even supposing she actually read and reviewed 20 books a day and really had reviewed all 20,000 reviews, I think that I would actually find her to be very useful if a decent portion of those books were 1, 2 or 3 rated. But as it is, I can't take any review by her as legitimate.

I do want to say that I would never boycott a book or an author because she reviewed the book, but I certainly never read them or pay any attention to a review by HK.


message 44: by El (new)

El My biggest concern is that the social negativity surrounding her reviews give a bad name to literary critics across the board. A good book critic is discerning in their reviews - they do not give a high review if they do not consider it worthy of a high review. Like Bridgit said, "If you are going to be a professional reviewer, your opinions are not really valid if you cant be critical." Anyone who picks up the New York Times Book Reviews or any literary magazine or journal will see that most critics are exceptionally critical - sure, any review is just one person's opinion and should always be taken with a grain of salt. But I would never be able to take seriously any review I saw by someone who primarily rates all books highly. I come across people like that here on GR also. When I do, I don't bother looking at their page again. If I get a friend-request from someone who seems to rate 4 or 5 stars for everything, I ignore their request. I see it as a sign that they are not very involved in their opinion of literature, want to portray themselves as something they're not, or read incredibly superficially. That's not someone I need to spend any time (virtual or otherwise) with.

Most literary journals want diverse writers and a variety of opinions in their pages. A few years ago I wrote a review of one of Annie Proulx's books when it first came out and I had it published in The Missouri Review. They published it because it was an honest review. I don't know any publication that only wants positive reviews for books, so I'm almost shocked that HK gets away with this. It reflects poorly on those who encourage it.


message 45: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (Rowenacherry) | 58 comments I emailed Harriet that her quilting reviews might have be transposed. She was very grateful for the headsup.

It ought to be fixed.




message 46: by Donna (new)

Donna | 137 comments Quite some time ago I figured that the "Harriet Klausner" reviews were a marketing gimick and I have simply ignored them. I won't boycott a book because they are there but I don't waste my time reading them either.


message 47: by Mari (new)

Mari | 14 comments I have wondered for a while if she's actually many people, all of whom work for Amazon. I mean, who reads this fast?

Then I saw her crop up on the Midwest Book Review, and I realized she must make her living syndicating reviews.

Nice work if you can get it, I suppose, and it explains why the reviews are pithy and quick. Who could crank out more?

I also noticed that if you scroll back, she used to give out more three star reviews. So whoever pays her must like the five star trend.


message 48: by Beth (new)

Beth | 138 comments Like many of you, I don't use Harriet Klausner's reviews to select books I'm going to read. She skims books very quickly and often her reviews contain errors. She's reviewed many of my books, but I don't quote her reviews on my website. I consider professional reviews of my books that have come from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Mystery Scene Magazine, and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, to name a few, to all be more prestigious and more reliable than hers. Frankly, I find reviews posted by my Goodreads friends to be much more helpful to me in selecting books to read than Klausner's reviews.


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